NOTTINGHAM — Two weeks ago, as the rest of the tennis world was focused on the second day of Roland Garros, Emma Raducanu posted a practice clip on Instagram. In it, the 21-year-old was going hard at her forehand — not on clay, but on grass.

“Want it all, I won’t leave a breadcrumb,” ran the chorus of the song she chose to soundtrack the clip, rapper 21 Savage’s hit “Redrum.” Not that it signified any particular statement of hungry intent. Ahead of the Rothesay Open, where she faces qualifier Ena Shibahara in the first round, Raducanu told press that the song was simply a banger.

“People read so deeply into everything,” she said. “It was just a good soundtrack. I really like the start of that song, it’s really classical — then the drop.”

There’s also nothing too deep to read into Raducanu’s decision to withdraw from Roland Garros, according to the former US Open champion. At the time, she said that her rationale was to focus on the grass- and hard-court swings instead — even at the expense of a Grand Slam that she now says she was unable to watch in 2023, because it was “too raw” coming so soon after multiple wrist and ankle surgeries.

Though she emphasizes that she feels good physically, and her wrists are “in better condition than they ever were,” there’s still a preventative element to Raducanu’s choices.

“There’s zero apprehension when I’m hitting the ball or designing my schedule,” she said. “It’s more just being proactive and not wanting to put yourself in any unnecessary situations. We have to change balls every single week, and they don’t regulate the ball with the conditions. It’s a factor where I have to miss certain events because either the conditions or the balls don’t favor my situation.

“It was important for me to take time to transition on to the grass, because the balls over the grass-court season are so heavy. I feel like conditions are getting slower and slower on grass courts and especially for myself having had wrist surgeries, I needed to prioritize the transition.”

Originally, Raducanu had intended to compete in Paris, but changed her mind when taking the heavy Asian autumn schedule into account.

“This year, I don’t need to rush to try to peak and win the French Open,” she said. “That wasn’t my goal and I have to prioritize where I want to target.”

Now ranked No.209 halfway through her comeback season, Raducanu was in a reflective mood about her position.

“Life is like a compilation of butterfly effects and small moments,” she said, recalling her WTA main-draw debut at Nottingham exactly three years earlier. She had lost that match to Harriet Dart but made the quarterfinals at the ITF W100 event the following week at the same venue — a result that netted her a wild card for Wimbledon, where she made the fourth round. Three months later, she was the US Open champion.

“This is where everything started,” she said. “If I didn’t get that wild card, who knows what would have happened — if the US Open would have happened?”

It’s a different moment Raducanu is keeping in mind now. One year ago, she was still confined to a mobility scooter as she recovered from the surgeries. She had timed her wrist operations consecutively so that she wouldn’t have a cast on both hands at once, but it still meant she was unable to use crutches.

“I had a cast on one hand, a splint on the other and my ankle was pretty much immobilized,” she said. “So I was just scooting around on one knee. As someone who’s so active, it was very difficult to just shut your body down. It’s very easy for me to lose sight of where I was exactly a year ago, to this day, to this month. You just get so caught up in your own world, you want more, more, more.”

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