Emma Raducanu has been warned of a “tough summer” as her title defence at the US Open looms closer.
The 19-year-old has been blighted by fitness issues since her improbable victory at Flushing Meadows in September.
She was defeated by Markéta Vondroušová while representing Britain in the Billie Jean King Cup Final qualifiers over the weekend, losing 6-1, 6-1 after struggling with a blister on her right foot.
Severe blistering on Raducanu’s right hand also led to defeat in the second round of the Australian Open in January.
She then retired from her first-round match at the Guadalajara Open with a hip injury, and blamed a loss at the Miami Open on a stiff back.
Raducanu has shown glimpses of brilliance, but Lawn Tennis Association chief executive Scott Lloyd told The Sun that the British star still “has a long way to go.”
“It’s going to be in some ways a very tough year, a tough summer for her, in terms of her profile,” he said.
“It’s only a year ago she was sitting her A-Levels. Emma needs to try to find what works for her in terms of how she navigates the Tour and the travelling, domestic tournaments or internationally.
“It’s about getting into a pattern of where she wants to play in the lead-up to a Grand Slam. She doesn’t know that yet. She has a long way to go in terms of starting to find herself and learn what works for her to deliver optimal performances.”
Scott backed Raducanu, currently ranked 12th in the world, to go on and win more WTA titles.
“It’s a development period, it’s a learning experience, but she is in a good place,” he said.
“She knows what she wants to try and do. She is an incredible tennis player. I’m sure she will go on to many more successes in the years to come.”
Raducanu will now aim to prove her ability on clay, having made her debut on the surface at the Billie Jean King Cup.
She impressed against Tereza Martincová in her opening match, and will look to replicate this display at the Stuttgart Open, where her first round clash is against qualifier Storm Sanders tomorrow.
A quarter-final encounter against world number one Świątek could be on the horizon if Raducanu progresses.
Following the conclusion of the clay season, Raducanu will begin preparations for Wimbledon, scheduled to run from June 27th to July 10th. The US Open will then follow from August 29th to September 11th.