Agnieszka Radwanska Struggling So Far in 2017

The former World No. 2 has not enjoyed a strong start to the season and her woes continued at WTA Dubai.

Agnieszka Radwanska went out of WTA Dubai earlier this week without that much of a fight. She fell to American teenager Catherine Bellis, a result that should help the youngster gain in confidence. For Radwanska, the loss is part of a poor start to the 2017 season through the first two months.

The Polish player made the Sydney final in her second tournament of the year, however it remains her only strong result in five tournament appearances. In Shenzhen she lost to Alison Riske in the quarters, at Melbourne Park the former World No. 2 went out in the 2nd round, and in Doha last week she lost in the round of 16. In all cases this season, Radwanska has lost to a lower-ranked player and the expectation with that is that she will lose some rungs in the WTA’s ranking ladder as well.

Currently, Radwanska is the World No. 6 but her start to the season implies further descending. On year-to-date rankings she’s just the 17th-best player on the WTA Tour. Furthermore, she has some decent results from 2016 coming up that she needs to try and duplicate. Last year in Indian Wells she made the semifinals and she also made the semifinals in Stuttgart. Unless she can find some strong form in the upcoming months, there’s a real risk that she might slide further down the top ten.

In watching many of her matches, Radwanskaย certainly has not passed the eyeball test. In Doha she faced Caroline Wozniacki and there were some points where she didn’t want to move to the ball. In particular, I remember a lob that Wozniacki made over Radwanska that was retrievable. However, the Polish player seemed as though she didn’t want to react to it before reluctantly going back and returning it, eventually losing the match.

The WTA rankings don’t allow for any kind of weakness when it comes to the high spots. Radwanska is definitely a skilled player and she’s still just 27 years old (28 in early March). There’s no buzz of injury with her and she’s playing a full schedule. I think that the problem with her right now is her motivation level. Players that lack in that department slip down the rankings and get supplanted by players that are more motivated. Wozniacki is one player that looks to have a better season than Radwanska and so is Elina Svitolina, a finalist in Dubai this weekend with the Dane.

Shane Lambert
    • Mick Denis

      One clear problem for Radwanska at the moment is getting use to her new racket, she might lack confidence until she has a few more months behind her with the new wand. In 2015, you all wrote the same thing when she slide down the rankings to #14 the world only to recover to #5, by year-end. I do think it is far too early in the season, and of course not enough match play for her to have real trust in the new racket. I am sure she will get it right by the mid season.