Emma Raducanu reveals she would be willing to compete in the lower-level tournaments if that helps her in her bid to get more matches under her belt and rediscover her best tennis.
After undergoing three surgeries in May, Raducanu made her post-surgery comeback at a WTA 250 tournament in Auckland, where she was given a main draw wildcard. In Auckland, Raducanu did pretty solid in her first tournament in eight months as she survived a three-set marathon against Elena-Gabriela Ruse before falling just short in a three-setter to 2023 Wimbledon semifinalist Elina Svitolina.
A week later, Raducanu made her Grand Slam return at the Australian Open, for which she used her protection ranking but still made the main draw only after a couple of withdrawals. At Melbourne Park, Raducanu started with a win over Shelby Rogers before suffering a surprise defeat to Wang Yafan. However, it should be noted that Raducanu felt unwell during the third set of Wang and felt like vomiting on the court.
Now that her Australian Open run has finished, Raducanu is turning her focus on February. Earlier this month, the organizers of a WTA 500 tournament in Abu Dhabi announced Raducanu as a main draw wildcard recipient. The tournament is starting on February 5th and the 21-year-old Briton will be making her debut at the tournament.
After Abu Dhabi, back-to-back WTA 1000 events in Doha and Dubai will be taking place. Raducanu, ranked at No. 296 in the world, has a protected ranking of No. 103 but that ranking most certainly won´t be enough for her to make the main draw of those WTA 1000 tournaments.
If Raducanu doesn´t get main draw wildcard for the WTA 1000 events in Doha and Dubai, she might be looking at playing somewhere elsewhere.
“I really believe that the level in these quote ´lower-level tournaments´ and these tournaments is not that big,” Raducanu said.
“Because you gain so many skills, you´re playing in these conditions, the wind here was a prime example. My opponent (Wang) played a lot of ITF and got a lot of matches under her belt, but the level really isn´t that different. I would play whatever suits my schedule, whatever suits the plan.”
Raducanu hopes to get some wildcards and action before the Sunshine Double
Addressing her upcoming schedule, Raducanu admitted she would absolutely love to play more than just Abu Dhabi during the Middle East Swing. However, Raducanu also noted not everything is in her hands and she needs a little help from the tournaments.
After the Middle East Swing in February, March is reserved for the Sunshine Double and the WTA 1000 tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami. Raducanu hopes to play during the Sunshine Double but for now remains focused on February.
“I would love to compete before [Indian Wells]. I think now going back, training a little bit, tidy some things up before I go compete again is great, obviously, depends on ranking and wildcard situation. Because, I don’t know, that’s not my decision,” Raducanu said.
“Of course, I’d love to play in the Middle East. But it’s not my call whether they would have me or not. So I’m waiting to hear on that.”
Raducanu keeps coach Nick Cavaday
In December, British media reported that Raducanu was working with her Cavaday, a coach who worked with the Briton during her junior days. While Cavaday wasn´t with Raducanu in Auckland, he accompanied the 21-year-old in Melbourne for the Australian Open.
Although Raducanu didn´t make a really strong run at Melbourne Park, she was still happy with how her first two tournaments back went. With that being said, Raducanu has made the call to keep working with Cavaday.
“We´re going to go back and keep working together. The work we´re doing has been paying off because to get me to this level, after only six weeks, was good,” Raducanu said.
Raducanu excited about the upcoming period
When Raducanu confirmed her comeback would be starting in the first week of the 2024 season, many were interested in seeing how would the 2021 US Open champion look on the court and how would her body hold. After surgeries to both wrists and her right ankle, Raducanu´s body held extremely well in Auckland and Melbourne.
Raducanu maybe didn´t make deep runs in her first two tournaments back but she was leaving Australia happy because she didn´t feel any pain while competing. Now, Raducanu is excited about doing more work on the practice court and gym before resuming action in February.
“No, I think the way that I´m committing to like my movement, committing to my training and tennis, I´ve completely got no fear with it. I feel more confident than ever,” Raducanu said.
“Just playing with no pain is something that for a while I didn´t know if I´d ever be able to do. I think that is a bonus. I´m very grateful for that. I think now we just push on with more training, more gym, more work and more consistency.”