Could Emma Raducanu be allergic to her racket?
Emma Raducanu was blighted by blisters in her second-round victory over Camila Osorio at the Citi Open, sparking fresh concerns over whether she will be in good enough condition to mount a defence of her US Open title.
It is not unusual for top-level tennis players to suffer from blisters. Even seasoned pros can develop calluses due to the repetitive gripping action and excessively squeezing their rackets in tense moments. Rafael Nadal famously battled through his 2014 Australian Open quarter-final despite suffering an horrific callus blister which split on court.
But Raducanu has had more than her fair share of woes during her first season on tour. A blister on her dominant racket hand hampered her efforts at the Australian Open at the start of the year, while another on her right foot derailed her movement around the court during her straight sets loss to Marketa Vondrousova at April’s Billie Jean King Cup.
So why is it such a recurring problem, and what can she do about it?
Raducanu started blowing on her hands midway through her encounter with Osario, who also suffered with a foot blister on the court. Both required medical timeouts late on and the trainer could be seen taping up Raducau’s sore hand, which played a part in the 51 unforced errors she committed en route to closing out the match. Afterwards, on-court interviewer Rennae Stubbs was visibly shocked by Raducanu’s injuries – even inviting her to hold them up to the camera – as Raducanu described how the skin had been “ripping off” her hand.