Emma Raducanu withdraws from comeback event to focus on fitness
Emma Raducanu’s return to professional tennis has been delayed until the new year after she withdrew from an exhibition tournament in Macau, which begins on 2 December.
Raducanu has not competed since undergoing surgeries on both hands and her ankle in April. After opting to shut down her season, Raducanu had hoped to make a low-stakes return in Asia a month before the 2024 season begins in January. On Monday, Raducanu’s 21st birthday, the organisers revealed she would not feature at the Macau Tennis Masters event.
According to a member of Raducanu’s team, the organisers of the exhibition had asked her team several weeks ago to commit to the event to ensure that they had enough time to find a replacement if she was not able to play. Although Raducanu was hopeful that she would take part, the fact she is still recovering from her injuries and was unable to guarantee her appearance meant she opted to withdraw.
Since returning to training following months of inactivity, Raducanu is said to be making good progress with her rehab at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton although she is yet to resume high intensity hitting. Having opted to split with her coach, Sebastian Sachs, Raducanu is also yet to form a team of physio, fitness and technical coaches around her and she has been using LTA staff instead.
Raducanu is still hopeful of returning to competition at the beginning of the new season in Australia and New Zealand but her team would prefer that she does not rush back to competition after such a lengthy layoff. Raducanu is not scheduled to compete in any other exhibitions before the new season.
January is shaping up to be a comeback month for other former champions. Naomi Osaka, a four-time grand slam winner, will return to competition at the Brisbane International after the 26-year-old gave birth to her daughter, Shai, in July. Angelique Kerber, a three-time major champion, will return in the same week at the United Cup. Kerber, 35, gave birth to her daughter, Liana, in February.