Raducanu had surgeries to both wrists and her right ankle in May.
Emma Raducanu reveals she “knew for a while” before having surgeries that she needed to surgically address her injuries because she couldn’t practice a lot and that caused her to enter matches unprepared.
After dealing with injuries throughout her first full season on the WTA Tour in 2022, that trend continued for the Briton in 2023. In her very first tournament of the 2023 season, Raducanu sustained an ankle injury in Auckland.
Raducanu, who found herself in the race against time for the Australian Open, ultimately managed to compete at Melbourne Park last year but she had a very limited preparation and ended up losing in the second round. After the Australian Open, Raducanu’s lingering wrist issues started to cause trouble again.
After struggling with wrist pain in Indian Wells and Miami, and then also suffering a brutal first-round defeat in Stuttgart, Raducanu decided that was it. On May 1st last year, Raducanu uploaded a selfie from the hospital bed and announced that she was having surgeries on both wrists and also her right ankle.
Last week in Auckland, the 21-year-old launched her post-surgery return. Now, Raducanu is entering the Australian Open fully healthy and ready.
‟I knew for a while before I did the surgeries that I needed it,” Raducanu told Porsche-Tennis.
‟I was only practicing 45 minutes a day. I couldn’t practice everything I wanted to because of the pain. I felt very undercooked when I would go into matches and unprepared. That was the most difficult thing mentally for me to take.”
Raducanu returns with more enthusiasm and hunger
Last year, Raducanu had her first surgery as a pro tennis player. After undergoing three surgeries over a two-week period, Raducanu ended up sidelined for over half a year.
When Raducanu kicked off her Auckland comeback, she was playing her first tournament in eight months. While being sidelined and missing tournaments is never a great thing, it at least helped Raducanu realize how much she actually loves tennis. Also, missing action for an extended time only made Raducanu more hungry to play again.
For this year, Raducanu is really excited to return to Wimbledon and play in front of her home fans again. Also, Raducanu is very much looking forward to the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, which is taking place at the start of the clay season in April.
‟I think going back to Wimbledon will be really special for me. I love the huge crowds and the big stadiums, that’s one of my favourite things about tennis. I can’t wait for the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. It’s got the best prize out there on tour!”
Raducanu’s priority is to stay healthy
After the 2021 US Open, Raducanu didn’t have much success during the 2022 and 2023 seasons. But a big reason why Raducanu didn’t do well in the last two years was her inability to stay healthy over a longer period.
Now that Raducanu is healthy again, her primary goal is to stay that way for the entire season. If Raducanu manages to stay healthy, that means she will be able to play regularly and build her form and gain experience. And that can only lead to positive things.
“I think success to me in the long-term is, for the rest of the year, to play a full season, to be healthy throughout, to be able to train consistent weeks,” Raducanu said in her pre-tournament press conference at the Australian Open.
“I know my level is there, I just need to keep working on it to make it more consistent. I think that will come with time in the gym, time on court, being able to play the calendar, not thinking about ‘Will I have to pull out from this one, does that hurt’?
Meanwhile, Raducanu is ready to launch her third campaign at the Australian Open.
After the Australian Open main draw was released on Thursday, Raducanu learned that she would be taking on American Shelby Rogers in the first round. For Raducanu and Rogers, it is going to be their second meeting. Two and a half years ago, Raducanu saw off Rogers 6-2 6-1 en route to winning the 2021 US Open.
Heading into their Australian Open match, Raducanu can be considered the favorite. Last week in Auckland, Raducanu won a thriller against Elena-Gabriela Ruse and was close to beating Elina Svitolina before falling short to the Ukrainian in three sets. On the other side, Rogers is set to play her first tournament since Wimbledon after missing the second half of 2023 due to an abdominal muscle injury.
For Raducanu, making a strong Australian Open result would certainly mean a lot for her confidence and belief going forward.