No one would ever predict that when Emma Raducanu won the 2021 U.S. Open that her tennis future would soon look very blurry.
Every time the tennis community hears of a withdrawal or a retirement from Emma Raducanu, people become nervous; her sponsors, her fans, the social media. It’s become a scary situation no matter what time in the season this happens.
The former 2021 U.S. Open Champion was supposed to be at the MGM Macau Tennis Masters exhibition early December, but decided to withdraw because of ‘precautionary reasons’ “I’m told she did not want to risk a last-minute withdrawal, so made an early, cautious decision to withdraw,” says James Gray, a sports correspondent at the iPaperSport in London.
The smiling Brit, turned the tennis world on end as the first qualifier to win a grand slam in the Open Era. She proved victorious at the 2021 Open to win the title against Leylah Fernandez by her gritty, smart superior play.
But what led after that wasn’t pretty. She was soon frustrated with constant ailments from blisters on her fingers to her foot to agonizing wrist and ankle injuries. In May of 2022, she had surgery on both wrists and her right ankle in hopes to relieve the continuous pain that plagued her tennis life.
She had hoped to come back this year with the Macau event, but her wrist ailments returned. Emma at first though it would take a few months with her wrist injuries to heal and for her to continue playing, yet that wasn’t the reality.
Raducanu hasn’t gone past the second round of a tournament since winning the Open and her ranking has reached in the 200s where it used to be in the top 10 back in July 2022. She remains confident of joining the tour next year.
Emma acknowledges and says that “through the whole period I’ve been doing a lot off court, reading a lot and watching some tennis.”She also admits that she hasn’t had enough playing time, “I know it’s going to be difficult when you haven’t competed…like almost a year,” she told Laura Robson, a former WTA player now interviewer for Amazon Prime.
With the competitors getting stronger and much tougher to defeat, the 21-year-old has her work cut out for her. She feels better and says “Mentally I feel like I’m in a better place to compete…” But much of the tennis community may be finding it an ‘up hill battle’ for Emma to not only compete again, pain-free, but win. She still remains optimistic though and simply says “I’m hoping to get back on board for next season.”