Emma Raducanu Champions Tennis 2021

Emma Raducanu and Naomi Osaka to return at the same Australian Open warm-up event

Emma Raducanu and Naomi Osaka will hit the court once again in early January at a WTA 250 event stacked with Slam talent.

The British US Open champion ended her competitive season at the Upper Austria Ladies Linz in November, but has since played an exhibition event in London and has another in Abu Dhabi on 16th December.

Osaka meanwhile has been away from competition since the US Open in September as she took time to mentally reset from the tour.

Now, the two Major winners join a third in Simona Halep in headlining the Melbourne Summer Set beginning 3rd January running until the 9th.

Between them, Raducanu, Osaka and Halep have seven Slam titles and combined cover all four Majors.

However, the three are not guaranteed to meet at the event, as the Melbourne Summer Set will see the entry list split into two WTA 250 draws on the week of 27th December.

Another entrant of note is world number 11 and 2021 Roland Garros finalist  and Tokyo Olympics mixed doubles gold medallist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

In all, 20 of the world’s top 50 players are on the entry list for the Melbourne event, making for an exciting field to kick off the 2022 season.

Despite being a Slam champion, Raducanu will be playing just her eight ever WTA tour level event, and first in Australia.

She debuted at tour level in June 2021 at the Viking Open Nottingham, losing to fellow Brit Harriet Dart there.

Raducanu will also play the WTA 500 Sydney Tennis Classic beginning 9th January before the Australian Open gets underway on 17th January.

For Osaka, perhaps past success in Australia can kick-start a turn-around for the Japanese star, whose 2021 season was a tumultuous ride through mental health difficulties and skipping tournaments.

Other top WTA pros like world number one Ashleigh Barty and 2020 Roland Garros champion Iga Swiatek have chosen to start their season elsewhere.

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