Emma Raducanu - Indian Wells 2023

Emma Raducanu ‘in shock’ after winning comeback match

Emma Raducanu has returned to the WTA Tour in winning fashion, beating Elena Gabriela Ruse in her first match since April.

Raducanu beat her Romanian friend, 6-3 4-6 7-5, in the first round of the Auckland Classic after nearly nine months out following both wrist and ankle surgeries.

The 21-year-old reacted to her win when speaking to Sky Sports after the match, “It’s a weird one, I didn’t really know what I felt during or at the end of the match.

“Usually you have such a clear emotion, whether that’s nerves, whether that’s happiness – I think I was just a bit like, just struck and just a bit in shock really because eight months is a long time. I mean, I’ve really been through it, so it’s just great to be healthy and to be on the court and competing again.”

Raducanu was 5-2 up with a double break in the deciding set, but Ruse fought back to get level before the Brit regained composure to claim the victory.

And the 2021 US Open champion spoke about how ‘proud’ she was of her fight, “I think it’s a match that really tested the fight, I think it’s a match that really tested the ability to stay calm under pressure and composed and keep being in the moment.”

She continued, “So I think that overall for a first match back after so long, I think that in terms of just fighting and sticking in there in the tough moments, I really got the test times like 10.

“I think that I’ve always been a good competitor and that really came out today. It came out even though it’s been hiding for the last eight months. I still had it, which I was really proud of.”

Emma Raducanu - Instagram 2024

Raducanu then went onto thank the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), who she has worked with during her recovery process, “The body held up really good. I’m really grateful and thank thanking everyone at the LTA, they helped me out so much physically.

“I felt really good on the court and it was nice and refreshing to be playing a match and not thinking of niggles, not thinking of injuries and actually just being able to focus on the tennis and what I wanted to do tactically and not hoping that the points are over quickly. I felt like I was there physically for however long the points kind of went. So that was a good feeling too.”

Raducanu now moves onto the second round of the WTA 250 tournament, where she will play second seed Elina Svitolina in a first-time meeting between the pair.

Inside the baseline…

It has been a long road back for Emma Raducanu, but she impressed upon her return, despite some expected signs of rust and nerves towards the end. Elina Svitolina, who beat Caroline Wozniacki in the first round, will be a huge step up in opponent for Raducanu and it will be an interesting indicator of where her level is at.

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.