Emma Raducanu - Indian Wells 2023

Emma Raducanu reveals she ‘feels reborn’ ahead of return to WTA Tour

Emma Raducanu believes that she is a ‘better player’ coming back to the WTA Tour, after eight months on the injury sidelines following surgery.

Raducanu last played at the Stuttgart Open, where the Brit faced a heavy defeat to Jelena Ostapenko before announcing that she needed to undergo surgeries to both wrists and a minor procedure to her left ankle.

Since then, the 2021 US Open champion has been focussing on recovery and is now gearing up for an official return at the Auckland Classic after receiving a wildcard.

The 21-year-old has now spoken about how she is feeling heading into the new season, “Yeah, I feel reborn in a way. I feel fresh, I feel ready, I feel happy, I feel excited. So overall, I’m feeling very positive and lighter. I think that for two years after the US Open, I felt maybe a bit more like weight on my shoulders, but now I feel completely fresh.

“It’s nice not to have three casts on you, so you know, just moving around and showering, everything, you really appreciate just like being able to do your own hair, stuff like that. So yeah, I’m just happy to be back playing.”

Raducanu has been as high as No.10 in the WTA rankings, but revealed that she feels like a better player than before her surgeries.

“Physically, in in practice over the last few weeks, I’m hitting the ball really well,” said Raducanu. “I think I’m a better tennis player than I was before the break. The people around the LTA (Lawn Tennis Association), for example, everyone can see that I’m training and playing really really well.”

The now ranked No.298 continued, “And physically, I’m pushing weights, pushing things that I wasn’t doing before. In my body, I actually have confidence in it, which is really nice and tennis-wise I feel good too.

“It’s just about now putting it into a match, which is obviously completely different to practice. I know that will come in time though – as long as the level is there and improving.”

Although Raducanu is clearly feeling positive about her comeback, she also explained how hard things were when rehabbing her injuries.

“I would play and then I had the patch where I couldn’t play again for two months because of one of my wrists,” detailed Raducanu. “That was really difficult because I felt like I was just getting going and then I stepped back again.

“It was hard, especially in the first few months. When you’re so used to being active and moving around all the time, then to all of a sudden to have everything just cut off from you. I had like two wrists and one foot [injured] so I couldn’t even use crutches. I basically had like a a scooter kind of thing and you would push yourself around with one leg.”

She added, “It was really difficult. I couldn’t really go anywhere. I couldn’t go to the supermarket; imagine being that immobile. I think it definitely reignited the fire to get back out there competing and made me appreciate just being healthy.”

Raducanu will begin her return against a qualifier, and if she is successful will then face either Elina Svitolina or Caroline Wozniacki.

Following the tournament in Auckland, Raducanu will head to Melbourne for the Australian Open where she is only two withdrawals from entering the main draw.

Inside the baseline…

It has clearly been a very challenging past year for Emma Raducanu, but this time seems to have given the Brit some perspective after a whirlwind past couple of years. Getting a qualifier in the first round in Auckland is ideal, as matchplay is just what she needs ahead of either Australian Open qualifying or going straight into the main draw.

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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.