Emma Raducanu: I’m a better tennis player than before

emma new


Emma Raducanu has said her spell out of the sport recovering from injury has “definitely reignited the fire” to compete ahead of her comeback at the ASB Classic in Auckland. The Brit required surgery on her ankle and both of her wrists in May, which left her sidelined for the majority of the 2023 season. She is now set to return in Auckland before attempting to qualify for the Australian Open.

Emma Raducanu believes she is a “better tennis player” now despite being out of action since April as she prepares to make her highly anticipated comeback  The Brit was forced to withdraw from the Madrid Open before her first-round match due to injury and subsequently underwent surgery on her ankle and both of her wrists.

That left Raducanu facing a frustrating spell on the sidelines but having ramped up her training both on the court and off, the 21-year-old believes she is in all-round better shape to return to the tour at the start of the new year.  “Physically and tennis-wise in training and in practice over the last few weeks I’m hitting the ball really well,” Raducanu told Sky Sports. “I think I’m a better tennis player than I was actually before the break.  “I think the people around, at the LTA for example everyone can see that I’m training and playing really well.

“Physically, I’m pushing weight, I’m pushing things that I wasn’t pushing before, so I think 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. That part I couldn’t really replicate, you could do with sets but it’s never really the same feel.
“I know that will come in time though, as long as the level is there and improving.”

Raducanu admitted there were “a few hiccups” in her recovery but that her time away has “definitely reignited the fire” to compete with the world’s best once again.  The Brit famously came through three qualifying matches en route to lifting the US Open title in 2021, becoming the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam in the Open era.

She faces a similar task if she is to lift the Australian Open, which gets underway on January 14 live on discovery+.  Raducanu isn’t in the main draw but is set to headline the qualifying event, which begins on January 8.  Before all that, though, she will make her first appearance in more than eight months at the star-studded ASB Classic in Auckland.

Reigning US Open champion Coco Gauff is in the field, as are Elina Svitolina and Caroline Wozniacki, but Raducanu insists she is “excited” to take on anyone as she plots her return to the top of the game.  “The field here in Auckland is extremely strong,” she added. “Match-wise it might take a while to just adjust to the feeling of the pre-match nerves or match fitness, tight points, big points, that sort of thing.

“It might take me a while but level-wise I feel really good. So I’m excited to play anyone. It doesn’t matter to me.  “I think the Tour was pretty interesting last year but from what I was told because I didn’t really follow it to be honest.  “Wimbledon was a bit too close for home for me. I had to go there for a few days for some commitments but other than that I stayed far away and the US Open as well.
“So I think I did take my time away but now I feel good, I feel refreshed.”


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