Emma Raducanu to play in Auckland as comeback confirmed



Emma Raducanu will return to competitive action on the WTA tour at the Auckland ASB Classic in January.  The 21-year-old Briton was already expected to make her comeback during the season-opening Australian hard-court swing, and this has now been confirmed by her receipt of a wildcard for the WTA 250 event in New Zealand.  Last year’s champion Coco Gauff will lead the field in Auckland, with former world No 1 and 2018 Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki also receiving a wildcard.

Raducanu has not played since April at the Stuttgart Open and was limited to just nine tennis matches in 2023, primarily due to surgery on both wrists and her ankle in May which has kept her off tour since.  As a result, Raducanu’s ranking has plummeted to 296 in the world. The 2021 US Open champion is able to make use of a protected ranking of 103, however, in order to be eligible for the qualifying draw of the Australian Open, which gets under way the week prior to the start of the tournament.

Raducanu could also gain direct entry to the main draw of the first Grand Slam of the year courtesy of a wildcard, should the tournament choose to grant her one, or if six or more players already in the main draw withdraw from the tournament.
raducanu returns to auckland one year on from ankle injury

The former world No 10 played in Auckland last season, beating Linda Fruhvirtova in the opening round in a promising display before succumbing to the ankle injury that continued to plague her over the following months.  She will hope for a happier return to the event next year as she begins a new season with a clean slate and much of the fervent attention that followed her last year likely to have abated somewhat.

Having been off tour for more than eight months by the time the Auckland ASB Classic comes around, there should be little expectation on the shoulders of a player who is still in the very early days of her career.  Raducanu will understand this better than anyone. Given time, and a consistent run of injury-free tennis, it is more than likely that this undeniably talented young player has many more golden days of tennis ahead of her.


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