Former British No 1 Johanna Konta believes Emma Raducanu can come back stronger after surgery and says the 2021 US Open champion will want to return in time for Flushing Meadows.
Raducanu has encountered a number of setbacks recently and pulled out of the Madrid Open last month with a hand injury.
Earlier this week, the 20-year-old revealed she was set to have minor procedures on both hands and also her left ankle in an effort to resolve the ongoing problems.
As a result of the minor surgeries and recovery, she will almost certainly miss both Roland Garros and Wimbledon – and with the US Open only four months away, live on Sky Sports, she faces a race against time to be fit for the tournament she won in 2021.
On Friday, Raducanu confirmed in an Instagram Live post from her hospital bed that the ankle operation had now been done. She also shared a photo of herself in a wheelchair, left ankle bandaged, along with the caption “2/3” followed by a smiling and heart emoji.
Former Wimbledon semi-finalist Konta believes Raducanu knew surgery was going to be a formality, hence a smiling Brit in her social media post on Wednesday.
“Overall, I can imagine that this surgery wasn’t a surprise for Emma,” Konta told Sky Sports. “She’s probably had enough time to work up her feelings and go through everything in her head so now it’s going to be the big recovery process. I don’t think it would have been a shock to her which is why she seems in decent spirits.
“I don’t think her age is a worry. Because she is 20, she’s got a long time because she’s at the early stages of her career. She’s going to have enough time to keep building up her body, keep building up her strength. Obviously, you don’t want to be young and having surgery. However, there have been a lot of athletes throughout history that have had surgery young and they still come back stronger, come back better and doing brilliant things in the sport.
“It is a hurdle, but one that she is well-equipped to overcome and she has time on her side.”
Raducanu, who is set to drop outside of the world top 100 next week, had endured a stop-start season so far, with a last-16 appearance in Indian Wells in March followed by first-round exits at both the Miami Open and Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart.
Konta feels the British No 1 will require plenty of emotional support from her team, including her latest coach Sebastian Sachs, whom she has been working alongside since December.
She said: “Emma has come very quickly out of the starting blocks with the US Open and everything so I think she needs that time to be able to build her body up, to be able to have those matches under her belt for that consistency and for me I think it was just about staying present about really looking after my body the best I could and listening to the people around me.
“I was really fortunate because I had good people around me and I really put a lot of trust in them. It’s also about management because you have to manage your body. Every athlete on tour is carrying something but obviously not everyone is getting surgery for it but your body is going to be a continuous management process throughout your whole career.
“It’s definitely going to be a process. I think her team are going to be managing her load and seeing how much load she is going to take. This spot now is going to be a nice time to start again and now it will be about not loading her too quickly.
“If you rush the recovery process with anything nine times out of 10 it doesn’t end well.”
Raducanu now faces a race against time to be fit in time for the final Grand Slam of the year in New York, which starts in late August.
“I think she will want to get back on court as soon as she can and if she can come back for the US Open, she will,” said former world No 4 Konta. “Whether her body will allow that and whether her rehab course will allow that, I think that will remain to be seen.
“I think as a player you want to come back as soon as possible. You want to put in the work to be able to be back on tour, playing tournaments. That’s where you want to be so I don’t think she will be taking any extra time out just for the sake of it.”
The shock was Emma winning the US Open. There won’t be a big of a shock if she wins another. Do I think she’s there right now? Obviously not. However, she has definitely shown that she has the ability to perform and rise to the occasions, which is one of the biggest parts of winning a Grand Slam. Hopefully her body and her level of tennis will continue to develop and evolve.
Konta continued: “After her US Open victory, it was always going to be a period of adjusting to the new expectations and the new tour she was playing and equally it was an adjustment for the British media because it’s an anomaly, it’s different, new and exciting. The only thing that would have been unrealistic about her success was to expect her to keep going.”
Sachs is Raducanu’s fifth different coach in under two years, after brief stints with the likes of Torben Beltz and then Dmitry Tursunov.
But Konta, who worked alongside several different coaches during her career, believes the Bromley-based star is making decisions in order to improve her own career.
“Having a change of coaches has always been quite normal but to be honest it’s all about finding the right people for you and if that takes five, 10, 15 or 20 then that’s what you have to do. You’re not in the business of pleasing the people outside for your choices of what you make for your own career,” added Konta.
“The decisions that she’s making are for her own benefit – not for how it looks in the media and on paper. She doesn’t owe anyone an explanation. That’s how I viewed it for me but people are always going to have an opinion.”
Source : Sky Sports