Raducanu: I’m ‘too good’ not to get back to the top of the game

Emma Raducanu believes she can get back to the top of the game – if she can stay fit.

Triple surgery on both wrists and one ankle put the former British No 1 off the tour for eight months but she made her comeback in Auckland last week.

The 21-year-old will play a Grand Slam match for the first time in a year when she takes on Shelby Rogers in the opening round of the Australian Open on either Monday or Tuesday.

Raducanu defeated Rogers on her way to winning the US Open in 2021 but the American has an impressive 26 wins over top 20 players, although she has not played since Wimbledon 2023 due to injury.

“I’ve been doing the right work, doing it consistently. I just need to keep going more and more. But I feel good on court and in the gym.”

Emma Raducanu

Despite pulling out of two exhibition matches this week with soreness following a long practice session, any fears about her participation in Melbourne have since been allayed.

She said: “Physically I feel good. I did a lot of good work in the off-season.

“But I think that, regardless of how good I may feel on the court on a particular day or in practice, I think to get that level of consistency is going to require more time.

“I’ve been doing the right work, doing it consistently. I just need to keep going more and more. But I feel good on court and in the gym.”

Raducanu is currently ranked at 299 due in part to her large break, although she can enter tournaments using her protected ranking from before surgery of 103.

“I think success to me in the long-term is, for the rest of the year, to play a full season, to be healthy throughout, to be able to train consistent weeks,” she said.

“I know my level is there, I just need to keep working on it to make it more consistent. I think that will come with time in the gym, time on court, being able to play the calendar, not thinking about ‘Will I have to pull out from this one, does that hurt’?

“I think my level, to be honest, is just too good not to come through if I put consistent work together.”

Image: Raducanu hit with British No 1 Katie Boulter in Melbourne on Friday

Raducanu practised with British duo Katie Boulter and Jodie Burrage on Friday and earned rave reviews from both.

“I think it’s absolutely incredible what she’s doing,” said Boulter. “To come back with that level already, it’s inspirational.

“You know how long it took me to get back (from injury). It really isn’t easy, trust me. It’s not something that you can just pick up like that. It seems like she’s playing very, very well. I’m sure it’s going to be a great year for her. I’m expecting big things.”

Without a coach for most of her recovery, Raducanu is in Melbourne with Nick Cavaday, who she previously worked with between the ages of 10 and 12.

Raducanu hopes it will prove a good fit, saying: “We’re just taking it how it goes. It’s been working really well so far.

“I, of course, hope to continue with him because I feel very comfortable with him. I know his sister (former British player Naomi Cavaday) really well because, like, everyone is from Bromley.”

Cavaday previously coached Dominic Inglot and Aljaz Bedene before heading up the Lawn Tennis Association’s national academy in Loughborough.

Raducanu’s projected path in Melbourne

R1: Shelby Rogers

R2: Sorana Cirstea

R3: Qinwen Zheng

R4: Jessica Pegula

QF: Elena Rybakina

SF: Iga Swiatek

F: Aryna Sabalenka

There is no indication Raducanu will look to add a full-time fitness trainer or physio to her team, with the former US Open champion keen to keep a tight circle around her.

She cuts a much happier figure than for most of the period post her New York triumph, and she said: “I feel a lot lighter now than I did for a long time after US Open. I feel like I’m not playing with a backpack of rocks. I feel pretty light and happy.

“Reflecting on the past, I think people are very important. I think surrounding yourself with competent and knowledgeable people is of course really important, but also the type of person and their character is big-time, just making sure we really get on and intentions are really good.”

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Source : Sky Sports