Emma Raducanu makes ‘element of doubt’ confession as she returns to where it all started

Shahida Jacobs
Emma Raducanu media duties
Emma Raducanu attends a tennis press conference

Emma Raducanu admits she “didn’t know” whether or not she would ever return to full fitness following her injury woes in 2023.

Following her breakthrough season in 2021 that saw her win the US Open, Raducanu struggled during her first full year on the WTA Tour in 2022 as her form dipped and niggling injuries started to creep in.

The downward trend continued during the first few months of last year and the injuries eventually took its toll as she opted to undergo surgery on both her wrists and her one ankle in May, forcing her to miss the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open.

The recovery period was slow and frustrating, but she finally made her comeback at the beginning of 2024 and, although results have not always gone her way, she is delighted to be fully fit once again.

“It was pretty surreal because obviously I couldn’t be on crutches because I’d had two wrist surgeries,” the 21-year-old said as she admitted “there was an element of doubt” about returning.

“So I had a cast on one hand – I’d timed it so I didn’t have two casts at the same time, obviously – a splint on the other and my ankle was also pretty much immobilised, in a splint and stitches.

“So I would just scooter around with one knee. As someone who is so active it’s difficult to just shut your body down.

“I think it’s very easy for me to lose sight of where I was exactly a year ago because it is pretty much a year ago to this day, this month.

“You get so caught up in your own world that you want more and more and more. But a year ago I was on a scooter scooting around and I didn’t know – there was an element of doubt.

“To be healthy and to be here, I need to cherish it. So thanks for reminding me to do that.

“Body-wise, physical-wise, I feel really healthy. I feel really strong. I’ve done amazing work with my trainer over the last few months, since surgery.”

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After skipping this year’s French Open, Raducanu will make her latest comeback at the Nottingham Open and she will take on Japan’s Ena Shibahara in the first round of the WTA 250 event.

Raducanu finds herself at No 208 in the WTA Rankings, but there is an opportunity waving for her in the coming weeks and months as she has no points to defend.

Just one win at Nottingham will see her jump back into the top 200.

There will certainly be a feel-good factor when she does get onto the grass courts as it is the place where her career kick-started in 2021.

Raducanu explained: “I would say Nottingham is a special place in my career. I am fond of it because it’s where everything started, my first WTA match, then I played the 100k the week after and that is where I got my Wimbledon wildcard because I didn’t get it in the first announcement.

“I had to win two matches in the 100k and then I got the wildcard and made fourth round at Wimbledon. So it is a very special place, if I hadn’t got that wildcard who knows what would have happened, or if the US would have happened.

“So it is a compilation of small moments where you don’t know what is going to happen. It is obviously different coming back here having won the US Open than before.”