Tim Henman declares what would be a ‘great achievement’ for Emma Raducanu in her comeback
Tim Henman believes it would be a “great achievement” for Emma Raducanu if she is able to play “22, 23” tournaments next year after she returns from injury.
The former world no 4 declared he is “very positive and optimistic” ahead of Raducanu’s comeback, but stressed the need for patience from both the Brit and fans.
Raducanu has missed most of the 2023 season due to injury and underwent surgery on both her wrists and her ankle in May. She has played just 10 matches across five tournaments so far this year and has a 5-5 record.
The 2021 US Open champion last competed at the clay-court tournament in Stuttgart in April, where she was beaten by Jelena Ostapenko in the first round.
Former British No 1 Henman thinks the 20-year-old’s enforced absence from the tour could be beneficial in the long-term.
“If she plays 22, 23 tournaments next year, that would be a great achievement, because the only way you’re going to do that is if you’re fit and healthy. If she’s fit and healthy, the results will come. She’s that good a player. She’s too good not to win matches.” Henman said in an interview with i.
“No one as a professional athlete likes to be injured or wants to be injured. Having said that, I think this has been and will be a great opportunity to really build a foundation, and it’s really around physical resilience. She hasn’t had the opportunity to do the big, extended periods of physical training.
“Tennis ability is never going to be an issue but because of her journey, just being so unexpected coming out of Covid and playing at Wimbledon, with no real physical foundation, and then doing what she did in New York, she’s always been playing catch up.
“And so now having had the surgeries, which I believe have been a success, she can really put in the hard yards to build up that physicality for her then to be able to let her tennis do the talking.”
The six-time Grand Slam semi-finalist also discussed how Raducanu was barely able to practise at the Indian Wells Masters in March, where she reached the last 16.
“At Indian Wells, one of the last tournaments that she played, up until 20 minutes before the matches, she wasn’t sure whether she was going to play. She was training on court so sporadically, and then she still won three rounds and beat some very good players,” explained Henman.
“And that was on the back of no practice or training. So, if she can be fit and healthy, she’ll get back in the top 100 comfortably and she’ll get back in the top 50. And who knows from there?
“So I’m very positive and optimistic. She’s such a great player that everybody would love to see Emma at the US Open, but she’s gonna have so many opportunities ahead of her. She and we just need to be a little bit patient.”
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