Emma Raducanu ‘getting better’ despite recent woes, says Miami Open chief after granting her a wildcard

Emma Raducanu in action

Miami Open Tournament Director James Blake believes Emma Raducanu is “continuing to make progress” when you take into account her age, saying he is delighted to have her in the main draw for the WTA 1000 event.

Raducanu rose to stardom when she won the 2021 US Open as an 18-year-old – becoming the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam in the process – and she shot up the WTA Rankings on the back of that result and found herself inside the top 10 in early 2022.

However, she has struggled to replicate that form over the last 17 months as she has only once won three matches in a row since her US Open success. Her cause has also not been helped by several injuries and health problems as recently she withdrew from the ATX Open in Texas because of a bout of tonsillitis.

The 20-year-old, who currently finds herself at No 80 in the WTA Rankings, will return to action at the Sunshine Double as she has been bumped up to the main draw for the Indian Wells Open – which starts on March 8 – following a couple of withdrawals while she has also received a wildcard for the Miami Open that gets underway on March 20.

Tournament chief Blake heaped praise on the British teenager and feels she is improving.

“Raducanu is such an incredible story what she did at the US Open, taking the world by storm like we hadn’t seen since Maria Sharapova winning Wimbledon at such a young age and becoming a media phenomenon,” he told the Miami Herald.

“It’s been a bit of a struggle since then, but realistically for her age, she’s getting better, and just happened to have one of her greatest performances at one of the biggest events on the calendar. She’s continuing to make progress.”

Raducanu made her debut at the Miami Open last year, but lost her opening match against Czech Katerina Siniakova.

The British No 1 was last in action at the Australian Open where she lost in the second round against Coco Gauff while her only other previous tournament was the ASB Classic at the start of the year. After winning her opening match against Linda Fruhvirtova, Raducanu retired with an ankle injury during her second-round clash against Viktoria Kuzmova.

Before the Sunshine Double gets underway, Raducanu will take part in a mixed doubles warm-up event at the Indian Wells Masters as she will feature alongside Cameron Norrie in the Eisenhower Cup.

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