Emma Raducanu suffers yet another injury scare at Indian Wells

Emma Raducanu takes a break

Emma Raducanu’s participation at the Indian Wells Masters event has been thrown into doubt as she pulled out of a charity exhibition event shortly before she was due to appear on court.

The 20-year-old had been due to play mixed doubles along with Cameron Norrie in the Eisenhower Cup but organisers announced she had pulled out, without giving details.

Raducanu is scheduled to face Danka Kovinic in the first round of the Indian Wells tournament on Thursday in what will be her first match since January’s Australian Open.

The British number one ended her 2022 season early after suffering a wrist injury in October, and also battled to overcome an ankle injury in the build-up to Melbourne.

Now we wait to see whether she will be fit to compete at Indian Wells, after also being awarded a wild card into the Miami Open later this month.

There has been plenty of discussion over whether the 2021 US Open champion deserves to be handed wild cards to major events given her lack of since over the last year.

Yet Miami Open tournament director James 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.

Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that the WTA has announced a new investment deal with CVC Capital Partners worth £125million.

The private equity firm previously owned Formula One and has also invested in rugby, cricket and French and Spanish football.

This new deal, which has been in the pipeline for some time, is described as a “strategic partnership” and will see CVC secure a 20 per cent stake in the newly created commercial entity of the WTA.

The partnership aims to generate improved commercial growth in the women’s game and raise its profile after a difficult period that has seen the gap to the men’s sport widen.

The retirements of Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams and Ashleigh Barty have robbed the game of three of its biggest stars while Naomi Osaka is taking time away to have her first child and Emma Raducanu is still trying to establish herself.

Coupled with a lack of star power is the difficult nature of the tour’s current relationship with its previous biggest partner, China.

After a hiatus in events due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the WTA took a stand amid uncertainty over the welfare of former Chinese player Peng Shuai following her allegations against a high-ranking official.

Tour chief Steve Simon has said events will not be held in the country until Peng’s welfare is verified and an investigation conducted, but there is no sign of either condition being met.

A statement read: “Commencing in 2023, CVC will be WTA’s commercial partner, investing capital and acting as a catalyst to drive growth of the sport.

“Key focus areas include providing fans with more access to the sport, investing behind the Tour brands, building the player profiles, and investing in digital platforms and commercial capabilities.

“The WTA will continue to own the majority interest in the partnership and retain full regulatory and sporting responsibility for the women’s game.”

The statement also claimed support from the players for the deal, adding that “critical changes” to the calendar would make it easier for fans to follow players.