Emma Raducanu suffers huge injury setback on the eve of Miami Open

Kevin Palmer
Emma Raducanu illness Australian Open
Emma Raducanu looks on at the Australian Open

Emma Raducanu was in an upbeat mood as she prepared to play her first match at the Miami Open after some encouraging displays in Indian Wells, but all that optimism has come crashing down.

Raducanu was due to play in Miami after he was handed a wildcard by tournament organisers, with the 2021 US Open champion expressing her excitement to return to Miami as she looks to climb back up the WTA rankings after missing most of last year due to injury.

The 21-year-old British star was due to take on No 52 Wang Xiyu, with world No 35 Anna Kalinskaya a potential second round opponent.

Yet it was confirmed late on Monday that Raducanu had been forced to pull out of the tournament due to a back injury.

Despite that optimism, this will be a hammer blow to a player who has been working hard to get back to full fitness after double wrist and ankle surgery last year.

It is unclear when Raducanu sustained this latest injury, as she was speaking up about her hopes of performing well in Miami after losing against world No 2 Aryna Sabalenka and serving up an encouraging performance in the third round of Indian Wells last week.

“I think it’s been a good 10 days,” she said as she left Indian Wells, where she also played with a wildcard.

“I haven’t trained particularly much before the tournament, but I feel like I’ll probably take a day to recover tomorrow physically because since the tournament started, I have done a little bit of something every day.

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“So just to reset a bit mentally and physically tomorrow, and then, yeah, take it from there.

“This week gives me confidence. I think especially because of where I was before this tournament, didn’t think I would even play, to be honest. But to have played and then won three rounds and beaten two amazing opponents, yeah, I’m very proud of myself.

“Now it’s just about consistent work to physically get to where I want to be. Yeah, I saw a taste of the level where No. 1 is at physically and how she is at the corners, repetitive, relentless. Yeah, I just couldn’t take that.”

Those comments were backed up by confirmation that Raducanu had been included in Great Britain’s Billie Jean King Cup squad for their tie against France next month.

That selection suggested fitness concerns were not an issue for Raducanu, but she has clearly suffered a problem during her practice sessions in Miami and there will now be doubts over whether she will play in the Billie Jean King Cup tie or the Stuttgart clay court event she is entered to play in a week later.

Raducanu will be hoping her latest injury setback is brief as she has very few ranking points to defend in the rest of 2024 and could climb the WTA list quickly if she can stay fit.

The concern will be that this latest setback is evidence that her body is struggling to stand up to the rigours of a hectic tennis schedule after so long away from the court.