Emma Raducanu handed tough draw as she prepares for grass court comeback

Kevin Palmer
Emma Raducanu set for grass court return
Emma Raducanu set for grass court return

Emma Raducanu is preparing to make a return to the WTA Tour and the draw has been made for for next event at the Nottingham Open.

2021 US Open champion Raducanu is currently ranked outside the top 200 of the WTA Rankings, but she will get plenty of chances to improve on that ranking over the next month as she will be handed a succession of wildcards to play in tournaments on British soil.

The first of those tournaments will come in Nottingham, where she will take on a qualifier in the first round.

Then the level will step up dramatically, as she is likely to take on world No 20 Marta Kostyuk, with defending Nottingham Open champion Katie Boulter also in Raducanu’s half of the draw in Nottingham.

A top prize of $35,250 up for grabs to the winner of the WTA250 tournament in Nottingham, but the ranking points could be more significant for Raducanu.

If we won the tournament in Nottingham, her ranking would leap from No 205 up around 80 places in the rankings.

Emma Raducanu faces ‘make or break’ month as she is handed huge rankings opportunity

She is then expected to play in the WTA 500 tournament at Eastbourne, with extra ranking points on offer in that tournament.

However, Raducanu could face one of the game’s biggest stars in Eastbourne, as she will not be seeded for the event.

World No 4 Elena Rybakina, No 5 Jessica Pegula (USA), the in-form Danielle Collins and defending champion Madison Keys are among the big-name stars due to play at Eastbourne, so it may be a tough task for Raducanu to make progress in that event.

She will then get a wildcard for Wimbledon, where up to 2,000 ranking points are up for grabs.

The good news for Raducanu is she has no ranking points to defend for the rest of 2024, as she missed the second half of last year due to injuries and she is relishing the chance to play on grass courts for the first time in two years.

Raducanu will get the backing of the British fans over the next month and if she can stay fit, she has a chance to shine on grass after she reached the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2021.

“You have to understand where she has come from over the last few months,” Sky Sports’ lead commentator Jonathan Overend told Tennis365.

“When you are out for eight months and have three different surgeries, that is tough. At one point last summer, three of her limbs were basically incapacitated. She was using a mobility scooter. So to be back on the court at all was miraculous.

“She has already achieved more than 99.9 per cent of the population and that is an amazing thing to say.

“Now she is coming back and in her Sky Sports interview before her comeback event, she said she felt refreshed and reborn. What a line that was.

“If she can match the positivity of her language with the positivity of her form on the court, she can get back to the top 20 and maybe even the top ten. We’d love to see her win another Grand Slam and it would be great to see her do well at the Australian Open.”