Emma Raducanu’s next tournament yet to be confirmed as she is playing a waiting game

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

Emma Raducanu has posted some new images of her training sessions at the LTA’s National Tennis Centre in London – and she will be hoping her preparations will soon be stepped up on American soil. 

The 2021 US Open champion has slipped down to No 252 in the latest WTA rankings after missing most of last year due to injury.

That leaves her relying on wildcards to get into the game’s biggest tournaments and she should get those as a former Grand Slam champion.

Raducanu has a ‘protected ranking’ of No 103 as that was the point she dropped out of the game last year to undergo surgery on both ankles and her wrist, but that is not high enough to get her into the game’s biggest events.

While the 21-year-old has shown flashes of top-level form after making her comeback to the WTA Tour in Aukland last month, she has struggled to string together victories and turned in a poor performance in a 6-0 7-6(6) defeat against Anhelina Kalinina in the opening round of the Qatar Open earlier this month.

Raducanu confirmed she would reconsider her schedule after that match, as she returned to the UK to train rather than play in the WTA 1000 tournament in Dubai, where she could have had a wild card.

“I think that I need to kind of schedule my tournaments a bit better as well as just trying to get some more matches under my belt,” she stated.

“I think that I’m just going to go home and practice and we’ll see where it goes from there.”

Now the waiting game is on for Raducanu to discover whether she will get a wildcard into the WTA 1000 event at Indian Wells next month and even though her lowly ranking does suggest she justifies entry into the 128-player draw, she is likely to be offered the chance to play in the Californian desert.

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She would also be expected to get a wildcard into the Miami Open that is playing the week after Indian Wells, as her management company is own the event in Florida.

The wildcards are likely to continue to flow for Raducanu as tournament organisers are eager to include Raducanu on their entry list as she is a great draw for crowds, as was proved by the packed stands for her two matches at the Australian Open last month.

The dilemma for the player will be whether she should take the offers to play against the game’s elite players or set her sights a little lower.

She could play in the WTA 125 event in Charleston in the second week or March or the San Luis Open in Mexico at the end of March, where she will come up against lower ranked opposition and could get some match wins under her belt.

Yet former British No 1 Laura Robson told Tennis365 that she would advise Raducanu to continue accepting offers to play in top level tournaments in the hope that she can enjoy a rapid rankings rise.

“She played very well in some of the matches she had this year and she clearly feels her level is good enough to challenge at these tournaments, so why not go for them?” Sky Sports Tennis analysts Robson told Tennis365.

“If it doesn’t go well, then you can go back to the drawing board and maybe enter a few lower tournaments.

“If the opportunities are there to pick up very big points without too many match wins without winning too many matches, you have to take them.

“The way the points work, you could win two WTA 250 tournaments or have a run at a WTA 1000 event and you basically get the same number of points for your ranking. If I were here, I’d be playing the same tournaments.

“She is competing really well and ever in the matches she has lost, she has been right in them,” added Robson.

“The fact that she has been playing more aggressively and getting closer to the baseline is great to see. She is playing a brand of tennis close to what we saw when she won the US Open and she just needs time on court and consistency to get her to that level.

“Emma has used this re-start as an opportunity to just start again and it has been really good to see.”

Former Grand Slam champions Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki have received wild cards for the to play at Indian Wells, but it remains to be seen whether Raducanu will also be granted entry to the lucrative event often hailed as the fifth Grand Slam.