Emma Raducanu’s ranking could be about to leap if she makes the right calls

Emma Raducanu leaves the court

Emma Raducanu has made an encouraging start to 2024, but she faces a tricky balancing act as she decides what tournaments to play in 2024.

The 21-year-old Brit is back and performed well in her latest tournament in Abu Dhabi this week, winning impressively in the opening round against world No 26 Marie Bouzkova.

She then put up a good display against two-time Wimbledon runner-up Ons Jabeur before falling to defeat, yet the signs are there that she can compete with the top players in the game if she can steer clear of injury.

Raducanu, who has not reached a quarter-final of a WTA Tour event since September 2022 paid tribute to Jabeur after her defeat, as she suggested it was another on her comeback story.

“It was a tough match,” said Raducanu. “Ons is a difficult opponent so credit to her, she played really well and it’s just a match that I need to forget about.

“She’s a great opponent, she has amazing hand skills, makes life really hard for you on the court and especially with the really heavy balls. Her defensive skills are great and I think that’s something I can improve on too.”

Raducanu added that she hopes to play at the Qatar Open in Doha next week, where she will hope to get a wildcard to play from tournament organisers.

The Brit got a wildcard into the Abu Dhabi event and there should be plenty more of those on offer for the 2021 US Open champion in the coming months, but she needs to decide how to use the eight special exemptions she has using her protected ranking.

As Raducanu missed so much of 2023 due to injury, she is allowed to use a protected ranking to enter a handful of events this year.

READ MORE: Emma Raducanu gives schedule update following Abu Dhabi exit

Her protected ranking was set at No 103 when she stepped away from tennis to have surgery on both wrists and her ankle last April.

She can use that ranking to get into eight tournaments and has already used up one of those at the Australian Open.

She will need a wild card to get into the Indian Wells and Miami Open event and may then use her protected ranking to get into the French Open in May.

As it stands she will need some players to drop out of the draw to get into the mix for Roland Garros as her protected ranking of 103 is not enough to gain entry into Grand Slam events.

Raducanu is likely to receive a wild card to play at Wimbledon from the LTA if her ranking has not improved by July, but she will be hoping to make progress up the rankings by then.

Her win in Abu Dhabi will see Raducanu up to around No 262 when the new rankings are released next weekend if he did play in Doha, a couple of wins there would allow her to make another rankings leap.

WHAT IS A PROTECTED RANKING?

  • A player who is out of competition for more than 6 months but less than one year may use her special ranking for up to 8 tournaments in a one-year period.
  • A player who is out of competition for one year or more may use her special ranking for up to 12 tournaments in a one-year period.
  • If a player is out of competition due to pregnancy or a medical condition, she is allowed 3 years to use her special ranking. In the event of pregnancy, the time period is calculated from the birth of the child.
  • Upon her return, a player is eligible to use her special ranking for seeding purposes at the 1st 8 WTA tournaments she plays.
  • A player may freeze her ranking up to two times. Under the previous rule, a player was allowed to freeze her ranking just once.

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