Emma Raducanu given scheduling advice by Andy Roddick with ‘door open’ for return to WTA event
Former world No 1 Andy Roddick believes Emma Raducanu’s decision to skip an exhibition event could work in her favour although he also cautioned her not to play at the Australian Open without any matches under her belt.
Raducanu has been sidelined since April as she underwent surgery on both her wrists as well as her ankle.
She finally made her return to the practice courts at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton at the beginning of August and initially pencilled in the exhibition Macau Tennis Masters event from December 2-3 as her comeback tournament.
However, organisers confirmed a fortnight ago that the 2021 US Open champion would not take part in the event after she opted to delay her competitive return.
Roddick feels “a cohesive training block” may be better for Raducanu than playing in an exhibition event.
“It’s tough because we don’t know if it’s a recurrence of the same two injuries that she has or if it’s a fitness issue or maybe the training is going so well they don’t want to interrupt a really cohesive training block with a trip to Macau in December,” the American told Betway.
“That’s always an awkward time to play an exhibition event. I liked playing them right after the season ends or right before the season begins because it gives you more uninterrupted training. Maybe that’s just what she felt she needed. I’d be guessing at this point.”
Raducanu now looks set to make her comeback in the Antipodean, but it remains to be seen if she will play any warm-up events before the season-opening Grand Slam at Melbourne Park.
Roddick insists it is vital for the 21-year-old to get some time on the court before the Australian Open gets underway on January 15.
“I know one thing that has to happen if she’s going to go start playing a Slam in Australia, she’s going to have to play something before,” he said. “There’s going to have to be a 250, I would even like to see her play two events in the lead-up, because there’s just nothing guaranteed. You want those matches.
“So I’d be curious to see if, in the next 10 days, two weeks, we hear anything else about her intended schedule.”
Emma Raducanu’s 2024 pre-Australian Open options
There are three WTA-sanctioned tournaments on the schedule in the first week of January as the United Cup, Brisbane International and Auckland Classic will kick off the 2024 women’s tennis season.
It has already been confirmed that Raducanu won’t represent Great Britain at the United Cup and she could well opt to make her comeback at the Auckland Classic given that she played there in January.
However, it was not a happy visit to New Zealand this year as Raducanu criticised the slippery courts after she picked up an ankle injury and quit midway through her second match.
Tournament director Nicolas Lamperin, though, hasn’t ruled out a return for the British youngster, telling New Zealand’s Stuff: “There have been some, but it’s too early to say, because we still don’t have a set return date.
“The door is open if she wants to come, but we have had to go after other players, with whom we have more certainty. It’s not off the table, but we’d need more time, because we still don’t know when she’s coming back.”
The WTA 500 Adelaide International and WTA 250 Hobart International take place the week before the Australian Open, but most of the top players opt to skip the tournaments, instead preferring to spend time on the training court.
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