Emma Raducanu handed another wild card as she aims to silence her doubters

Kevin Palmer
Emma Raducanu Indian Wells 2023
Emma Raducanu celebrates

Emma Raducanu will play in both legs of the American ‘Sunshine Double’ in March after it was confirmed she has been given a wildcard in the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells.

The former US Open champion is ranked down at 252 as she continues to work her way back from triple surgery on her wrists and ankle but she has so far been able to rely largely on wild cards to play in high-profile tournaments.

This one is no surprise given the Miami Open is owned and operated by Raducanu’s management company IMG.

There was more debate over whether she would get a wildcard to play at Indian Wells, but she posted images of her arrival in Los Angeles on her Instagram feed on Thursday, which suggests she was set to play.

Now the Californian tournament has confirmed the news, as they released details of their final wildcards before the draw is made.

“2021 US Open Champion Emma Raducanu headlines the list of players awarded main draw wild cards into the 2024 BNP Paribas Open,” read a statement on the tournament’s website.

“The 22-year old Raducanu heads to Tennis Paradise looking to jumpstart her 2024 season after a career-best showing in Indian Wells last March, reaching the Round of 16. Joining her will be former World No. 1 and two-time Grand Slam finalist Karolina Pliskova, along with 2021 BNP Paribas Open Champion Paula Badosa.

“Twenty-two-year-old American Amanda Anisimova, who reached the fourth round in Melbourne earlier this year in her return to Tour after seven months away from the game, was also awarded entry into the main draw, along with Americans Ashlyn Krueger and McCartney Kessler.

“Former World No. 1 and seven-time Grand Slam Singles Champion Venus Williams was previously received a main draw wild card, as was Caroline Wozniacki, the 2018 Australian Open and 2011 BNP Paribas Open Champion. Both players will be returning to the desert for the first time since 2019.”

READ MORE: Emma Raducanu seems to have confirmed her next tournament and gets wildcard for another big event

There has been some debate over whether Raducanu should be playing in such high-level events as she makes her comeback, but former British No 1 Laura Robson insists this is the best approach for the young Brit.

“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?” 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.”

This will be a tournament that will be held alongside an ATP 1000 event, with Novak Djokovic leading the seeds in the men’s draw.

Tournament officials have also confirmed the wildcards they yhave handed out to male players.

“Twenty-two-year-old Brandon Nakashima, who won both his inaugural title at his hometown San Diego Open and the Next Gen ATP Finals crown in 2022, was awarded a main draw wild card, alongside former World No. 9 Fabio Fognini, who is a nine-time ATP Tour Singles Champion,” added the statement.

“2024 Qatar Open finalist Jakub Mensik of the Czech Republic, three-time ATP Challenger Tour winner Patrick Kypson and former University of Illinois All-American Aleksander Kovacevic are also on the list of ATP main draw wild card recipients.”

Mensik’s appearance in the draw is fine reward for his impressive performances in recent weeks, with the high-quality players on show certain to keep the big crowds entertained over the next couple of weeks.

Main draw play will commence on Wednesday, March 6 and the tournament will conclude on Sunday, March 17 with the men’s and women’s singles finals.