• Emma Raducanu has not played since April before undergoing surgery in May
  • She holds a 'protected' ranking of 103 which is above her current listing of 296
  • MATCH POINT: Mail Sport reviews the highs and lows of a frustrating season 

Emma Raducanu has formally entered the Australian Open in January, but it is far from certain that she will be able to enter the main draw directly.

The former US Open champion has not played since April, and in May underwent surgeries to her wrists and ankles.

Due to the lengthy hiatus to her career she is entitled to a ‘protected’ ranking of 103 for tournament entry purposes, which is well above her current listing of 296.

However, this is still not high enough to guarantee her a place in the Melbourne main draw, as she remains outside the cut-off with eight players in a similar position who are ahead of her.

She might therefore need to rely either on a wildcard or on there being enough players who drop out with injury if she wants to get straight into the main event.

Raducanu is currently in Hong Kong, where she has fulfilled a sponsor commitment alongside doing some training. 

Before that she was working at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton, where Lawn Tennis Association staff have been assisting in getting her back towards competition shape, in the absence of her assembling a bespoke team around her.

Her comeback has fallen behind schedule after a setback with her wrists in the late autumn, but she has finally been able to get back on court and hit for around 90 minutes per day. 

The 21 year-old from Kent has long since targeted the start of next season for her return, but pulled out of an exhibition event she had wanted to play in Macau last weekend.

As yet it is not known where she might play before the Australian Open, with options limited. Her first appearance could be in Auckland, where she played last year, or theoretically amid the stronger field which has been assembled in Brisbane.

She might also need wildcards to enter the main draw of those, although there would be something to be said for playing in the qualification event anyway, given that it could be helpful for her to get some matches under her belt against weaker opposition as she starts on the long road back.

Read more

2023-12-05T12:42:48Z dg43tfdfdgfd