Emma Raducanu has confirmed that she will not return to the match court until the new year, almost nine months after her most recent appearance on tour.
Speaking to BBC London News, Raducanu said: “Next season, I’ll be back. This season all the slams are finished. So it was difficult to watch them go by. I was trying to stay in my lane as much as possible, and keep focused on my recovery and my path back.”
Raducanu’s most recent match was a straight-sets defeat at the hands of Jelena Ostapenko in Stuttgart in mid-April. She then travelled to Madrid for the combined event there, but withdrew without hitting a ball. The next stage was a series of operations in May, first on her two wrists – which suffer from “carpal bosses”, a congenital condition involving bony spurs – and then on her ankle.
Her first practice session after the surgery took place on August 2 at the National Tennis Centre in south-west London. The next few weeks will be devoted to more hitting practice and the sort of physical conditioning that will – with any luck – help her stay injury free for the majority of next season.
A variety of fitness issues limited Raducanu to just 10 matches this year, and a relatively low figure of 36 in 2022. Despite her status as a former US Open champion, she still lacks experience on the WTA Tour.
Asked by the BBC how she blocks out all the chatter about her career, Raducanu replied: “The fact that they are still talking about me – even though I am not at these events or not about – I think it’s just a compliment. One thing someone told me was ‘Worry when they are not talking about you’.”
Raducanu has yet to identify a specific tournament for her comeback, but her schedule will surely focus on travelling to Australia for the year’s first grand slam in mid-January. Even though her ranking recently dropped outside the world’s top 200 for the first time since her run to the fourth round of Wimbledon in 2021, she will still be able to use a protected ranking to enter the main draw.
Speaking to the BBC, Raducanu said: “The ultimate dream still is, and always has been, to win Wimbledon.”