Emma Raducanu comeback confirmed as Brit signs up to new tournament

Emma Raducanu will officially make her comeback at the start of 2024 after receiving a wildcard for the ASB Classic in Auckland. The tournament begins on January 1 as part of the build-up to the Australian Open and will be her first since April of this year. The Brit has been sidelined since undergoing three surgeries in the spring

Raducanu started her 2023 season at the ASB Classic and will now make her official comeback at the tournament as a wildcard. The 21-year-old turned her ankle and was forced to retire the last time she played in Auckland. She later had an operation on that ankle in May, plus two more on both of her wrists.

The 2021 US Open champion has not competed since going under the knife, with her last match being a 59-minute beatdown at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix almost eight months ago. But she will now be back in action in the first week of January at the WTA 250 event, with the likes of Coco Gauff and Caroline Wozniacki also signed up to play Auckland.

After more than half a year on the sidelines, Raducanu is currently allowed to compete using her protected ranking of No 103 which is significantly higher than her current standing of No 296 in the world. But with a wildcard for her comeback event, she won’t need to rely on the special injury ranking to compete in New Zealand.

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Raducanu has used her boosted status of world No 103 to enter the Australian Open, which begins on January 14. But the cut-off for the main draw is higher than usual with multiple other players returning using their own protected rankings. It has left the Brit sixth on the list of alternates and she must now rely on a series of withdrawals or compete in qualifying to get into the tournament.

The qualifying tournament takes place in the week before the first Grand Slam of the year, meaning the 21-year-old may need to head straight to Melbourne to fight for a spot in the main draw following her return in Auckland. Australian Open organisers have already announced four wildcards for the women’s singles draw and have four more to give out, meaning that option isn’t out of the question for Raducanu.

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There had initially been concerns over Raducanu’s hopes of making a comeback at the start of 2024 as she withdrew from the recent Macau Tennis Masters exhibition event. The former world No 10 later clarified that this was just a precaution and that she wanted to give organisers enough time to find a replacement.

But her decision to commit to both Auckland and the Australian Open comes as a positive sign, with Raducanu also said to be making strides in training.

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