Emma Raducanu misses out on first batch of Australian Open wild cards

<span>Photograph: Ella Ling/REX/Shutterstock</span>
Photograph: Ella Ling/REX/Shutterstock

Emma Raducanu has missed out on the initial batch of wild card entries for the Australian Open. The former US Open champion has a protected ranking of 103 due to her lengthy absence from the tour following operations on both wrists and one ankle but that is not currently high enough to secure entry to next month’s grand slam tournament.

The 21-year-old British player’s status as a former slam champion and one of the most high-profile female players in the sport counts in her favour but most wild cards usually go to home players.

If Raducanu is not given a wild card, and there are not sufficient withdrawals among higher-ranked players to secure her place, she will have to go through qualifying – the avenue by which she sensationally triumphed at the US Open in 2021.

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The good news is, after doubts about the pace of her recovery, she has stepped up training in recent weeks and appears on track to return at the start of next season. Raducanu has not played a tournament since the WTA event in Stuttgart in April and her actual ranking has fallen to 296.

That is 54 places lower than former world No 1 and Australian Open champion Wozniacki, who has been awarded a wild card. The Danecame out of retirement last summer following a three-and-a-half-year hiatus in which she had two children.

The other initial wild cards for the tournament, which begins on 14 January, have gone to Australian trio Kimberly Birrell, Olivia Gadecki and Taylah Preston.