Emma Raducanu remains under an injury cloud ahead of the Australian Open as her ankle injury is more than just a niggle.
The British No 1 made a positive start to her 2023 campaign as she defeated rising star Linda Fruhvirtova in the opening round of the ASB Classic last week, but her run was cut short as she was forced to retire from her second-round encounter against Viktoria Kuzmova.
The 20-year-old rolled her left ankle at the start of the third set on the indoor surface in Auckland. The match had to be moved indoors following persistent rain in the area and Raducanu criticised the slippery playing surface after the incident.
Her team, though, were hopeful that it was just a minor strain, but she is still struggling with the problem with the season-opening Grand Slam just days away, although she remains upbeat that she will be ready come next week.
“I’m just taking a day at a time, honestly, and just trying to, every single day try as best as possible to see and make progress,” Raducanu told Tennis Australia in an interview.
“And we’ll see hopefully by Monday, or whenever the tournament starts, I’ll be okay and ready. But we’re just taking it a day at a time and not trying to expect too much at this point.”
The 2021 US Open champion felt the surface in Auckland was not up to standard and contributed to her injury.
“The courts are incredibly slick, like very slippery, so to be honest it’s not a surprise that this happened to someone,” she said after the match, but the tournament organisers insisted the courts “were fit to play” and the injury “could have happened on an outdoor court”.
Raducanu again addressed the incident and felt there was not much she could have done to prevent the injury.
“I mean, it was really unfortunate, to be honest last week, because I was feeling great about my season and I was feeling really good with the preparation I did physically,” she said.
“And I just had an accident on the court, which I don’t know what I could have done to really prevent that.”
Raducanu won’t be seeded the Australian Open as she finds herself 75th in the WTA Rankings. Last year she was seeded 17th on the back of her US Open run and beat former US Open winner Sloane Stephens in the first round, but exited in the second round as she went down in three sets against unheralded Montenegrin player Danka Kovinic.
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