Emma Raducanu out of French Open and Wimbledon after hand and ankle surgery

104
0

Emma Raducanu with hand bandaged
Emma Raducanu posted a photo of herself with her racquet-playing hand bandaged after the first surgery
British number one Emma Raducanu will miss the French Open and Wimbledon while she recovers from hand and ankle surgery “for the next few months”.

She posted a photo of herself in a hospital bed with her right hand bandaged after a “minor procedure”, saying was having one on the left too.

Raducanu, 20, has been hampered by a series of injuries since her stunning 2021 US Open victory.

“It pains me to say I will miss the summer events,” she wrote.

“I tried to downplay the issues so I thank all my fans who continued to support me when you did not know the facts,” Raducanu wrote in a social media post.

“It is is safe to say the last 10 months have been difficult as I dealt with a recurring injury on a bone of both hands.

“I tried my best to manage the pain and play through it for most of this year and end of last year by reducing practice load dramatically, missing weeks of training as well as cutting last season short to try to heal it. Unfortunately it is not enough.”

The hand problems – involving a bone very close to the wrists – brought an early end to her season in 2022 and have since flared up at various points this year, including last week when she withdrew from the Madrid Open just hours before she was scheduled to play her first-round match.

She is set to drop out of the top 100 in the world rankings next week and is likely to be replaced by Jodie Burrage as British number one in the coming weeks.

She will miss the French Open, which starts later this month, as well as the grass-court season including Wimbledon.

“I’m disappointed to share that I will be out for the next few months and while I am at it I will have another minor procedure that is due on my ankle,” said Raducanu, who rolled her left ankle playing on a slick indoor court in her first event of the year in Auckland.

“Looking forward to seeing you all back out there.”

While the hope is that she will be back on the training court at the end of the summer, it means that her participation remains doubtful for the US Open, which gets under way at the end of August.

Raducanu’s management team say Wednesday’s procedure on her right, racquet-playing hand was straightforward and there should be no concerns about her long-term recovery.

She is likely to have the operation on her left ankle before the procedure on her left hand. The second hand operation is expected to take place in the next two weeks, to ensure she always has one hand free for everyday tasks.

How Raducanu has struggled with injuries since US Open win
After her incredible run to the US Open title in September 2021, where she became the first qualifier to win and also did so without dropping a set, Raducanu’s bid to build on that success has been repeatedly derailed by a series of injuries, niggles and illness.

They have stopped her making deeper runs at tournaments, with the Briton failing to go beyond the second round at any of the Grand Slams since her New York triumph and she has also not won any more titles on the tour.

Her withdrawal from the Madrid event last week came the day after a tense news conference, where she used just 58 words to answer 16 questions, several of which were about her fitness.

Timeline of Emma Raducanu’s injuries
‘A break might be what Raducanu needs’ – analysis
Russell Fuller, BBC tennis correspondent

An attempt to manage Emma Raducanu’s injury did not work, but there was no blame in trying. Tennis players do not make a decision to have surgery lightly – especially on hands and wrists.

Missing Wimbledon – in particular – will hurt, but better to sacrifice one grass court season if it increases your chance of playing a further 10.

Raducanu has been able to play just nine matches this year. It has been a tale of frustration with the exception of Indian Wells in March, where she beat two top-20 players en route to the fourth round.

Her withdrawal from the ongoing Madrid Open means Raducanu will drop out of the world’s top 100 next week. By the end of the US Open, she will probably find herself barely inside the top 200.

But that really doesn’t matter, especially at the age of 20.

Raducanu will only be able to “protect” her current ranking if she is absent for at least six months.

So, assuming she returns before late October, Raducanu will have to resume her career on the ITF World Tennis Tour – unless she accepts the wildcards which are sure to be on offer because of her stunning 2021 US Open triumph.

Whether she should take them is another matter. Raducanu will need matches, and lots of them, and they are much more likely to be provided at a lower level.

A break from tennis may also be just what Raducanu needs.

She often looks drawn, and the pleasure she used to derive from the sport seems to have disappeared.

The pressure to perform by fans and sponsors alike must be draining, especially when life on court is far from a bed of roses.

Those expectations should be reduced when Raducanu does return. Maybe now she will have the chance to work her way up the rankings in a more conventional way, rather than jumping, as she did in New York in 2021, from 150 to 23 in the space of two heady weeks.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here