Billie Jean King has urged Emma Raducanu not to play until she is completely healthy. The Brit underwent three surgeries in May and has not competed since. Raducanu’s comeback date is still unknown after she wasn’t included in Britain’s BJK Cup squad for next month’s tie against Sweden but King doesn’t want the 20-year-old to rush her return anyway.
Raducanu has not played a match since April, crashing out in the first round of the Stuttgart Open. She then went to the WTA 1000 in Madrid but withdrew hours before her match and ended up having surgery on both of her wrists and one ankle a few weeks later.
There were hopes that the former world No 10 could return in time for the Asian swing after the US Open but she is still yet to announce a comeback tournament. Raducanu’s return is still uncertain after she wasn’t included in the British BJK Cup squad as she still isn’t ready to compete.
But Billie Jean King has taken the pressure off as she said the 20-year-old shouldn’t come back until she’s healthy. “We need Raducanu to be healthy, number one,” the tennis legend told Sky Sports.
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“She’s a great person. She’s interested in the world around her, she can speak more than one language – she can speak Chinese because her mother’s Chinese. She’s somebody who I think is interesting as a human being.”
King – who was present for Raducanu’s unprecedented 2021 US Open title win – said she was looking forward to seeing the Brit back on a tennis court. And she endorsed the former world No 10’s decision to take several months out in order to have surgery.
The retired former world No 1 continued: “I’m interested in her next chapter and I want her to be really healthy so she can play tennis, because I know she loves to play. We’ll see how that goes.
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“You’ve got to be healthy. If you’re not, you shouldn’t play, so I think they’ve done the right thing this year.” While Raducanu is yet to confirm her comeback, she has signed up for the MGM Macau Tennis Masters, an exhibition tournament being staged in December. She will take on Olympic champion Belinda Bencic.
The Brit has also been invited to return to the ASB Classic in Auckland to start her 2024 season after playing in the tournament earlier this year. “There have been some [conversations] but it’s too early to say because we still don’t have a set return date,” tournament director Nicolas Lamperin told Stuff. “The door is open if she wants to come, but we have had to go after other players with whom we have more certainty.”
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