Emma Raducanu ‘extremely grateful’ for MBE after meeting King at Windsor Castle
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Emma Raducanu has blamed a “very slippery” indoor court for the “freak” ankle injury which has thrown her Australian Open into doubt. The distraught British No.1 broke down in tears after pulling out of her second match at the ASB Classic in Auckland.
Heavy rain had stopped play outside for two days and the former US Open champion faced world No 134 Viktoria Kuzmova on a deserted indoor court. After taking the first set 6-0 in only 22 minutes, Raducanu twisted her left ankle at the end of the second set which she lost 7-5. She had a lengthy treatment and strapping put on her ankle but could not continue and conceded in tears after only one point of the third set.
The Bromley-based star, 20, is expected to learn the extent of the damage on Friday with the first Grand Slam of the season starting in Melbourne on January 16. Express Sport understands that Raducanu’s team will assess her in the morning but the Brit will likely have a scan of the problem. “It’s difficult to take,” she said. “I’ve put a lot of physical work in the last few months and I’ve been feeling good and optimistic.
“So to be stopped by a freak injury, rolling an ankle is pretty disappointing, in the first week as well. I thought I was playing some pretty decent tennis. The courts are incredibly slick, like very slippery, so to be honest it’s not a surprise that this happened to someone.
“It’s out of my control and after a very long day of waiting around. But we’ll assess over the next few days and see what the next steps are.” Raducau also faced a race against time to get fit for Wimbledon last year after suffering a side strain in a warmup event in Nottingham.
She contracted Covid in December 2020 and lost at last year’s Australian Open suffering from blisters and retired from four tournaments with different injuries in a shortened season which ended in October because of a wrist problem. But she has since employed Andy Murray’s former fitness coach Jez Green and spent two months in the gym before returning to the tennis court on December 9.
After receiving her MBE at Windsor Castle and attending the World Cup final, Raducanu arrived in New Zealand via Singapore with a new trial coach – Sebastian Sachs – and a new year wish. “So for 2023 my goal is to stay healthy for longer,” she said. “I’m looking forward to working hard because I’ve got a better idea of what to expect now. So I’ll be less like a deer in the headlights.”
Top seed Coco Gauff had no problems beating former Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin 6-4 6-4 under the roof. “The match is a match,” said the American teenager. “I don’t care if it’s indoor, outdoor. In Australia, you probably might have to play with the roof.”
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