Emma Raducanu to make comeback from injury at Auckland event in January
The former US Open champion has been recovering from three surgeries and has not played a match since April.
Emma Raducanu will make her comeback at the ASB Classic in Auckland next month.
The 21-year-old has not played a match since a heavy loss to Jelena Ostapenko in Stuttgart in April. She subsequently withdrew from the Madrid Open and opted to undergo surgery on both wrists and one ankle.
Having initially targeted a comeback in late summer or early autumn, Raducanu has ended up missing the rest of the 2023 season.
Until recently there were doubts over whether she would make the start of next year but those have eased in recent weeks as she has stepped up her training.
And it has now been announced she will play at the WTA tournament in New Zealand beginning on January 1.
It will be Raducanu’s second appearance in Auckland and she will hope it is more positive than her debut in January, when she suffered an ankle injury during her second-round match and retired in tears.
The former US Open champion was able to recover to compete at the Australian Open but opted to undergo a procedure on her ankle to repair the damage in the spring.
She criticised the “slippery” courts afterwards but has decided to accept a wild card to return.
Raducanu’s ranking has slipped to 296 and she faces a long road back to the top of the game, but it should give her the opportunity to fill in some of the steps she missed out thanks to her giant leap to stardom.
She can use a protected ranking of 103 to enter tournaments because of her long lay-off but that is currently not high enough to earn her a place in the main draw of the Australian Open.
Barring enough withdrawals of higher-ranked players, or a wild card, she will have to go through qualifying at a slam for the first time since her stunning title run in New York in 2021.
Reigning US Open champion Coco Gauff, former world number one Caroline Wozniacki and Wimbledon semi-finalist Elina Svitolina are among the other names confirmed for the Auckland tournament.