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Emma Raducanu Withdraws from Australian Open Warm-up



Emma Raducanu

Former US Open champion Emma Raducanu has opted out of her final pre-Australian Open warm-up match, citing ongoing soreness ahead of her return to the Grand Slam scene after a year.

Emma Raducanu

Raducanu, who claimed the 2021 US Open title, withdrew from the Kooyong Classic less than 24 hours after pulling out of a charity game at Melbourne Park. The match had to be canceled at the last minute due to Naomi Osaka’s withdrawal, replaced by Croatian world no. 25 Donna Vekic.

Having missed the entire 2023 season due to surgery on a right ankle injury from the previous year’s Open and subsequent operations on both wrists, Raducanu faces challenges as she prepares for her upcoming major tournament.

The 21-year-old British sensation participated in two matches at the ASB Classic in Auckland last week, managing to take a set off world no. 23 Elina Svitolina before experiencing signs of back soreness, leading to a 6-1 loss in the final set.

Organizers of the Kooyong Classic announced Raducanu’s withdrawal from the tournament, along with Spanish star Paula Badosa, both citing injuries. The duo was scheduled to compete in an exhibition match on Thursday, and their absence poses a significant setback for the event, which has faced challenges attracting top female players recently.


West Australian teenager Taylah Preston competed against Czechia’s Linda Fruhvirtova on Wednesday morning, while Russian 16-year-old prodigy Mirra Andreeva, originally set to face Raducanu on Thursday, will likely be paired with a new opponent.

The disparity in the level of competition compared to the men’s draw, which includes six top 20-ranked players and seasoned veterans like Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka, and Dominic Thiem, was evident. However, tournament director Peter Johnston explained that the limited field for women was a result of stringent WTA rules, making it more challenging for female players to participate in non-tour sanctioned events compared to their male counterparts.

“Recent editions of the Care Wellness Kooyong Classic have showcased women’s tennis, and our fans have appreciated it,” Johnston stated last month. “Many legendary female players were champions when the Australian Open was held at Kooyong, and we aim to uphold that tradition. We are awaiting scheduling decisions from players to determine our options while respecting the WTA rules.”

On Wednesday, Murray faced Croatian veteran Marin Cilic but was defeated 6-3, 7-5. Cilic, entering the Open with a protected ranking due to injuries affecting his 2023 campaign, showcased his prowess. World no. 4 Jannik Sinner earlier dominated Kooyong’s center court, defeating Australian contender Marc Polmans 6-4, 6-0.

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