Emma Raducanu has insisted she is in a better place than at any other time since she stunned the tennis world by lifting the US Open trophy as an 18-year-old in 2021. The 20-year-old is nearing a return to action after missing the last six-and-a-half months through injury.
Raducanu turned into an overnight sensation when she defied the odds to become the first qualifier in history to win a Grand Slam title. The Bromley ace won three qualifiers and seven matches in the main draw without dropping a single set to lift the trophy at Flushing Meadows.
Her fortunes nosedived after the tournament, however, as she was plagued by injuries and a lack of form. And earlier this year she was forced to undergo surgery on both her wrists as well as an ankle.
Raducanu, who has been unable to progress past the second round of a Grand Slam since her success in New York, hasn’t played a competitive match since losing to Jelena Ostapenko at the Stuttgart Open in April. But she is very optimistic about her future following her injury hiatus.
“It was difficult to train after the surgeries, so it was very sedentary in the beginning,” she explained during an interview with Amazon Prime. “Through the whole period, I’ve been doing a lot off court, reading a lot and watching some tennis. Mentally, I feel like I’m in a better place to compete now than I ever have been before since the US Open.
“I’m hoping to get back on board for next season. I know it’s going to be difficult when you haven’t competed for a long time, like almost a year. It’s going to probably take me some tournaments to get up to speed. But, once I do, I think I’m in a better headspace to compete now.”
Raducanu rose to a career high No 10 in the world rankings last July but has fallen to No 284 following her injury issues. And she has taken the opportunity to work on her painting and piano skills during her time away from the court.
She added: “I just really wanted to expand what I do off the court because obviously when you’re playing you have little to no time to do anything. So it was nice to have some time to learn new skills and do things I’d never done or tried before. At the end of the day, I’m itching to get back on court.”