Saturday, January 14, 2023

Despite fear of injury, Emma Raducanu is not stressed about the chances of the Australian Open

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EMMA RADUCANU says she is not stressed about playing Monday’s Australian Open despite a lack of match practice and dealing with another injury scare ahead of the tournament.

The 20-year-old left the ASB Classic in Auckland in tears when she slipped and twisted her left ankle while playing indoor courts and had to end the second-round tie.

It has been an issue to contend with since arriving in Melbourne and one that has affected her preparations.

Of course, this isn’t the first time Raducanu has had to ask questions about her fitness and physical condition before starting college.

Since her victory at the 2021 US Open in New York, she has rarely experienced a reasonable length of time where she has been either pain free or without any form of illness.

But ahead of a first-round draw against Germany’s Tamara Korpatsch in Melbourne, the British No1 expressed optimism and told her fans not to panic.

Raducanu said: “There was obviously a bit of concern in the game (in New Zealand) at the time.

“If you just walk over, you don’t really know what’s going on. But yes, we worked very hard.

“It was a team effort to bring me to this place. We’ve definitely accelerated the process, but I’m feeling really good and looking forward to getting on the pitch.

“It’s just a huge, huge prop for my team, really here and at home, that helped me get to this place.

“I started practicing during the week and we built it up pretty gradually.

“But I think I’ve never really played a lot of tennis in my career, so I’m kind of used to it. And I’m not that stressed about missing tennis.

“Obviously I’m pretty frugal with tennis this week. It was just a tremendous effort from all of us to get on the pitch on Monday and I’m really looking forward to enjoying that.”

Raducanu starts this event with a new coach in her corner, and despite her reputation for hiring and firing mentors, newcomer Sebastian Sachs seems to be settling into her team well.

While the 30-year-old has limited experience as a professional – he played collegiate tennis in the US at Oklahoma State University and later joined the Futures Tour – his tennis IQ is respected.

The off-season hours with new conditioning coach Jez Green – who used to work with Andy Murray – have put Raducanu in “stronger shape” ahead of the 2023 season.

The Kent ace said: “I’m in better shape physically. I worked a lot and am very happy with the way things went physically.

“I started playing tennis quite late just because of some ongoing issues I had late last year.

“But I think I will continue to build this year and hopefully continue that momentum.

“I really like Seb. We have done great work. He’s very objective. He’s really experienced. I just love the way we work together and I really hope it lasts.”

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