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Emma Raducanu happy with fitness, looking forward to grass-court season

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LONDON – Former US Open champion Emma Raducanu has said that she no longer has any doubts when she hits the ball after recovering from surgery on both wrists and an ankle, adding that she is in a “really fit place” as she begins the grass-court season.

The 21-year-old, who was sidelined for eight months last season, competed in Stuttgart and Madrid during the clay swing but withdrew from the qualifying rounds for the French Open.

The Briton was not awarded a wildcard for the clay-court Grand Slam at Roland Garros and said she withdrew to manage her workload and focus on her fitness.

She said on June 10 she now felt really strong and was excited to be back in action.

“Body-wise, physical-wise, I feel really healthy,” the 2021 US Open champion told reporters ahead of her opening match at the Nottingham Open against Japan’s Ena Shibahara.

Regardless of how she fared in her clash on June 11, Raducanu was hoping to put her injuries behind her and looking ahead to the second part of the season.

“I’ve done amazing work with my trainer over the last few months, since surgery. I’m in a really fit place. I’m healthy and just looking forward to starting playing,” she said.

Raducanu first grabbed the spotlight when she reached the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2021 and made her big breakthrough by winning the US Open later that year.

However, she has failed to get past the second round of any Grand Slam following her Flushing Meadows triumph as injuries took a toll on her body.

She had surgery on her right wrist and an ankle in May 2023, before another operation on her left wrist.

“A year ago I was on a scooter scooting around and I didn’t know… there was an element of doubt. To be healthy and to be here, I need to cherish it,” Raducanu added of her recovery.

“I think my wrists are actually in a better position than they ever were. So there’s zero doubt or apprehension whether I’m hitting the ball or designing my schedule.”

On withdrawing from Roland Garros, she said: “I don’t need to rush and try to win the French Open, it wasn’t my goal this year. I had to prioritise where I wanted to target and it (Stuttgart and Madrid) was just a good block for me to get some ­physical work done.”

The clay swing is over now and British fans will be eager to see Raducanu back in action, as Wimbledon begins on July 1. REUTERS

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