'Shocked' Emma Raducanu gets emotional on not being 'bedridden' anymore

Raducanu started her post-surgery comeback with a win in Auckland.

by Dzevad Mesic
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'Shocked' Emma Raducanu gets emotional on not being 'bedridden' anymore
© Getty Images Sport - Dave Rowland

Emma Raducanu got emotional after making a triumphant return in Auckland as the 21-year-old Briton admitted she is just grateful and happy to be able to do normal activities and not be "bedridden or in a wheelchair." 

After struggling with injuries to both wrists and her right ankle, Raducanu made a decision to surgically address her injuries. In a span of 15 days, Raducanu had three surgeries. After having surgeries on her wrists and ankle, Raducanu couldn't do really much. 

This Tuesday, Raducanu made a comeback to tennis as she played her first match in eight months at the ASB Classic in Auckland. In her Auckland opener, Raducanu survived a real drama as she had to fight really hard before completing a 6-3 4-6 7-5 win over Elena-Gabriela Ruse. 

"It’s difficult after having such a long hiatus. I’m grateful to be healthy and able to move my body. Not bedridden or in a wheelchair," Raducanu said in her on-court interview.

Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu© Getty Images Sport - Dave Rowland
 

Raducanu felt 'weird' during her comeback match in Auckland

Raducanu, who turned 21 in November and had her first full season on the WTA Tour in 2022, was returning from surgery and a major tennis break for the first time in her pro career. After undergoing multiple surgeries and spending the next couple of months rehabbing and recovering, Raducanu described the feeling of returning to the court as "weird."

Although Raducanu looked evidently excited and happy after sealing a win over Ruse, she didn't really feel happiness, anxiety or nervousness during the match. Instead, Raducanu was in something like a state of shock just because she was able to take to the court again after everything she had been through in the last eight months. 

"It's a weird one, I didn't really know what I felt during or at the end of the match. Usually you have such a clear emotion, whether that's nerves, whether that's happiness - I think I was just a bit like, just struck and just a bit in shock really because eight months is a long time," Raducanu told Sky Sports.

Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu© Getty Images Sport - Dave Rowland
 

Raducanu plays Elina Svitolina next

After surviving the tight Ruse match, Raducanu is set to face former world No. 3 Svitolina. For Raducanu, it will certainly be a very tough challenge as Svitolina made a very impressive start to the new season. 

Svitolina, who made the Wimbledon semifinal last year, started the new season by ousting 2018 Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki 6-4 6-3. What was expected to be a tight meeting, Svitolina routinely won and certainly made a statement.

When Raducanu, 21, and 29-year-old Svitolina meet in the Auckland round-of-16, it will be their first meeting. Ahead of the meeting, Raducanu showed major respect and appreciation for Svitolina, acknowledging that she has been one of the best players in the game over the last couple of seasons. 

"I think it's a great opportunity for me to play Elena. We've never played before, but she's been at the top of the game for so long and I'm really looking forward to it... And I have nothing to lose, so I'm looking forward to it," Raducanu said. 

Elina Svitolina
Elina Svitolina© Getty Images Sport - Dave Rowland
 

Raducanu avoided suffering a crushing, devastating loss to Ruse

At the start of the match, there wasn't much separating Raducanu and world No. 134 Ruse. After the first seven games without a single break point, Raducanu earned three consecutive break points in the eighth game. Ruse managed to save the first two break points but Raducanu converted her third break point to take a 5-3 lead. With a chance to serve out for the first set, Raducanu managed to get it done in the ninth game.

At the start of the second set, Raducanu had a great chance to go up by an early break but she missed out on three break points in the first game. Raducanu paid the price for not converting her three break points as Ruse got her first break of the match in the second game before also serving out the next game for a 3-0 lead.

Raducanu was able to get the break back in the fifth game but she again got broken in the following game as Ruse took a 4-2 lead. In the ninth game, Raducanu broke Ruse back when the Romanian was serving for the second set. But Raducanu then messed up in the 10th game as she allowed Ruse to break her in the game when she was serving to stay in the set.

After the first three games of the third set, Ruse had a 2-1 lead but without a break. Raducanu then went on a big run, claiming back-to-back breaks in the fifth and seventh games and winning four games in a row to open a comfortable 5-2 lead. 

But just when it seemed that Raducanu would routinely close out the third set, the 2021 US Open champion didn't manage to serve out for the match in the eighth game. After failing to serve out for the match, Raducanu also didn't realize any of her two match points on Ruse's serve in the ninth game. It got even worse for Raducanu in the 10th game when she failed to serve out for the second time and Ruse tied the match to five games apiece. 

Luckily for Raducanu, she managed to end Ruse's run in the 11th game and break the Romanian for a 6-5 lead. Serving for the match for the third time, Raducanu finally managed to do it and after converting her fourth match point.

Svitolina overcame Wozniacki to set up a Raducanu clash

Svitolina made the first move in the match against Wozniacki, opening an early 2-0 lead. However, it didn't take long before Wozniacki responded as the Dane broke Svitolina in the third and seventh games to take a 4-3 lead and go up by a break. After suffering two breaks of serve, Svitolina kept her focus and composure as she still won the first set after breaking Wozniacki in the eighth and 10th games.

Early in the second set, Svitolina claimed a break and had a 4-1 lead after the first five games. Facing a loss, Wozniacki refused to quit and managed to get the break back in the seventh game. However, it didn't lead to a comeback as Svitolina broke Wozniacki again in the eighth game to open to go 5-3 up. In the next game, Svitolina saved a break point before realizing her first match point to complete a two-set win over Wozniacki.

Against Raducanu, Svitolina will probably enter as the slight favorite. It remains to be seen who will the Auckland showdown between Raducanu and Svitolina.

Emma Raducanu
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