Emma Raducanu gets inch closer to avoiding AO qualifying after player withdrawal



by DZEVAD MESIC

Emma Raducanu gets inch closer to avoiding AO qualifying after player withdrawal
© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Emma Raducanu is now four spots from making the Australian Open main draw directly after Julia Grabher pulled out of the opening Grand Slam of the season. Raducanu, who hasn't played since April, is currently ranked at No 299 in the world.

But when Raducanu returns, she will have a protected ranking of No 103 in the world. When the Australian Open entry list was released earlier this month, Raducanu was six spots out of the main draw cut-off. This week, Petra Kvitova's team revealed to the Czech media that the former world No 2 is likely to miss the Australian Open since she is currently only doing gym work and not practicing due to a back injury.

If Kvitova also withdraws, Raducanu could gain another spot on the list and further improve her chances of avoiding the qualifying event at Melbourne Park.

Raducanu's comeback 'massively exciting' to a former British tennis star

Raducanu, who had surgeries on both wrists and her right ankle, will play her first tournament back in Auckland - where she received a main draw wildcard.

After Auckland, Raducanu will also compete at the Australian Open. Ahead of Raducanu's comeback, former British tennis star Tim Henman explained why he believes staying healthy and getting matches could be the key for the 2021 US Open champion. “It’s massively exciting to have Raducanu coming back.

I think it's important that everybody around tennis who's a fan, who's excited to see Raducanu back on the court, manages their expectations. She's been out for a long, long time and she's still massively inexperienced. She's played so few tour level events, she's played so few matches in her whole professional career.

So for me, from, let's say, the first three, four months of the year, I think if she could stay injury free and play a whole series of tournaments without any setbacks, I think that would be fantastic because there is no doubt about her ability," Henman told Eurosport.

Emma Raducanu Australian Open