Raducanu suffers huge rankings drop but injured star has neat route back to top

Emma Raducanu teaches tennis lesson from 4,000 miles away

Emma Raducanu continues to tumble down the WTA’s world rankings as her absence from the court goes on. Surgery on the youngster’s wrists and ankle earlier this year have kept her out of action for months on end, and while things could hardly get any worse, a speedy redemption may be in store once she finally recovers.

A run of three consecutive defeats preceded Raducanu’s decision to undergo three surgeries back in May. The procedures ended her hopes of appearing in front of adoring crowds at Wimbledon, or at the US Open, where she defied the odds by winning in 2021.

Now approaching seven months on the sidelines, Raducanu has crashed all the way down to 285 in the WTA rankings. The player above her, Lizette Cabrera, has never made it beyond the first round of a Grand Slam, and neither has Kathinka von Deichmann below her.

There will therefore be no handouts for Raducanu, but the fact she has hardly any WTA ranking points to defend means that a rapid ascendancy could be in store for when she does come back and compete.

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Don’t miss… Emma Raducanu makes very optimistic comeback claim after injury hiatus

A player’s ranking is determined by their performance in a selection of their best tournaments over a rolling 52-week period. Given the volume of tournaments Raducanu has missed, on many occasions she will have no ranking points to defend whatsoever.

That means that the Brit can only gain ranking points with no risk of losing them, and even sporadic wins while she returns to full sharpness should see her steadily climb up the charts. It has long been expected that Raducanu will make her return at the Australian Open in January.

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And the 20-year-old insists that a period away from the limelight has given her a solid mental grounding which should serve her well. “The [recovery] process is so slow and repetitive,” she told Amazon Prime. “Sometimes it’s really hard to not get bored of it and just keep in mind the long-term end goal.

“It was difficult to train after the surgeries, so it was very sedentary in the beginning. Throughout 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 since the US Open. It’s the best feeling because after just being in the gym or the rehab room, it’s really nice to go back on court and that’s when you really realise how much you missed it.

“It makes the off-court exercises a bit easier to do because you see the reward. I know it’s going to be difficult when you haven’t competed for a long time, almost a year. It’ll take me some tournaments to get back up to speed, but once I do, I think I’m in a better headspace to compete now.”

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