November 25, 2023

Open Court


INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – First 2021 US Open champion Emma Raducanu skipped her scheduled practice Tuesday with Anhelina Kalinina of Kazakhstan.

After that, she pulled out of the mixed-doubles exhibition scheduled for Tuesday night.

Understandably, that set people a-wonderin’ if she would make her date on Thursday, for the first round of the BNP Paribas Open.

Raducanu is scheduled to play Danka Kovinic on the big stadium court at about 1 p.m. local time, just before her countryman Andy Murray plays his first-round match in a British doubleheader that will begin about 9 p.m. over there.

Will she make it?

Stay tuned on Thursday

Well … Raducanu did make her scheduled practice Wednesday, with her coach.

But after the tonsillitis that forced her out of the WTA tournament in Austin, Texas last week, it appears the 20-year-old has a few other issues she’s dealing with.

Namely the left wrist. And also the right wrist.

Here’s what she looked like on the practice court.

Full out, but shaking it out

It appeared that Raducanu, more often than not, was hitting out on both her forehand and backhand.

But she was also shaking off her wrist after some hits. There were a few winces. And she was also letting the left hand go early, on some of the backhand hits.

The taping looks rather unusual. On the right wrist, it starts beyond the wristband and comes up almost all the way to the knuckles.

On the leftwrist it begins a little lower and ends a little higher on the hand.

Some fairly interesting bandaging going on on Emma Raducanu’s wrists and halds during her practice at Indian Wells Wednesday.

Just another tough piece of luck

It defies belief how many issues have come between Raducanu and her quest to build on that improbable US Open, get better, get more experience and have her tennis career catch up to that result.

It can’t be that she’s not putting in the work. She certainly doesn’t look … delicate, in the sense that she physically can’t take the load.

But something is clearly going to have to change.

Her ranking has been hovering in the 70s and 80s since the points dropped off from that US Open title.

She has played just … five matches since last September. And she has a third-round result to defend from last year’s Indian Wells.

(Crazy as it seems, dropping those points won’t be catastrophic for her ranking, which would drop out of the top 80 from its current No. 77 if she loses her first-round match or doesn’t make the date at all. But not that far out of the top 80).

Raducanu was ranked No. 13 a year ago, seeded No. 11 at the tournament with a first-round bye. She lost in three sets to Petra Martic in the third round, after beating Caroline Garcia (then ranked No. 66) in her opener.

To begin the 2023 season, Raducanu withdrew before her second-round match in Auckland. And then, she lost in the second round at the Australian Open to Coco Gauff.

She hasn’t played since.

Hopefully she can make the date Thursday.

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