Emma Raducanu targets Australian Open return but faces battle to qualify

British tennis player nearing comeback from multiple operations

Emma Raducanu has set her sights on competing at next month’s Australian Open after officially entering the first Grand Slam of the year.

The former US Open champion, however, faces a battle to make the main draw following her lengthy lay-off from wrist and ankle operations.

Raducanu’s protected ranking would officially be at 103 for Melbourne, leaving her outside the players earning automatic entry. She would either need to come through qualifying, earn a wildcard or see six players drop out ahead of her in the rankings.

The Briton missed out on the first round of seven wildcards handed out on Wednesday by Australian Open officials with one going to Caroline Wozniacki, having returned to the tour having become a mother, and six Australian players. That leaves just one remaining wildcard.

Raducanu underwent her operations in May, which ruled her out for the rest of the season.

In her rehabilitation attempts, she has been working for the most part at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton in her bid to ensure full fitness for the start of the 2024 season.

She has fallen to 296th in the world but, under WTA Tour rules, is able to use a protected ranking of 103 for Australia.

The 21-year-old had been lined up to make her return at an exhibition event in Macau last weekend but pulled out saying it was too early for her comeback from injury.