Raducanu plots Australian Open comeback as star appears on list with a catch

Emma Raducanu has confirmed her comeback plans by signing up to the Australian Open entry list using her protected ranking. The Brit has been out of action since April after opting to undergo three surgeries. But there is a catch to her return. With her protected ranking sitting at No 103 in the world, she will still need to play in the qualifying event or hope that a few players withdraw in order to make the main draw.

Raducanu’s long-awaited comeback finally appears to be on the horizon following some setbacks. The 21-year-old has signed up to the Australian Open using her protected ranking, which is 193 spots higher than her current standing of No 296 in the world.

Monday marked the cut-off date for the entry list for the first Grand Slam tournament of the year and Raducanu’s commitment came as a promising sign, given that she is yet to formally announce a comeback date. The former world No 10 had operations on both of her wrists and one ankle back in May and has not competed since the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in April.

She was set to compete in an exhibition match at the Macau Tennis Masters over the weekend but pulled out, sparking some concern. However, she later clarified that the decision was a precautionary one, allowing the tournament enough time to find a replacement. With her comeback now set for the beginning of 2024, Raducanu still faces an anxious wait to learn whether she can make the main draw in Melbourne.

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