Emma Raducanu battles ankle injury during 90-minute Australian Open practice

Emma Raducanu Australian open - PA
Emma Raducanu Australian open - PA  

Emma Raducanu defied a painful ankle to spend 90 minutes on court on Wednesday, as she looked to build up her movement and fitness ahead of next week's Australian Open.

It is now just under a week since Raducanu twisted her left ankle while facing Viktoria Kuzmova in Auckland - the latest injury to blight what has been a stop-start career since her US Open miracle of 2021.

She remains clearly inhibited, wearing white tape on the affected joint and declining to cover the wide parts of the court as she practised her groundstrokes with her new coach Sebastian Sachs.

But the whole Raducanu team - which also included physio Will Herbert and agent Chris Helliar - are clearly determined to give her the best possible chance of competing at what will be only her seventh grand-slam event.

Raducanu has five more days to recover - or six if she plays on Tuesday. The draw will be important for her, both in terms of timing and choice of opponent. She could potentially sneak through round one if the dice fall kindly, but it is hard to see her taking out any seeded players when she will be so physically undercooked.

Sachs was careful to hit the ball back to Raducanu on Wednesday, although they did spend a while working on her backhand from a low, squatting position - which must put significant strain through that left ankle.

She also spent quite a while practising her serve - which had been one of the positive aspects of the four sets she played in Auckland before sustaining the injury - and her return. Her mood on court could hardly be described as upbeat but she was certainly focused on the end goal of participating in the Australian Open.

In other British news, Jack Draper scored a fine win over Tommy Paul - a man ranked five places above him at No 35 in the world - to move into the third round of the ATP 250 event in Adelaide. He thus earns a shot at revenge against Russia's Karen Khachanov, the same opponent who beat him on the same courts last week.


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