After a lengthy spell out through injury, which saw her miss much of the 2023 season, Emma Raducanu is getting ever closer to a return to action.
Having undergone surgery to both her hands and her left ankle, the British star has been sidelined since April and has since fallen own to 296 in the world rankings.
Raducanu is now looking to get back to competitive action in January, as she begins her preparations for the first Grand Slam of 2024.
Raducanu has just one WTA Tour title to her name and, unusually, that came in a Grand Slam event, after winning the US Open in 2021.
The 21-year-old has only made one other final, being beaten in the WTA 125 Chicago event in August 2021 by Denmark’s Clara Tauson (1-6, 6-2, 4-6).
Raducanu has won three tournaments on the ITF Circuit, which includes a victory in the ITF Pune event in India, in December 2019.
The Toronto-born star is known for her baseline play and strong ground strokes, which played a key part in her success at Flushing Meadows.
Her double-handed backhand is commonly referred to as her best weapon, although her forehand can also be dangerous when firing, but is perhaps a little more inconsistent.
At her best, Raducanu has a strong service game. Her first serve has been measured at 110mph, while her second serve averages 93mph.
Raducanu has yet to win the Wimbledon singles title and, to date, has only played twice in the main draw at SW19.
Her debut on the famous grass courts came back in 2021, when she announced her potential by reaching the fourth round of the women’s singles.
The following year, 10th seed Raducanu made it to round two before losing in straight sets to French star Caroline Garcia.
The Briton has been sidelined since April and played just nine matches in 2023, being forced to undergo surgery in May to try and resolve problems with both her hands and ankle.
A bone close to her wrists was the cause of her hand issues, while she originally suffered an ankle problem in January’s Auckland Open.
The 21-year-old was hoping to play in an exhibition event in Macau at the start of December, but decided to withdraw in November as she felt she wouldn’t be fit enough to participate.
Raducanu is aiming to make it to the Australian Open, as she plans to return to competitive action a couple of weeks before the Grand Slam event gets underway.
The former US Open winner has been awarded a wildcard to play in the ASB Classic in Auckland – which takes place between January 1st to 7th.
If she comes through the New Zealand tournament unscathed, Raducanu could decide to play another warm-up event – in Hobart or Adelaide – the week before the Australian Open.
Raducanu – 50/1 to win the year’s first Grand Slam title - has played in Melbourne on two previous occasions, reaching the second round in both 2022 and 2023.
After her long absence from the court, Raducanu has dropped to 296 in the world rankings and she may need to go through qualifying in order to play in the Australian Open proper.
After being out injured for more than six months, Raducanu is able to protect her ranking of 103 – which was her position following her last tournament – the Madrid Open.
But that will not be high enough for her to gain automatic entry into the main draw, so she may have to get through the qualifying rounds - as she did successfully when winning the US Open in 2021.
The only ways for her to avoid qualifying is if Tennis Australia hand her a wildcard or if there are a number of withdrawals.