The Telegraph Sport reports that the British No1, who is No 80 in the world rankings, is in danger of dropping out of the top 100.
Emma Raducanu has withdrawn from next week’s WTA event in Austin with tonsillitis, extending the extraordinary run of injury and ill health that she has suffered ever since landing her US Open title in September 2021.
The decision – which came shortly after the draw was made – means that Raducanu has still only played four matches this season.
She retired from her second outing, against Viktoria Kuzmova, in Auckland, with a damaged ankle.
Raducanu is now ranked No 80 and is gradually slipping back through sheer attrition, as she remains absent from events while her rivals play.
Her critics will no doubt point out that, since her last appearance at the Australian Open, her Instagram feed has displayed one photograph of on-court training alongside three promotional posts. (One for Tiffany & Co, one for Dior, and one for HSBC)
Raducanu travelled early to Texas in order to prepare for this WTA 250 event, but fell ill soon afterwards. She has remained in the USA, and intends to move on to Indian Wells next week for the tournament that is often informally described as the ”fifth major”.
Having spent some of the off-season working with the highly-rated trainer Jez Green, Raducanu arrived in Australasia in January looking fitter and stronger than she did last year.
But even when she does compete, she is often carrying some sort of niggle.
She came into last summer’s Wimbledon under the cloud of an abdominal strain, and battled with her ankle in the build-up to Melbourne last month.
”I’ve put a lot of physical work in the last few months and I’ve been feeling good and optimistic,” she said after her accident in Auckland seven weeks ago.
”So to be stopped by a freak injury, rolling an ankle is pretty disappointing.” Raducanu retired mid-match on four separate occasions last season and did so again in New Zealand. She has also pulled out of a number of tournaments without competing.
Covid disrupted her build-up to the 2022 Australian Open, while she then withdrew from October’s Transylvania Open because of the wrist trouble that hampered her training throughout much of the last off-season.
Her fragility means that she has played only 45 matches since her miraculous US Open wins 17 months ago.
Over the same period, Iga Swiatek has played exactly 100 – although this may be an unfair comparison, as Swiatek is the world No. 1 and is thus likely to go deep in most events.
Most players would be in the 70s or 80s.
Raducanu could use some results at the so-called ”sunshine double” of big American tournaments – Indian Wells and Miami – over the next five weeks.
Should her lack of victories continue, she is in danger of dropping out of the top 100 by the end of April.