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Rothesay Open Nottingham

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Emma Raducanu smiling at the Rothesay Open Nottingham

“It’s where everything started” – Emma Raducanu looks forward to Nottingham comeback


Back in June 2021, an 18-year-old Emma Raducanu played the first WTA match of her career after receiving a wild card into the main draw of the Nottingham Open.

This would be the start of an unprecedented six-month swing that would see the British star go on to reach the fourth round at Wimbledon before her historic US Open title.

Now, three years on and having missed last year’s grass court season due to having surgery on both wrists, Raducanu returns to the Lexus Nottingham Tennis Centre full of energy and in a ‘really fit place’ as she looks to challenge for the Rothesay Open Nottingham title.

“I’m looking forward to being back and playing in front of the home crowd,” said the former Grand Slam champion.

“Obviously I missed it last year and it’s a special time of year for all us Brits. It’s a great first week to start and get matches underway and hopefully carry on through the whole swing.

“I would say Nottingham has a special place in my career. I’m fond of it because it’s where everything started.

“I had my first WTA match and then I played the ITF $100k after and that’s when I got my first Wimbledon wild card and made the fourth round. If I didn’t get that wild card who knows what would have happened or if the US Open would have even happened. It’s a compilation of butterfly effect and small moments where you don’t know what’s going to happen.”

It's go time! | Behind the Scenes at the Rothesay Open | Ft. Raducanu, Jabeur, Norrie, Boulter | LTA

Raducanu has been feeling the love here in Nottingham over the weekend, getting to meet lots of fans and kids during the family event taking place at the tennis centre. Playing on home turf for the first time in two years, the young Brit is excited to play again in front of a British crowd.

“It was really nice to get out on the practice courts over the weekend and to have such big turnouts for those,” she said.

“It’s a very nice feeling because you go to these tournaments all over the world – and I’d say I’m fortunate to have fans wherever I go – but it is different when you come back and everyone is pulling for you.

“A lot of the time you don’t realise how many people are behind you so to come here and see everyone rooting for me is a nice feeling.”

Body wise, physical wise, I feel really strong. I’m in a really fit place.

The return to grass marks another milestone in the recovery from what proved to be a long spell away from the game recovering from injury.

The Brit underwent two wrist and ankle surgery that not only ended her 2023 season but meant she’s had to ease her way back into competing regularly on the WTA Tour this year.

In April, Raducanu starred in an emphatic Billie Jean King Cup victory for Great Britain against France – winning both her rubbers to seal a place in November’s Finals. Her performances signalled a landmark moment in her recovery and despite not playing at Roland Garros this year, the 21-year-old feels ready to get back to the top of her game.

“Body wise, physical wise, I feel really strong,” Raducanu explained. “I’ve done a lot of work with my trainer over the last few months since surgery and I’m in a really fit place.

“My wrists are actually in a better position than they ever were so there’s zero doubt or apprehension when I’m hitting the ball.


“Having three surgeries is really hard – for months I could hardly do anything, and I only started training and hitting balls in December because it didn’t go very smoothly.

“I couldn’t be on crutches because they were wrist surgeries, so I had a cast on one hand, splint on the other and then ankle was demobilised in a splint with stitches. I had to scooter around on one knee and for someone so active it’s very difficult to shut your body down.

“I did think about playing the week before and then at the French, but we looked at the calendar and the backend of the year is really heavy in Asia on the hard courts, so I didn’t feel I needed to rush and peak to try and win the French Open.

“I had to prioritise where I wanted to target, and it was a good block for me to get some physical work in and a bit of time on the grass – although it rained nearly every day.”

Raducanu will start in Nottingham against Japanese qualifier Ena Shibahara before a potential meeting with second seed Marta Kostyuk. The Briton has been hitting with two-time Wimbledon finalist Ons Jabeur this weekend, who was extremely complementary about how Raducanu had been playing.

“I got a few hits in (on grass), which is probably more than a lot of players and I got to practise with Ons (Jabeur) and Fran (Jones).

“I think Ons is a great person for me to be around, she’s so experienced and has achieved so much. She’s a really good and genuine person and I think everyone can see that from how she is on and off the court.”

You can watch the Rothesay Open Nottingham live on BBC iPlayer, digital services and on Tennis Channel.

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