Emma Raducanu has revealed that she made a last-minute decision to take to the court in Indian Wells for her opening match on Thursday. The British No 1 had been in doubt to compete after cancelling a practice session and withdrawing from an exhibition match earlier in the week and admitted that she was “asleep” two minutes before being called for her match, where she downed Danka Kovinic 6-2 6-3.
Raducanu played her first match since January on Thursday, earning a straight-set victory over world No 62 Kovinic. It came after concerns over whether the 20-year-old would even take to the court after being seen with strapping on both of her wrists in a practice session on Wednesday. That came after she cancelled her scheduled hit the day before and pulled out of the Eisenhower Cup mixed doubles event with less than eight hours’ notice.
As well as fears over the Brit’s potential wrist injury, Raducanu was also forced to pull out of last week’s ATX Open with tonsillitis and appears to still be recovering from the illness. And the world No 77 has now revealed that she made a last-minute decision to play on Thursday, having been asleep “minutes” before being called for the match as she continues to recover.
“I didn’t feel too good this morning,” the Brit told BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra following her match. In the end, Raducanu needed just 81 minutes to get past Kovinic – who had beaten her at the 2022 Australian Open.
“I’m just so happy with the way I fought and dealt with the circumstances,” she added, before admitting that she had been struggling prior to the match. “I just woke up feeling not great to be honest. I felt quite ill so I’m just happy to have played the match and then to win it despite how I felt today.”
Having cancelled her practice session on Tuesday, Raducanu said she also failed to hit before her first round on Thursday and made the decision to play “20 minutes” before. She continued: “Today before the match, I did not warm up. Two minutes before I was called I was sleeping in the treatment room so I’m just proud to have got out there and then won.”