Emma Raducanu’s participation at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells is in doubt after she revealed the wrist problem she was troubled by last season has returned.
The British number one is scheduled to play Danka Kovinic on Thursday evening in her first match since losing to Coco Gauff in the second round of the Australian Open.
But concerns were raised when Raducanu pulled out of an exhibition event earlier this week and she gave a worrying update ahead of the match, with wrist injuries notoriously difficult to overcome.
The 20-year-old missed the end of last season with the problem and was off court for two months.
“The same issue that I had last year has started to flare back up,” Raducanu told BBC Sport.
“I’ve definitely been managing my load. It’s something that has just come back, so I’m trying to be as cautious as possible. I’m going to do everything I can to be there. I think we always play through pain and it’s just a matter of how much can you take.”
Raducanu had hoped a strong block of physical work in pre-season would help her avoid the repeated problems that prevented her gaining any momentum last year.
But already in 2023 she has been forced to retire from her first tournament in Auckland after twisting her ankle before pulling out of last week’s event in Texas because of a bout of tonsillitis.
“It affected me bad for the short term so I haven’t prepared much,” she said of the illness. “I’ve probably never felt so sick in my life.
“When it rains, it pours. This and the infection, it’s obviously a challenge. My preparation hasn’t been ideal. I played on the weekend and then I rested it – it’s how you manage things when you aren’t prepared.”
Raducanu practised in Indian Wells on Wednesday with strapping on both wrists.
Andy Murray and Jack Draper, who also has not played since the Australian Open, are due to play their first-round matches on Thursday evening.