Emma Raducanu provides fitness update after being forced to use mobility scooter | Tennis | Sport

Emma Raducanu believes her fitness problems are finally behind her – 12 months after being forced to use a mobility scooter to move around. The 21-year-old begins her preparations for Wimbledon on Tuesday on the Nottingham grass at the Rothesay Open relieved that the dark days of 12 months ago are behind her.

After being incapacitated by surgery on an ankle and both wrists, she is relishing the freedom of being free of injury at last.

“Body-wise I feel really healthy now. I feel really strong. I’ve done amazing work with my trainer over the last few months since surgery. I’m in a really fit place. I’m healthy and just looking forward to starting playing,” she said.

“I think it’s very easy for me to lose sight of where I was exactly a year ago. You get so caught up in your own world that you want more and more and more but I was on a scooter scooting around and there was an element of doubt. To be healthy and to be here, I need to cherish it.

“It was pretty surreal. I couldn’t be on crutches because I’d had two wrist surgeries, so I had a cast on one hand, a splint on the other and my ankle was also pretty much immobilised.”

With her terrible injury record since winning the US Open three years ago, Raducanu is being strategic over how many tournaments she plays. She withdrew from the French Open qualifiers last month.

“I don’t need to rush and try to win the French Open; it wasn’t my goal this year,” she said. “I had to prioritise where I wanted to target and it was just a good block for me to get some good physical work done.

“I think for me it’s definitely a factor where I have to miss certain events because of either the conditions or the balls. They just don’t favour my situation.

“I think my wrists are actually in a better position than they ever were so there’s zero doubt or apprehension whether I’m hitting the ball or designing my schedule. It’s more about being proactive and not wanting to put myself in any unnecessary situations.”

Raducanu, who faces Japanese qualifier Ena Shibahara in the first round in Nottingham, has a different voice in her ear this week – but for once not because she has burned through another coach.

Jane O’Donoghue, the former LTA national coach for women, is standing in for current coach Nick Cavaday who is unwell.

“Nick’s a great coach and we’re still very much together, it’s just unfortunate he couldn’t make it,” she said.

“I’m friends with Jane, she’s been around my tennis since I was ten, she’s one of the people who knows me in and out and can read me like a book. It’s always nice to have her around.”

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