'Too soon': Emma Raducanu in big blow ahead of Australian Open

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·Sports Editor
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  • Emma Raducanu
    Emma Raducanu
    British professional tennis player
Emma Raducanu, pictured here during a practice session on Rod Laver Arena at Melbourne Park.
Emma Raducanu smiles during a practice session on Rod Laver Arena at Melbourne Park. (Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images)

Emma Raducanu has announced her withdrawal from an Australian Open warm-up event in Melbourne as she continues to recover from Covid-19.

The US Open champion had been due to play in the Melbourne Summer Set this week as part of her preparations for her debut in the Melbourne Park grand slam.

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But after practicing at Melbourne Park on Saturday the 19-year-old opted out, saying the event was "too soon" after her bout of Covid.

Raducanu tested positive for Covid-19 before an Abu Dhabi exhibition last month and then spent time in isolation.

"The timing to compete in the first Melbourne event this week is too soon for me, having just returned from isolation," she said in a statement. 

"Look forward to seeing you to compete later this month."

Raducanu became the first British woman to win a grand slam since Virginia Wade in 1977 when she triumphed at Flushing Meadows in September, but has struggled to find the same form since.

She has been working with new coach Torben Beltz ahead of what will be her first full season on the WTA Tour.

Meanwhile, French Open finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova will also miss the Melbourne event after testing positive for Covid-19 last week, casting doubt on whether she will be fit for the Australian Open.

Ranked at a career-high No.11, the Russian made her first grand slam final in June, losing to Barbora Krejcikova at Roland Garros.

Emma Raducanu, pictured here celebrating after winning the US Open.
Emma Raducanu celebrates after winning the US Open. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Emma Raducanu receives an MBE

Raducanu will go into the Australian Open with yet another accolade to her name after being made an MBE in Britain's New Year Honours.

Having become the first qualifier to win a grand slam title at the US Open, the 19-year-old has now achieved another rare distinction by receiving her honour while still a teenager.

"It makes me immensely proud and grateful to be listed to receive an MBE from Her Majesty the Queen," said the World No.19.

"This year has been full of amazing surprises for me so to end 2021 with this appointment is very special."

Topping the sporting honours were cycling golden couple Laura and Jason Kenny, who were awarded a damehood and knighthood,

Jason Kenny became Britain's most successful Olympian as he won his seventh gold in Tokyo to move clear of former teammate Sir Chris Hoy, while Laura Kenny extended her own record as the nation's most successful female by collecting her fifth gold and a silver medal to boot.

Diving star Tom Daley's first gold medal at his fourth Games was one of the most popular, and he has been recognised with an OBE for services to his sport, LGBTQ+ rights and charity.

Matildas skipper Sam Kerr's Chelsea Women manager Emma Hayes received an OBE after helping the Blues retain their Women's Super League title in 2021 and reach the Champions League final.

with agencies

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