British sensation Emma Raducanu has been granted a wildcard into Indian Wells after falling to World No.80. Raducanu ha struggled with her form after becoming the first qualifier to ever win the US Open in 2021.
Raducanu suffered a number of injuries last year and she found herself slipping down the rankings, which has resulted in the 20-year-old needing wildcards to enter tournaments. Raducanu started the season in decent form, but was eliminated after a clash with fellow youngster Coco Gauff at the Australian Open.
'A DISGRACE': Novak Djokovic caught up in fresh tennis furore
But, in a big step for the grand slam winner, Raducanu was handed a wildcard entry to the 'fifth grand slam'. This could see her earn some ranking points having been eliminated last year in the third round at the WTA 1000 event.
And fans have reacted to the exciting news with many hoping Raducanu can start to fulfil her potential and get over her woes in 2023.
That’s great! So glad she’s in the main draw 😊
— Marie ミ☆ (@Deanoru4Life) February 9, 2023
Fantastic news . 👏
— sportie (@sportyreg) February 9, 2023
Emma Raducanu takes wild card to play in Indian Wells in March 💪 pic.twitter.com/Bv7U9sBEgr
— FirstSportz Tennis (@FS_Tennis1) February 9, 2023
Raducanu gets a wild card because she ticks at least 3 important boxes: She is a young, emerging talent. She is a Grand Slam Champion: She is a massive draw.
That makes her a Tournament Directors dream.
BTW, 7 of the WTA Top 10 are not Grand Slam Winners.
— Iratus Susurro (@Iratus_Susurro) February 9, 2023
She also announced her participation in the ATX tournament in Austin later this month. She will join Americans Danielle Collins and Sloane Stephens at the WTA 250 event.
Raducanu will join World No.1 Iga Swiatek and Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka at Indian Wells. Swiatek will be looking to become the first female player to win the tournament back-to-back since Martina Navratilova in 1990-91.
Unfortunately, World No.3 Ons Jabeur was left devastated after the Tunisian announced she is taking time off from tennis to undergo "minor surgery". Jabeur rose to World No.2 last year after reaching the finals of Wimbledon and the US Open.
However, the 28-year-old was unable to build on that strong finish to 2022 at the start of this year, after being bundled out of the Australian Open in tough scenes. Jabeur later admitted she had suffered a knee injury.
But, in brutal news, Jabeur has announced she would miss the Qatar Open and the Dubai Tennis Championships.
Novak Djokovic unlikely to play Indian Wells
Meanwhile, on the ATP Tour, World No.1 Novak Djokovic appears set to miss Indian Wells for a second straight year. Djokovic didn't play Indian Wells or the Miami Open last year due to the strict US restrictions around unvaccinated visitors entering the country. The US is set to relax the rules around unvaccinated visitors entering the country on May 11.
However, this is set to take place after Indian Wells' main draw on March 9. And tournament director, and former player, Tommy Haas has blasted the scenario surrounding Djokovic.
The 22-time grand slam champion is a five-time Indian Wells champion, level with Roger Federer, and is a huge draw card for the tournament that is often referred to as the 'fifth grand slam'. And Haas feels the ongoing restrictions that are blocking Djokovic from playing are a 'disgrace'.
"It would be nice to see if we could maybe lift those [restrictions] a little earlier and have him [Djokovic] come to play Indian Wells and Miami," Haas said. "I think he wants to play, so we should give him the chance.
"Hopefully we can have him there. I mean, it would be a disgrace in my eyes if he wasn’t coming to these events, or not allowed to come.”
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