Emma Raducanu’s Australian Open preparations under threat after positive COVID-19 test

Raducanu

Emma Raducanu has tested positive for Covid-19, casting doubts over her participation in next year’s Australian Open.

The 19-year-old is in Abu Dhabi ahead of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, but will no longer compete.

This year’s US Open champion was scheduled to play an exhibition event against Olympic gold medallist Belinda Bencic in her final match of 2021 but will now self-isolate in line with the UAE’s coronavirus regulations.

The official Twitter account for the World Tennis Championship confirmed the news and published a statement from organisers.

“Emma is now isolating and following all necessary protocols. We wish her a quick recovery and hope to see her back on the court soon.

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“We are looking at alternative top female competitors to go head-to-head with Belinda Bencic; further updates will be provided in due course.”

The British number one confirmed the news and stressed that she hoped to be able to get back to playing soon.

“I was very much looking forward to playing in front of the fans here in Abu Dhabi,” she said. “But unfortunately after testing positive for COVID-19, I will have to postpone until the next opportunity. I’m isolating as per rules and hopefully will be able to get back soon.”

Raducanu’s forced isolation may well impact the likelihood of her competing in next year’s opening Grand Slam in Melbourne, which is due to start on January 17th.

The teenager is scheduled to take part in the Melbourne Summer Set warm-up event which begins on January 3rd, 2022.

And while she is still scheduled to fly out to Australia following the completion of her quarantine, it is unclear how long it will take the Brit to fully recover from the virus.

Given she will likely be unable to return from the UAE if she is to travel to Australia, Raducanu is set to miss Christmas and New Year with her family. Yet, the major champion has previously stressed that she is ok with the sacrifices professional tennis players have to make on tour.

Raducanu

“I knew that playing tennis you’ll spend birthdays, you’ll spend Christmas and New Year not at home and I feel like for me it doesn’t matter,” she said.

Raducanu will also be absent from the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year ceremony this Sunday.

The Brit is one of six nominees for the award, alongside diver Tom Daley, boxing star Tyson Fury, footballer Raheem Sterling, Paralympian Sarah Storey and swimmer Adam Peaty.

Raducanu has been widely tipped to win this year’s Sports Personality after her historic triumph at Flushing Meadows in September.

Fellow British tennis star Andy Murray has scooped the award three times in 2013, 2015 and 2016.

But if Raducanu is to win, she’ll be forced to accept the trophy from inside a hotel in the UAE.

Voting for the winner will open during the show, which will air on the BBC on Sunday, December 19th.

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