Emma Raducanu given new Sydney Tennis Classic opponent after Iga Świątek withdraws

Emma Raducanu will no longer face Iga Świątek in the opening round of the Sydney Tennis Classic

Emma Raducanu will no longer face Iga Świątek in the opening round of the Sydney Tennis Classic.

Raducanu was scheduled to play the Polish star this week at the WTA 500 event, but Świątek has now withdrawn with a rib injury.

Świątek has enjoyed a busy start to 2022, but this has taken its toll.

“After intense pre-season and last week’s tournament in Adelaide I feel like my body needs more time to recover before Australian Open,” she posted on Twitter.

“I’ve been feeling some pain in my lower rib area which is why unfortunately I’ve decided to withdraw from the tournament in Sydney.”

“I really hope to play for you next year. See you in Melbourne!”

Świątek, world number nine and winner of the French Open in 2020, would have been a stern test for Raducanu.

The British teenager will instead play Elena Rybakina. The star from Kazakhstan will still be a tough opponent – she is currently 14th in the world, five places higher than Raducanu.

The match will take place on Tuesday, although an exact time has not yet been confirmed.

Unlike Świątek, Raducanu has endured a turbulent start to her preparations for this month’s Australian Open. 

She was forced to withdraw from the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi in December after testing positive for COVID-19.

The 19-year-old then missed the Melbourne Summer Set, revealing it was “too soon” to compete after her period of isolation.

Despite this, Raducanu had a sensational end to 2021, starting the year ranked 343rd but ending it inside the world’s top 20.

Emma Raducanu will be looking to get WTA Tour experience under her belt this season

Her meteoric rise was the result of an improbable victory at the US Open in September. Raducanu became the first ever qualifier, male or female, to win a Grand Slam.

It was also the first time a female British tennis player had won a major since Virginia Wade in 1977.

At world number 19, Raducanu could well break into the world top 10 this year.

Another Grand Slam title in 2022 is unlikely, but she will be aiming to get extensive experience on the WTA Tour under her belt.

This starts with the Sydney Tennis Classic, where Raducanu is the 15th seed in a field which includes world number one Ashleigh Barty, WTA Finals winner Garbiñe Muguruza and Olympic gold medallist Belinda Bencic.

Raducanu could also face another encounter against Leylah Fernandez, who she defeated in the final of the US Open.

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