Emma Raducanu has returned to the practice court for the first time since she underwent surgery three months ago.
Former US Open champion Raducanu, 20, has missed a large chunk of this season through injury. At the beginning of May, she had surgery on both wrists and her ankle in an attempt to cure her chronic physical ailments and is not expected to return to the tour until at least the autumn.
However, there was good news on Wednesday, as Raducanu shared that she was back hitting tennis balls – albeit soft ones – on the court.
“August 2nd, the fun part. First time back on court,” she wrote on social media, alongside a video of her hitting the ball across the net to fellow British player Kyle Edmund – who has had his own devastating knee injury in recent years – at the National Tennis Centre.
Raducanu missed both the French Open and Wimbledon due to her recovery, and has only played 10 matches this season, winning half of them. She also split from her coach Sebastian Sachs in June, after less than six months of working together.
Due to the time she has spent sidelined, she has dropped to 133rd in the world rankings – far from the heady heights of the top 10, where she peaked a year ago. She has a long road ahead to get back there, and is not expected to be fit for the US Open, which begins on August 28.
Meanwhile, Andy Murray recorded his first win at the Washington Open since he tearfully pulled out of the tournament five years ago.
On Wednesday Murray, 36, came back from a 5-2 deficit in the first set to defeat American Brandon Nakashima – a player 14 years his junior – 7-6(5), 6-4. The win was his first since he exited the Wimbledon second round last month, losing a nail-biting five-set battle to Stefanos Tsitsipas.
It is a world away from 2018 when he cried openly on court and was forced to withdraw from the quarterfinal due in part to his devastating hip injury.
“Yeah, 2018 was a pretty tough tournament for me,” world No 44 Murray said. “Mentally and physically. I was in a terrible place. To be back here five years after that when, you know, I didn’t really want to play anymore… I was getting really not much enjoyment after that. I won some amazing matches that week but I felt awful.
“I wasn’t able to enjoy the wins, because I couldn’t sleep in the evenings after matches because of my hip and everything. It’s nice to be back not having any of those issues and being pain-free and still competing at a high level.”
The three-time major champion received a bye in the first round, so this win sees him progress to a third-round meeting with top seed Taylor Fritz.