Emma Raducanu will be playing her first tournament as a major champion this week as she competes at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells.
Raducanu, 18, has taken a month away from tennis following her shock US Open victory and will be seeded 17th on her return in California.
It will be Raducanu’s first WTA 1000 event and she will face world no 71 Maria Camila Osorio or world no 1000 Aliaksandra Sasnovich in her first match on Friday or Saturday.
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The tournament marks the start of a busy month for Raducanu as she dives back into tennis and potentially looks to secure a place at the season-ending WTA Finals in Mexico.
From Indian Wells she will head back to Europe to compete in the Kremlin Cup in Moscow and then the Transylvania Open in Romania, the birthplace of her father. The Kremlin Cup is the last WTA 500 tournament of the season – with 470 points on offer for the winner – and the Transylvania Open is a WTA 250 tournament with 280 points going to the champion.
She is also entered into the WTA 250 Upper Austria Ladies in Linz, Austria, although that is in the same week as the WTA Finals in Guadalajara.
After the 2021 season comes to an end thoughts will quickly turn to 2022, especially with strict Covid-19 regulations set to be in place for the start of the season in Australia. It has been reported that players could need to be vaccinated to play at the Australian Open while some may have to travel over Christmas due to quarantine demands.
- Raducanu faces potential clash with Halep in third round
- Can Raducanu get into the top 10 at Indian Wells?
Raducanu has never competed at the Australian Open before and says she intends to play the major, which starts on January 17.
“Whatever needs to be done to be able to play the Australian Open, I’ll do,” she said. “To me it’s not even a thought or like a battle in my mind. I just want to be at the Australian Open, and I want to compete there, so, whatever it takes to do, I’ll go.”
Raducanu's 2021 schedule
- October 6-17: Indian Wells, California, USA
- October 18-24: Kremlin Cup, Moscow, Russia
- October 25-31: Transylvania Open, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
- November 8-14: WTA Finals, Guadalajara, Mexico or Upper Austria Ladies, Linz, Austria
Will Raducanu qualify for the WTA Finals?
The top eight players in the world compete at the WTA Finals, with the rankings based on yearly performance rather than the overall singles rankings, which are done on a 52-week window that has currently been extended due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Raducanu is No 22 in the world but in the Race to the WTA Finals rankings she is No 15, on 2282 points. Naomi Osaka is in eighth place on 2771 points, with world no 1 Ashleigh Barty leading the way on 6411 points. However, both Barty and Osaka are not playing Indian Wells and could also miss the finals, which may open up opportunities for two more players to compete in Mexico.
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As it stands, if Raducanu was to win Indian Wells she would move to 3282 points, which would be good enough for fifth place in the current Race to the WTA Finals rankings. If Barty and Osaka do not play the finals, then 10th place would qualify.
That place is currently occupied by Elise Mertens on 2,438 points, so Raducanu would need just 200 points to overtake her.
With her busy schedule there will be plenty of points on offer, with 1000 available for the winner at Indian Wells, 650 for the runner-up, 390 for the semi-finalists and 215 for quarter-finalists. Even if Raducanu loses her opening match she will still add 35 points to her total.
Who will Raducanu’s next coach be?
Raducanu decided to split with coach Andrew Richardson after the US Open, saying that she wanted someone with more “WTA experience”. She has not yet appointed a replacement and will have former British No 1 Jeremy Bates in her corner at Indian Wells. Simona Halep’s former coach Darren Cahill has been mentioned as a possible option as have Serena Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou and Johanna Konta’s ex-coach Esteban Carril.
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