Sports

Emma Raducanu’s camp urged youngster to pull out amid excruciating hand blisters after loss to Danka Kovinic


Reigning US Open Champion Emma Raducanu says members of her team did not want her to take the court for her second-round clash due to the blisters on her right hand.

The British teen’s maiden Australian Open campaign was brought to an end when she succumbed to Montenegrin world No.98 Danka Kovinic, 6-4 4-6 4-2.

The upset began brewing from the first game of the match as Raducanu battled blisters on her right hand. After the loss, Raducanu revealed that she had brought the blisters into the match.

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“I was struggling with my hand before the match,” she said.

“There were some people in my team that maybe didn’t want me to play, but I wanted to go out there and fight through it, to see how far I could go.

“I thought it was a pretty good learning experience for me. I discovered tools about myself and my game that I didn’t know I had before.”

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Wincing in pain after striking the ball, the 17th seed struggled to maintain her service games as her serve dropped off in pace.

After calling a medical timeout where she received taping from the physio, Raducanu repeatedly sort extra bandages at each break in play.

Raducanu revealed after the match that the blisters had become an issue since her arrival in Australia.

“I’ve been struggling with blisters since I started playing in Australia because 21 days with no tennis, my hands got pretty soft,” she said.

“From day one, day two, I was getting blisters pop up here and there. This particular one has been with me for about five days, and I have been trying to take it for every practice and it would harden and dry out, but then once I would play again, another layer would rip off.

“It ended up being pretty deep. It’s a bit annoying because I know it’s something that will heal in a few days, but it’s just unfortunate timing.”

Despite pleas from her team to pull out of the tournament, the 19-year-old was determined to play after enduring quarantine.

“I fought so hard just to come to Australia and I didn’t want to go out like that,” she said.

“So I just left it all out on the court, after everything I went through.”

Raducanu explained how the blisters caused her to struggle gripping the racquet.

“Every time I hit and make contact with the ball, it would create an impact,” she said.

“Say I hit one slightly off-centre and the racquet moves a bit in my hand, it’s like even more friction and it just rips again. So it’s very painful, like every single shot you hit.”

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