Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu has not had ideal preparation for the upcoming Australian Open as she chose to withdraw from her scheduled exhibition matches. Loren Elliot/Reuters

British tennis star Emma Raducanu has hit another snag in her preparations for the 2024 Australian Open, which begins this coming Sunday in Melbourne.

The 2021 US Open Women's Singles Champion has had to pull out of her scheduled exhibition match at the Kooyong Classic against Mirra Andreeva due to soreness. Raducanu was meant to play the Russian on Thursday in what would have been a final opportunity to get her primed and ready for the year's inaugural Grand Slam.

This is one of two exhibition games that were scheduled this week for the 21-year-old as she was previously lined up to play Japanese star Naomi Osaka on Tuesday at a charity contest in Melbourne.

However, Osaka withdrew due to soreness and was replaced by Donna Vekic, before Raducanu withdrew from the match herself for the same reason after enduring a tough two-hour training session on Monday.

The withdrawals from Raducanu and Osaka were understandable as both are coming off of long layoffs, with the latter having sat out of the 2023 season as she was pregnant. Raducanu was not on the court for the majority of 2023 as she had to undergo surgery for wrist and ankle issues.

Raducanu made her return to the court at the start of this year in Auckland at the ASB Classic, where she exited in the second round after a three-set defeat to Ukraine's Elina Svitolina. The Brit was able to partially showcase her abilities in the two games she featured in, especially during the first set in her loss against Svitolina.

Despite it being common for players to withdraw from exhibition matches, it will be a concern for Raducanu that she will have only played two competitive matches since returning from her injuries and in the lead-up to the Australian Open.

Being short of game time means Raducanu's durability levels are not where they need to be, and it may affect her once the Australian Open starts as Grand Slam tournaments often bring out intense and fast-paced matches.

Raducanu will find out her first-round opponent for the Australian Open when the draw for the tournament is announced on Thursday. Last year's competition was the last time Raducanu was in action at a Grand Slam and was the stage for a second-round exit, so she will be hoping to improve upon that this year.

A major question mark surrounding Raducanu's future has revolved around who her coach will be moving forward. The 21-year-old split from her previous coach, Sebastien Sachs, last summer whilst she was recuperating, making it five coaching changes in just two years for the player.

Earlier this week it was confirmed that Nick Cavaday would be Raducanu's new permanent coach, with the Australian Open set to be the start of the alliance between the two. Cavaday previously guided Raducanu when she was a junior player and worked with her when she returned to training at the National Tennis Centre in London at the back end of last year.

Raducanu will be hoping that Cavaday can bring some stability to her career, especially as she has just returned from a lengthy period away from the court. Cavaday being familiar with Raducanu's game from when she was a junior player may be the key to getting the best out of her consistently as he recognises her strengths and weaknesses.

Crucially, Raducanu will hope Cavaday's coaching leads to her putting on better performances at the major competitions, as the Brit is yet to progress past the second round in all of the Grand Slams she has competed in since her triumph at the US Open in 2021.

Other Brits confirmed alongside Raducanu to enter the main draw and compete at the 2024 Australian Open are Sir Andy Murray, Cameron Norrie, Dan Evans, Jack Draper, Katie Boulter and Jodie Burrage. Preparations have been good for Norrie and Draper, with the two advancing into the quarter-finals of the ASB Classic and Adelaide International, respectively.