US Open champion Emma Raducanu has not had the best of starts to 2022 as she withdrew from this week's Australian Open warm-up tournament in Melbourne as she has only recently come out of isolation following a positive Covid-19 result.
Raducanu shot to fame after becoming the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam when she triumphed at Flushing Meadows in September. However, the year ended in disappointment as she pulled out of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi last month after contracting the virus.
The 19-year-old was scheduled to play in the 'Melbourne Summer Set' from January 4-9 as part of her preparations for her debut in the Australian Open.
But Raducanu said the warm-up event had come too soon.
"The timing to compete in the first Melbourne event this week is too soon for me, having just returned from isolation," Raducanu told the tournament organisers.
The world No 19 is scheduled to compete at the Sydney Classic later this month before making her debut in the Australian Open, which runs from January 17-30.
It was not the start to the new year the teenager had hoped for, having enjoyed a remarkable 2021. She was honored by Queen Elizabeth in the annual New Year’s Honours list on Friday following the her breakthrough year.
Raducanu was made an MBE - Member of the Order of the British Empire - by the Queen. It caps a remarkable year for Raducanu, whose US Open win catapulted her to stardom in Britain. She was also named the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year for 2021 having become the first British woman to win a Grand Slam since Virginia Wade in 1977.
Meanwhile, world No 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas pulled out of his ATP Cup opener against Poland's Hubert Hurkacz in Sydney on Saturday due to a right elbow issue.
Tsitsipas was forced to retire from the second round of the Paris Masters and lost his opening match against Andrey Rublev at the ATP Finals in November before withdrawing from the season-ending tournament due to the injury.
But Tsitsipas played down concerns that the issue would derail his Australian Open campaign.
"The recovery from my elbow surgery in November is on track for Melbourne and today was a precautionary step to make sure I make [it to] Melbourne," Tsitsipas said.