There is another twist in Emma Raducanu's comeback plans and it is bad news for those patiently waiting for her much-anticipated return to tennis.
Raducanu, who hasn't played a competitive match since mid-April, was gearing up for her first match of preseason at the Macau exhibition in her mother's homeland in China at the start of December.
But she has now suffered a fresh setback in her preparations and made the decision to withdraw from the event on the day she was celebrating her 21st birthday. This new development is likely to affect Raducanu's return in 2024.
As reported by the Daily Mail UK, the British tennis star was requested by the tournament organizers to commit to the schedule, but there were no guarantees she would play at the tournament which is set to begin on December 2.
The early confirmation of her absence was meant to give the tournament adequate time to find a suitable replacement in the field. It is not great news for Raducnau's business partner too, IMG, who will co-host the tournament with MGM.
Raducanu underwent an operation on both wrists and ankles to cure persistent injuries in May. She has spent five months in rehab and has been working diligently with some light training on the tennis courts in the past few weeks.
The former US Open champion shared exclusive details of her preparations to return to action and shared videos of training at the National Tennis Centre in the UK. She also made a trip to China where she visited her mother's birth city of Shengyang and played behind closed doors at a tennis club.
The Macau Exhibition is a two-day indoor hardcourt event pooling some of the world's best players from the ATP and WTA tours. Raducanu joins Belinda Bencic in the absentees' list with the Swiss star announcing her pregnancy.
The tournament officials have shuffled the pack and made some changes to the initial entry list. On the men's side, Taylor Fritz will be joined by China's No. 1 Zhizhen Zhang, Croatia's Borna Coric, and high-flying Tallon Griekspoor. The two WTA players in the field are Daria Kasatkina and Xinyu Wang.