New York: Emma Raducanu played down injury concerns on the eve of the US Open after the defending champion suffered discomfort during practice on Friday.
Raducanu enjoyed a meteoric rise at Flushing Meadows last year, becoming the first qualifier to win a grand slam as she claimed an unexpected victory in New York, reports DPA. The British number one overcame Leylah Fernandez in last year's final, clinching a breakthrough success after reeling off 10 consecutive wins without dropping a single set.
But her hopes of defending the title appeared under threat when she twice stopped her session with Ekaterina Alexandrova on Friday, being consoled by coach Dmitry Tursunov after appearing upset by pain in her right hand.Raducanu headed off court for treatment before returning to complete the session, and insists she is not worried by the episode.
"I had a few small things, got a couple of blisters, a bit of a niggle here and there," she explained. "It's just one of those weird days where you just feel a bit out of it.
"I can't really explain myself, to be honest. I'm sure everyone in this room has probably had a day like that. I have no concerns of an issue, no."
Raducanu has endured an inconsistent year to date, suffering several niggling injuries and posting 13 wins and 15 defeats in 2022.
While the 19-year-old is not looking to inflate expectations ahead of the US Open, she expressed her delight at returning to the scene of her greatest triumph.
"It's really nice to be back in New York," Raducanu added.
"It's great for me to come here having done a year on the tour, having played most of the tournaments.
"I'm really happy with what I've done this year and how I've come out of certain situations. I've obviously got amazing memories in New York.
"I think defending a title is just something that the press makes up. I'm just taking it one match at a time.
"Every single player is very capable in this draw. I just focus on what I'm doing, my own trajectory. As I said last year, I'm just going to do things my way."
Raducanu, who claimed notable victories over Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka in Cincinnati last week, will face Alize Cornet in the first round at Flushing Meadows.