Emma Raducanu practises at Melbourne before the 2022 Australian Open
Emma Raducanu will be seeded 17th in the Australian Open
Dates: 17-30 January Venue: Melbourne Park
Coverage: Daily radio commentaries on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, BBC Sport website and app, with selected live text commentaries online; TV highlights from middle Saturday.

Britain’s Emma Raducanu says her limited preparation for the Australian Open after testing positive for coronavirus has been “far from ideal”.

The 19-year-old US Open champion begins her first Grand Slam as a major winner against Sloane Stephens on Tuesday.

Raducanu could not practise for 20 days after contracting the virus last month.

“I’ve not been able to train so much but practice has been heading in the right direction. I’m excited to play,” she told BBC Sport.

Raducanu, who is seeded 17th, is making her senior debut at the Australian Open, having only previously played at Melbourne Park in the juniors.

Twelve months ago she was in the UK studying in her room for her A-Levels.

After taking her exams, Raducanu reached the Wimbledon last 16 in her first Grand Slam tournament and became Britain’s first women’s major champion in 44 years with her fairytale victory in New York.

That stunning success makes it is easy to forget that 2022 will be Raducanu’s first season on the WTA Tour.

A consequence of contracting Covid-19 was withdrawing from the Melbourne Summer Set, an Australian Open warm-up event which ran from 3-9 January.

She played in Sydney last week but was beaten heavily by Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina on her return to competitive action.

“Obviously the preparation hasn’t been ideal, but in the past week I have been enjoying playing here,” she said at Melbourne Park.

“I’ve not being able to train so much because if I train too much I will just get injured.

“I feel like there’s no pressure on me. I feel like I’m just happy to be here and have a swing.

“I had to jump a few hurdles to play here, so I just want to go out there and have fun and enjoy being on the court.”

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