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Raducanu opts out of Paris 2024, Murray to compete in Olympic swan song

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London, June 16 (IANS) Emma Raducanu has declined the opportunity to represent Great Britain in next month's Paris Olympics. The 2021 US Open champion, who is still recovering from surgery on her wrists and ankle, was offered one of the two International Tennis Federation (ITF) places reserved for former Grand Slam champions.

However, Raducanu has chosen to focus on her fitness and prepare for the upcoming British grass-court season.

Raducanu's current world ranking is too low to qualify outright for the Olympics, a consequence of her time away from the sport due to injury. The 21-year-old missed the French Open, which is played on the same Roland Garros clay courts that will host the Olympic tennis tournament, to ensure she is in peak condition for the British grass-court swing.

Iain Bates, head of Great Britain’s Olympic tennis team, shared insights into Raducanu's decision. "I have had various conversations with Emma over the last couple of weeks and a slightly longer period where it’s very clear how much being part of a British team at an Olympics would mean to her," Bates said.

"I think she feels this isn’t going to be the right timing for her for this summer. She’s hopefully got many Olympics ahead of her. I'm very comfortable with the decision that she’s made."

Meanwhile, two-time Olympic gold medallist Andy Murray is set to compete in what might be his final tournament. The 37-year-old tennis icon, who won gold in London 2012 and Rio 2016, has been granted an ITF place for Paris 2024.

Earlier this year, Murray hinted that he did not expect to "play much past this summer," adding a layer of poignancy to his participation in the upcoming Games.

Great Britain's tennis nominations, announced at Queen's Club on Sunday, include a mix of seasoned players and rising stars. Joining Murray in the men’s singles are Cameron Norrie, Jack Draper, and Dan Evans. Katie Boulter is the only British woman to have qualified by ranking.

In doubles action, Murray and Dan Evans are slated to pair up in the men’s doubles. Joe Salisbury and Neal Skupski will also compete in the men’s doubles, leveraging their high world rankings. For the women’s doubles, Boulter and Heather Watson will team up, alongside another pair, Harriet Dart and Maia Lumsden.

The Olympic tennis tournament, scheduled from July 27 to August 4 at Roland Garros, will feature five medal events: women’s singles, men’s singles, women’s doubles, men’s doubles, and mixed doubles. As the event draws closer, the ITF will finalize and announce the full entry list on July 4.

--IANS

hs/


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