Britain’s Emma Raducanu has pulled out of an exhibition match in Macau at the start of December as she continues her rehabilitation from hand and foot operations.
The 2021 US Open champion – who turns 21 today – has not played since April, but is still hoping to return to the tour in January.
The exhibition in China has come too soon, however, especially as the organisers wanted time to seek out a potential replacement.
Raducanu has fallen to 289 in the world rankings, but will be able to use a protected ranking of 103 next year as she has not played for over six months.
That might be high enough for a place in the main draw of the Australian Open, but she is still likely to need a wildcard for the WTA Tour events in Brisbane and Auckland in the first week of the season.
Raducanu has been restricted to just nine matches in 2023 and in May had an operation on both of her hands and left ankle, which she injured in Auckland in the first event of the year.
The hand pain, caused by a bone very close to her wrists, had been troubling her since the end of the 2022 season.
Raducanu returned to the court to begin some very light work at the start of August, and posted a video of herself hitting some soft, oversized tennis balls to Kyle Edmund at the National Tennis Centre in London.
But progress in the first two months was slow and Raducanu took the opportunity to visit her grandmother in China. It was not until the start of October when a more structured return to tour competition began to take shape under the guidance of LTA staff at the National Tennis Centre.