Raducanu has played just three tournaments since she secured her historic maiden grand slam in New York back in September but has only won two of her five matches before taking what she described as her “first holiday in seven years” at the end of the season.
She will now use the exhibition tournament in west London as part of her pre-season training, which only started this week, before flying to the Middle East and then Australia for her first grand slam since becoming a champion and a global superstar.
First though there will be thousands ready to watch her in action in London, just a few miles from Wimbledon, where her run to the fourth round shot her to fame in the UK.
How to watch Raducanu vs Ruse
However, the match-up with Elena-Gabriela Ruse, due to get underway at midday on Sunday 28 November, is unlikely to be much more than a glorified hitting session, with Raducanu having returned to practice just a few days before the exhibition match.
It will though be the 19-year-old’s first competitive outing since signing up Torben Beltz as her new coach.
Beltz has previously worked with Angelique Kerber as well as Donna Vekic and Carina Witthoft and is hoping he fulfils the brief of providing high-level WTA Tour experience for Raducanu, who is close to a total novice with just five tour matches outside slams under her belt, such was the gradient of her rise from zero to hero.
Davis Cup vs Raducanu?
British tennis fans though will be forced to choose between watching Raducanu in action or the stars of the men’s game, who will be in Davis Cup action on Sunday against the Czech Republic.
Wins for Dan Evans and Cameron Norrie on Saturday against France ensured that beating the Czech team will secure Britain a place in Tuesday’s quarter-final.
Evans opened up the tie with a win over Adrian Mannarino before British No 1 Norrie beat old college rival Arthur Rinderknech 6-2 7-6, culminating in an enthralling 18-point tie-break.
“It was tense,” said Norrie. “It was difficult because he was serving well. When he got the chance, he was coming forward, so it was tough for me to get into the rally with him.
“It was another huge win, especially in the circumstances with the pressures of Davis Cup, playing France, potentially qualifying. There was a lot on the line. To beat a player of his calibre was massive for me. I managed to do enough today.”
A 3-0 victory would have put Britain in a very strong position but debutant Salisbury and Skupski were outplayed despite France having to break up Herbert and Mahut, who won the ATP Finals last weekend.
The Czech Republic are the weakest team in the group on paper but they gave France a fright on Thursday and have had two days to prepare for Sunday’s match.
Smith said: “We saw all of the matches were difficult against France. We shouldn’t expect anything different. I think it will be a very difficult tie.
“They’ve had a day’s rest, as well. That’s a benefit. So just going to push hard tomorrow.”
Additional reporting by Press Association
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