A year after hatching, Emma Raducanu returns to Wimbledon

A year after hatching, Emma Raducanu returns to Wimbledon

You don’t need a boosted DeLorean to go back to Emma Raducanu’s circuit debut. A good memory will be more than enough since the Briton took her first steps on the WTA tour a little over a year ago, in Nottingham. A small appearance for the benefit of an invitation, just to rub shoulders with the high level, ended in defeat in the first round. But it was really a few weeks later that Raducanu revealed herself to everyone.

Once again invited, the then 18-year-old player reached the knockout stages at Wimbledon. The United Kingdom discovered a passion for this kid who seemed to be afraid of nothing. Finally, until a panic attack prevented her from breathing properly against Ajla Tomjlanovic and forced her to retire.

Panic attack for his first Wimbledon.  (R. Prange/Sports Press)

Panic attack for his first Wimbledon. (R. Prange/Sports Press)

But the best was yet to come with an incredible victory at the US Open without losing a single set, qualifying included. This time it was not just the UK, but the whole world marveling at the coronation of a new queen. Maximum media coverage and the unbridled court of sponsors then became its topicality. With the bonus of some somewhat heavy fans. And already this question that tormented the observers: what was going to happen next for the one who became the player to beat?

11th in the world but without landmarks

And it is clear that the results were neither up to his new status, nor to that of his ranking (11th at the start of this Wimbledon). No better than a quarter-final in Stuttgart, a WTA 500, it’s a bit light and she is the first to be aware of it. “At this level, there are aspects of my game that need to be improved. It is absolutely necessary that my game is in line with my classification »she confided during the last Roland-Garros, where she lost in the second round.

Emma Raducanu wins the US Open and switches to another world.  (D. Parhizkaran/Sports Press)

Emma Raducanu wins the US Open and switches to another world. (D. Parhizkaran/Sports Press)

But can we really blame a player of only 19 years old? Raducanu has just finished her first year on the big circuit and she is still learning. She hammers it at every press conference, “I’m learning every day, every game, every practice. » For example, she has just experienced her first tour on clay. “I had no expectations. I played four tournaments in a row thinking I was going to lose in the first round each time. But in fact, I was still able to play several matches.she laughs, confessing that she is impatiently awaiting the return to the grass.

“After my victory at the US Open, I had like a target in the back. We had to expect it and accept it”

One year after its hatching, it is therefore time to take stock as much as to project. “I look forward to this second year ahead, explains the one who will enter the running at Wimbledon this Monday against the Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck. It will be punctuated with obstacles and I will have to find my bearings. It’s always new, actually. Often, I miss landmarks, but it will become easier to find them. And then where I have certainly improved is in my fighting spirit. It will be seen on the circuit. This first year also allowed me to see that the level was high among all the players on the circuit. But it’s still been a positive year because I’ve learned so much. After my victory at the US Open, I had like a target in the back. We had to expect it and accept it. I am the same person as twelve months ago, but the people around me have changed. I am the same, but more alert, more experienced. »

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