Wimbledon 2022: Emma Raducanu wants swift Centre Court return after winning debut

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3-min read
Wimbledon 2022: Emma Raducanu wants swift Centre Court return after winning debut
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Emma Raducanu wants an immediate return to Centre Court on Wednesday after thriving on her debut on Wimbledon’s main showcourt.

The 19-year-old picked up a 6-4, 6-4 win over Alison Van Uytvanck and, much as she had done at the US Open last summer, rose to the bigger stage.

“I’d say big matches and big occasions are the ones that I really get the most fired up for,” she said. “It’s definitely a different feeling. I love playing on the big stages, big occasions. I think instead of shying away from it, I really thrive on that.”

There was an element of the unknown as Raducanu stepped on court yesterday afternoon for her first competition action in nearly three weeks after a “freak” side strain which at one stage left her Wimbledon participation hanging in the balance. But she declared a clean bill of health after coming through a tricky opening-round match.

In the early stages against her Belgian opponent, she struggled for rhythm in front of an initially relatively sparse Centre Court, which had emptied out after Novak Djokovic’s preceding win.

But as the seats filled and, with it, the atmosphere increased, it noticeably helped the 19-year-old lift her game.

“I definitely feel a really good energy,” she said in the immediate aftermath. “Like, how can you not playing here?”

Her season to date has been beset by injury problems and a struggle to string together a series of good results in tournaments.

Asked if Wimbledon might prove to be the turning point for her first full season on the WTA Tour, she said: “Well, I only just won my first round. And it hasn’t necessarily all been terrible [this season].

Emma Raducanu | Wimbledon 2022

“I won my first round at every Slam. As a 19-year-old, I pretty much took my gap year and I’m like starting again now. If the last year hadn’t happened, then I think that any 19-year-old walking onto Centre Court would be a positive experience for you. And it was, and I definitely embodied that today.”

Raducanu’s best runs have undeniably come at the Slams. At Wimbledon last year, she reached the fourth round before clinching that unlikely US Open title. And she said partly the secret to that was allowing an extra day between matches for her body to recover, unlike at many of the events on the main tour.

The teenager described her debut on Centre Court as a dream come true and put it onpar with most of her best career achievements.

“This place for me is still the most special, the most prestigious,” she said. “Although Centre Court size-wise is smaller than Ashe [at the US Open] by quite a lot, it definitely feels bigger in significance. Just the feeling that I get here is definitely special compared to all the other tournaments.

“I mean I wouldn’t take away winning the US Open for anything. No matter what life throws at me, I’ve got that.”

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting