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It’s full steam ahead – Emma Raducanu ‘ready to go’ before Centre Court debut

Emma Raducanu smiles during practise at Wimbledon on Saturday (John Walton/PA)
Emma Raducanu smiles during practise at Wimbledon on Saturday (John Walton/PA)

Emma Raducanu declared herself fit and and ready to go as she prepares to make her Centre Court debut at Wimbledon on Monday.

The US Open champion has been in a race against time to be fit for the Championships since sustaining a side strain in Nottingham nearly three weeks ago.

Raducanu stopped short of saying she is pain-free, but said: “I think that this week was a good build-up. Definitely there were moments earlier on in the week we weren’t really sure. We were sort of going to see how the week goes. But it went pretty well.

She is determined to keep things in perspective irrespective of the maelstrom around her, saying: “I think that I as a tennis player have actually grown and developed and have skills that I maybe didn’t have last year.

“But everyone knows me now. Everyone knows the sort of things I was doing last year. Everyone wants to beat me. I sort of take that as a compliment if players are raising their game against me.

“I think that that is definitely going to help me as a tennis player longer term because, if players are raising their game against me, I have to raise my level, too. So I think there’s nothing negative about that.

“Over time I will be a better tennis player. I’m 19 years old. If I hadn’t won the US Open, I think the past year or the way that I’ve been heading, it wouldn’t be necessarily a bad thing.

“I think I still have hopefully 15 years or something more in my career to go. I’m just at the beginning of it. So I’m looking forward for this long-term journey.”

Asked what she has learned most about herself from the last 12 months, Raducanu added: “I’d say I’ve learned that I’m resilient. I always knew that, but just to keep getting back up.

Emma Raducanu
Raducanu stunned the world by winning the US Open in 2021 (PA Media)

“I said, fall down 10 times, get up 11. What are you going to do about it? All you can do is keep moving forward. There’s no point looking back, getting down, because you just keep getting back up.

“I’m not playing for anyone, just to go out there and play for myself. The tests that I’ve gone through I think is going to help me as a person and a player long term.

“To experience it so young, I feel like I’m lucky that I get this lesson at such an early age, so I have a lot of time to get better at it, and everything.”