Emma Raducanu hopes to make quick work of opponents in bid for home slam glory
Emma Raducanu is hoping to rediscover her grand slam efficiency at Wimbledon this year.
The 19-year-old famously did not drop a set through 10 matches at the US Open having also claimed three straight-sets wins at Wimbledon.
Since then, though, Raducanu has found herself dragged into a number of long matches, and her opening-round victory over Alison Van Uytvanck on Monday was her first two-set match at a slam since the US Open final.
With her history of injury niggles and recent recovery from a side strain, avoiding staying on court too long could be crucial to Raducanu’s hopes of a good run, and she will be looking for more of the same against France’s Caroline Garcia on Wednesday.
“I think that it helps at slams that you get a day off in between, so I think that is pretty valuable,” said Raducanu.
“I felt good out there. There were some tough moments in the second set (against Van Uytvanck) physically, but I told myself, ‘Push through, if you win in two sets, then you don’t have to play three’. That’s the tactic.”
Raducanu looked relaxed and happy during a practice session at the All England Club on Tuesday.
The teenager has been enjoying feeling the support of the British public and she could not help but chuckle at the well-refreshed fans cheering her on as she sparred against two hitting partners under the guidance of Jane O’Donoghue.
O’Donoghue, a former British player and coach, now works in finance but is the mentor to which Raducanu has turned to help her through her second Wimbledon campaign.
“She’s been with me since I was 10 years old,” said Raducanu, who appears to have no intention yet of hiring another full-time coach.
“She’s a family friend. She’s been there throughout my career whenever I’ve needed help. She’s very successful in her industry. It’s just great to have someone that I’ve known for years be there for me this week.
“When I was 11, 12, she was national coach. She travelled with me, took me on trips. But since she went into the industry, we just sort of chat about life and everything.”
Returning to Wimbledon completes a first full year on tour for Raducanu, whose tennis education was elevated to warp speed by her remarkable early success.
Familiarity brings positives and negatives, with Raducanu saying: “I think that it helps just with experience. Every tournament or every match you play, you learn something. It helps it all be a positive tool for the future.
“In a way, when you haven’t played anyone before, it helps, too, because no one knows you, no one knows your game. That is something that I experienced in a positive way last summer because no one really knew who I was.
“Since, I think that people have definitely watched me and raised their level and raised their game and played some great tennis. I haven’t necessarily played badly in a lot of the matches.
“I think that coming back here is always going to be a special tournament for me, my home tournament. I’ve got incredible memories. I’m just looking forward to playing here again.”
Raducanu will return to Centre Court on Wednesday for her clash with former world number four Garcia, who is now ranked 55.
The Frenchwoman is in good form having won a title in Germany at the weekend but needed a final-set tie-break to defeat British wild card Yuriko Miyazaki in round one.
“Caroline is a great opponent,” said Raducanu. “I played her earlier on in the year in Indian Wells and it was a tricky match. She plays pretty fast tennis. I’m ready for that.”
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