Emma Raducanu reveals her secret weapon as Wimbledon hype erupts

Kevin Palmer
Emma Raducanu celebrates during her match at Wimbledon in 2024
Emma Raducanu celebrates during her match at Wimbledon in 2024

Emma Raducanu has revealed what she believes to be her secret weapon, after her stunning win against No 9 seed Maria Sakkari at Wimbledon.

Raducanu beat Sakkari in the semi-finals of the 2021 US Open, as she marched toward her maiden Grand Slam title in New York.

In the rematch at Wimbledon, she again lost only five games under the roof on Centre Court, reminding the tennis world of her precocious talent with a thrilling 6-2 6-3 victory.

Having not beaten a top-10 player in her career, the 21-year-old has now done it twice in a fortnight, and she has matched her best run at the All England Club from her breakthrough event three years ago.

On that occasion, it all became too much for the then teenager and she retired with breathing difficulties during a fourth-round clash with Ajla Tomljanovic.

Now Raducnau appears to be a more complete and mature player having come through a hugely testing three years since that Flushing Meadows title.

She next faces an unexpected opponent in New Zealand’s Lulu Sun for a spot in the quarter-finals, while this victory was enough to ensure her place back in the top 100.

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Now Raducanu has spoken about what she believes gives her an edge over her rivals, with her ability to play at her best on big points a weapon that strikes fear into her opponents.

“I think naturally that’s always been one of my big strengths, the big points,” declared Raducanu.

“I step up and I thrive and I love the challenge and trying to overcome it. 

“I think that’s something I did since a young age, very much so. 

“I think in the last couple years, I don’t think I was playing those big points in the same way. I wasn’t as aggressive. I was more passive. 

“I think I’m playing such a top opponent like Maria, she’s not going to give me the match or give me an error. I know I have to go for it. 

“Anyone at this level of the tournament is the same. You just have to take the opportunities while you have them.

“I think after a lot of losses just on a regular tour, it’s very difficult sometimes to stay in the moment, keep working, get back up, just keep doing your thing. 

“You have to have in the back of your mind at some point it’s going to pay off and you just don’t know when. 

“I’m very happy that a lot of the work I’ve been doing has compounded and has been able to show this week.”

As Raducanu is favourite to get through her next match against Lulu Sun, the hype around her Wimbledon ambitions will inevitably build in the UK media, but she is trying to avoid any suggestion of becoming the first British winner of the women’s title at the All England Club since Virginia Wade in 1977.

“I think also for me to be winning that match against a top-10 opponent on Centre Court, it’s a beautiful feeling and one that I really want to savour,” she added. 

“Tennis is pretty brutal in the way you have to enjoy it tonight and then tomorrow you’re already thinking about the next one. It’s just like that. 

“You can win the tournament but you can lose first round the next week. It’s the sport. I’m just trying to cherish every moment I have here.

“I’m very grateful just being healthy. I think I missed the feeling of being on the grounds very much. I think it was really painful last year coming here and not being able to compete, being on the other side of it. 

“I think that feeling has been pulling me through a lot this week. Just remembering how I felt then, bringing it back to the present. 

“I’ve just been having so much fun that I really just want to stay. I don’t want to go home. It’s a good, different type of motivation.”

Raducanu is re-emerging as one of the big stars of women’s tennis, with the negativity that has been circling around her during the last couple of years evaporating in glorious fashion.