British hope Raducanu draws inspiration from 'raging bull' Nadal

I think Rafa embodies fight, that sort of energy, Raducanu said when asked why she was wearing his logo at Wimbledon

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Britain's Emma Raducanu celebrates winning her first round match. (Reuters)
Britain's Emma Raducanu celebrates winning her first round match. (Reuters)


Published: Tue 28 Jun 2022, 12:23 AM

Emma Raducanu said she was hoping to channel the fighting spirit of Rafael Nadal by wearing his “raging bull” logo after beating Alison Van Uytvanck 6-4, 6-4 in the Wimbledon first round on Monday.

The 19-year-old US Open champion, who was an injury doubt in the run-up to the tournament, struggled to impose herself early in the contest but broke her Belgian opponent’s serve in the seventh game.

Van Uytvanck broke back but Raducanu again seized the initiative by breaking again and survived a tough test on her serve to take the first set 6-4.

The pair swapped breaks in the second set and Raducanu broke again in the ninth game, comfortably holding serve and sealing victory with a backhand volley to the delight of the crowd.

“It was an amazing experience on Centre Court,” said the British 10th seed.

“It was the first time I played on there. From the moment I walked out through those gates, I could really just feel the energy and the support and everyone was behind me from the word ‘go’.”

Raducanu has struggled with a string of minor injuries since her sensational win at Flushing Meadows last year, including a side strain earlier this month.

She has also come under scrutiny over her failure to settle on a long-term coach and admitted it had not been plain sailing since her triumph in New York.

But she is looking to learn from Nadal, who has won the Australian Open and the French Open this year to take his Grand Slam tally to 22 titles.

“I think Rafa just embodies fight, that sort of energy,” she said when asked why she was wearing his logo. “That’s what I’m bringing in. In terms of energy-wise, I think that I have had a tough year, like it’s no secret.

“It is all worth it just to go out on Centre Court and get a win like that.

“I definitely am very happy to be here. All the lessons I’ve taken from the last year will only hold me in good stead for the future.”

Raducanu, who has not won more than two matches at a tournament since her win at the US Open, will take on France’s Caroline Garcia for a place in the last 32.

She admitted her preparations for Wimbledon had not been ideal.

“I didn’t play tennis for two weeks, then this week I’ve hit like an hour a day,” she said. “My preparation wasn’t necessarily the greatest.

“But I know that when it comes to the matches, I feel like I really especially switch on. I don’t feel like I need massive amount of preparation. Of course, I do to build physically.

“I think a lot of it is mental, and I definitely went out with the belief today. I know that I can compete with anyone on the other side of the court when I really go for it.”

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