Raducanu will feel ‘excitement and pressure’ ahead of Wimbledon opener

Emma Raducanu will be feeling a mixture of excitement and pressure ahead of her Wimbledon return this year, according to former world No. 7 Barbara Schett.

The 19-year-old is back at the All England Club one year on from her main draw Grand Slam debut, where she reached the fourth round but was forced to retire from her match against Ajla Tomljanovic with breathing difficulties.

Raducanu returned to make history by winning the US Open title, but an injury-interrupted 2022 has seen her exit both the Australian Open and French Open in the second round.

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Speaking ahead of the teenager’s first-round Centre Court encounter against Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck, Eurosport analyst Schett speculated over Raducanu’s mindset.

“I’m sure it’s a combination of being excited to play in Wimbledon and show what she can do, but there’s also a little bit of pressure for sure,” she said.

“All eyes will be on her and it hasn’t been easy for her since she won that US Open title. Also, she’s had a bit of an injury. She had that side strain [suffered at the Nottingham Open] and she’s only played seven games on the on the grass court.”

Since her triumph in New York, Raducanu has become the poster girl for British tennis but Schett also hopes she won’t be distracted and is able to focus on her game.

“She hasn’t really had a lot of time to prepare herself, which could also be a good thing because she might not put any pressure on herself, but it’s going to be interesting to see how she handles the attention once again because the newspapers are going to be full of her,” Schett continued.

“Is she going stay in the zone basically and not think about that, not read that? I’m sure it’s a combination that she does feel pressure, because she wants to show herself from the best side, and being excited to actually play Wimbledon of course. It’s a home Grand Slam.

“Playing on Centre Court. It can be a thing which is unbelievable for a player, but it can also put a lot of pressure on you.

“I think Emma Raducanu has played on the big stages before, especially at the US Open, so she gets a bit of an idea how it feels, but I think it’s really important for her to get off to a good start.”

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Watch daily highlights from Wimbledon at 10pm on Eurosport 2 and discovery+ from June 27, as well as the two singles finals live on July 9 and 10.

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