Emma Raducanu - Wimbledon 2024

Emma Raducanu reveals that she used England football team ‘as motivation’ in Wimbledon win

Emma Raducanu has returned to Wimbledon with a victory, with the Brit labelling it as ‘winning ugly’.

Raducanu beat lucky loser Renata Zarazua, 7-6(0) 6-3, in her first match at Wimbledon since 2022 after missing the tournament last year following surgeries to both wrists and left ankle.

This match came about after Raducanu’s original opponent in 22nd seed Ekaterina Alexandrova withdrew due to illness.

Despite winning the match on Centre Court, it was not all plain-sailing for Raducanu after winning only eight of her 24 points at the net.

And the 2021 US Open champion was very honest about her performance at SW19 when speaking in the on-court interview, “I’m incredibly happy to be back here. I was, for sure, nervous. I’m sure everyone could see that in my tennis.

“At the end of the day, you have to just do whatever it takes to get over the line. Honestly, watching the football last night, it was like winning ugly – it all counts.”

The 21-year-old added, “I think it’s such a buzz in the summer time. I think the tennis, football, F1, it uplifts everyone, myself included, and my motivation is to keep coming back here, keep playing and feel that buzz.”

Raducanu also touched on the last-minute change to her opponent, revealing that she found out the news at 10:30am.

“It was an incredibly difficult match,” said Raducanu. “I’ve barely played a defender who has landed the ball on the baseline, and it took a lot of strength to get the ball back.

“It’s not easy for her – you’re not playing in the morning, and suddenly you’re on Centre Court. Thanks to everyone for getting me over the line. I found out at 10:30am today and for the last three days, we were playing with similar opponents. It took a little bit of adjusting to find my feet. Thank you for the support in crucial moments. I really enjoyed being back here.”

While Wimbledon is taking the tennis world by storm, it is not the only big sporting event taking place at the moment with football’s European Championships also being going on in Germany.

Raducanu’s nation England survived a scare against Slovakia on Sunday, which she suggested helped in her match against Zarazua.

“Today I used it (England’s win) as motivation. It doesn’t need to be beautiful, it doesn’t need to be perfect.” said Raducanu. “As long as you get through the opening rounds, you give yourself another chance to play better. For circumstances to align, as long as you’re still in the tournament, you keep giving yourself that chance.”

Raducanu will look to reach the third round of Wimbledon for the first time since her debut in 2021, when she plays Elise Mertens tomorrow.

Inside the baseline…

Emma Raducanu is right when suggesting that it definitely was not her best match, but at the end of the day it is the result that counts and it was a very gritty performance with the whole experience of being back on Centre Court after missing Wimbledon last year through injury. It is interesting to hear how Raducanu has taken inspiration from other sports, and she will certainly need to raise her level against the always tricky world No.33 Elise Mertens.

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.