LONDON – When Emma Raducanu received a last-minute wild card in the Wimbledon main draw, she was at the bottom of the list when it came to the 15 British players who had made it to the singles field being the lowest ranked contestant with 338.
That field included two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray, world number 26 Dan Evans, Queen’s Club runner-up Cameron Norrie and 2017 All England Club semi-finalist Johanna Konta.
Six days after the championships and A-level student Raducanu is the only British player to have survived a brutal sacrifice from the first week.
Konta had left even before the All England Club opened its wrought iron doors on day one, the 30-year-old breached strict COVID-19 protocols that were put in place after someone in her hotel bubble tested positive for the virus. .
After the rest of the British players came out of the singles, Grand Slam rookie Raducanu is left with the welcome conundrum of figuring out how to wash her tennis uniforms in time for her round of 16 clash with Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic.
“Who would have thought? When I was packing to get into the bubble, my parents would say to me, ‘Aren’t you packing too many pairs of match kits?’ ”The radiant 18-year-old told the crowd after her unexpected run into week two.
“I think I’ll have to do some laundry at the hotel tonight. So we’re all fine. “
– Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 3, 2021
The only child of a Chinese mother and a Romanian father, Raducanu appears to have an old head on her young shoulders, a characteristic she acquired by closely studying her idols: Chinese Li Na and Romanian Simona Halep.
“It’s really a coincidence that those are two of my favorite players that I try to model my game with,” said Raducanu, who until last month had never played a match on the main WTA Tour.
“It definitely helped me, bringing the mentality of both of us. They both come from hard-working countries.
“Having parents like me always put pressure on me. They have high expectations. I’ve always tried to live up to that. And I hope I made you proud this week. “
It wasn’t just his parents who he took pride in when he left Wimbledon buzzing after a whirlwind few days in which he represented the scalp of Vitalia Diatchenko, 2019 French Open runner-up Marketa Vondrousova and 45th-ranked Romanian Cirstea, and all that. two months after taking his school exams.
Trained by Murray’s father-in-law, Nigel Sears, Raducanu is such a shrewd student of the game that she even took steps to ensure she wasn’t intimidated when she made her Court One debut on Saturday.
“I came here yesterday and sat on the court for about five minutes. They let me have an idea of the court, which I think was very valuable because when I came out today, I somehow knew what to expect, ”Raducanu said as he released his hair after having tied it in a braid during the game.
“Playing court one at Wimbledon is what you dream of. Not many people have the opportunity to do it. I thought if I wasn’t going to enjoy Court One at Wimbledon, the local crowd, what are you going to enjoy? This is the cherry on top of tennis. “
With the entire nation behind her, it’s no wonder Raducanu’s phone hasn’t stopped ringing.
However, while most teens are addicted to their phones, by now he has proven his maturity by stating, “It’s crazy. I turned off all my notifications on my phone.
“I have received some emails from teachers at my school. It has also been great to receive messages from my classmates. Yeah, I really can’t wait to see you guys once I’m done here. “
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