Emma Raducanu makes exciting Wimbledon comment as Brit full of confidence | Tennis | Sport

Emma Raducanu reckons she has never been in better shape going into a Grand Slam – and she can’t wait to get going at Wimbledon.

But the 2021 US Open winner tried to play down expectations by claiming she is the “underdog” against No.22 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova and will be “over the moon” to win.

The world No.168 beat a top-10 player for the first time in her career at Eastbourne this week. And instead of taking a day off on Friday, she admitted she got “bored” and came early to Wimbledon.

“I ended up returning (British No.7) Jan Choinski’s serve and just playing some points with him,” she laughed. The Bromley-based star has been in good form on and off the court since skipping French Open qualifying to start her grasscourt season early.

She reached the semi-finals and won two matches in Eastbourne – including beating world No.5 Jessica Pegula. Raducanu came through three rounds of qualifying on her way to her New York triumph – and missed Wimbledon last year after wrist and ankles surgeries.

Asked if this was her best ever preparation for a Major, the upbeat 21-year-old said: “Yeah, I would say this preparation has worked out really well. I got a great balance between matches, but also staying fresh and not playing too much.

“I think the Eastbourne week was really helpful in getting some top-level matches, and also to get a really good win in the second round. My best win to date. I think I should take a lot of confidence from that.

“I think I’m in a really good place. Last year I did a good chunk of work at the end of the year to get back and healthy. I’ve continued that work throughout this year. I feel good in my body. I’m very happy to be back here. I think I’ve missed this tournament so much.”

Raducanu reached the fourth round on her Wimbledon debut in 2021 while Katie Boulter was the last Brit standing last year.

BBC pundit Tim Henman has backed the British No.1 to go further than Raducanu but reckons “both could be in the second week”. British No.5 Raducanu said: “If I get through my first round, I’d be over the moon. Tim has higher expectations, I guess.

“I think it’s a tough match. She’s seeded really well. It’s obviously going to be hard. I think that she’s got great weapons. On this surface, on grass, it only amplifies big weapons.

“I’m expecting a really difficult match. I think it’s a match where I’m actually the complete underdog because, yeah, she’s a lot older, a lot more experienced, ranked a lot higher.

“For me, I feel like it’s just a great opportunity to try to get a good scalp, try to enjoy playing how I have been in the last few weeks, and just get back into it. It’s not much time between Eastbourne and here.

“I feel like I’m on a good roll. In a way, there’s not much time to think about too much. I had the opportunity to play on Centre in 2022. It’s really special. I think to go out there again, yeah, be second on Monday, it’s just an amazing opportunity.”

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