Tuesday, August 9, 2022
HomeSportEmma Raducanu's opponent fires Wimbledon crowd warning as Brits set to back...

Emma Raducanu's opponent fires Wimbledon crowd warning as Brits set to back home favourite


Emma Raducanu’s Wimbledon second-round opponent, Caroline Garcia, insists that one-sided support from the Brit’s home crowd will not affect her during their upcoming Centre Court clash. Raducanu bears the weight of British expectation on the women’s side of the draw, having powered to the round of 16 in a sensational run last year. 

Raducanu got her second Wimbledon campaign off to the perfect start on Monday, executing a professional job in the first round to beat Alison Van Uytvanck 6-4 6-4. The teenager rode the wave of nerves and was efficient under pressure in a similar fashion to when she made her breakthrough in 2021.

Garcia has plenty more experience in the bank, having made it to the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2017 and powered all the way to a French Open quarter-final in the same year. She has already toppled one British hopeful in Yuriko Miyazaki on Monday, but support for Raducanu is expected to be on a different level. 

“You know, when I play in the French Open, it’s kind of the same the other way around – you know what is going to happen, and I think it’s completely fair,” she explained. “You’re not going to complain about it.

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“Most of the time in tennis, I think British people are ‘nice.’ Obviously they want the British player to win, but they are still fair and respectful. Normally I have nothing to say about it. It’s completely normal that they cheer for the player from their country.

“It’s going to be my first match on Centre Court, and it’s always a pleasure to be playing on the big courts of the Slams, and the one of Wimbledon is very special. The roof is definitely good news. At least you know you are going to play and you don’t have to wait. It’s going to be a great atmosphere.

“You know, when I play in French Open, it’s kind of the same the other way around – you know what is going to happen, and I think it’s completely fair,” she explained. “You’re not going to complain about it.

“It was my first time playing against her a few months ago [at Indian Wells], and she’s a very new player so you don’t know much about her. She’s doing it her way and doing very well. I will have to play my game, try to be aggressive. She played well last year here, so she likes the grass court from Wimbledon, but it’s a good match to play.”

The Brit will need to harness the home-crowd support to surpass her experienced opponent on Wednesday, who she beat at Indian Wells back in March. Despite romping to a triumphant US Open win last year, Raducanu kept her feet firmly on the ground after beating Van Uytvanck in straight sets and professed her happiness to simply be back competing on home turf after an injury-hit build-up. 

“I have had a tough year, it’s no secret. It is all worth it just to go out on Centre Court and get a win like that,” she said. “I’ve been feeling [the crowd support] ever since I stepped on to the practice courts, here on the first day people behind me going, ‘Emma, you’ve got this’. And I’m like, ‘Yeah, I’ve got this.’”

“To come and play here, it’s extremely special and this club itself, it’s just amazing to walk on these grounds and these courts. My preparation wasn’t necessarily the greatest. But I know that when it comes to the matches, I feel like I really switch on.”



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