Emma Raducanu having the time of her life at Wimbledon

The 18-year-old is the youngest Briton into the Wimbledon third round since the late Elena Baltacha.

George Sessions
Friday 02 July 2021 07:47
Wimbledon in numbers

Great Britain teenager Emma Raducanu has vowed to keep playing every point like it is her last after she extended her Wimbledon “holiday” into the weekend.

The 18-year-old produced a remarkable performance on Thursday night to beat 2019 French Open finalist Marketa Vondrousova 6-2 6-4 in the second round.

After being handed a late wild card into the main draw, the world number 338 has become the youngest British woman to reach round three since the late Elena Baltacha in 2002.

Raducanu was not even born then but victory over Vitalia Diatchenko on Wednesday was backed up with an even better showing to knock out her Czech rival in one hour and 12 minutes on Court 12.

“Being someone who has not been able to compete much and who has always been held back by something, to be at the Championships I feel like I am on a holiday. It is unbelievable and I just want to stay here for as long as I can,” she said.

“Playing in front of a home crowd definitely helps. The support is so loud and they are so behind me. I am really grateful so I have that in the back of my mind.

“Also I was just thinking to play every point like it was my last and like it was match point or my last point at Wimbledon. I think that is also a trick I have been playing with myself.”

Back in April the Toronto-born player, who moved to the United Kingdom at the age of two, was sitting her A Levels in maths and economics at Newstead School.

Being someone who has not been able to compete much and who has always been held back by something, to be at the Championships I feel like I am on a holiday. It is unbelievable and I just want to stay here for as long as I can

Emma Raducanu

A combination of injuries, studies and the coronavirus pandemic have halted the progress of the highly-rated right-hander, but she has taken her chance at SW19 this week.

Before her main draw debut at the All England Club, Raducanu revealed she inadvertently practiced with her second-round opponent and more importantly against 2017 Wimbledon winner Garbine Muguruza.

She revealed: “I hit with Marketa once last week for an hour but I actually hit with Garbine Muguruza so I was so chuffed to be able to hit with her and see how intense she was.

“It definitely made something click in my head that this is the level I need to be training at and that I need to be this intense if I want to achieve anything remotely near to what Garbine has.

Emma Raducanu registered the best result of her career in beating Marketa Vondrousova

“That definitely was a small turning point in my head and I even got the call up to hit with her again so that made me feel really good that I produced in the first hit.”

Raducanu signalled her intent during the opening game against Vondrousova, even if two of her shots almost hit the back fence of Court 12.

Her confidence did not waiver and she reeled off five games in a row against a player ranked almost 300 places higher before the opener was clinched in 29 minutes.

A poor start to the second occurred and the home favourite was trailing 3-0, but continued to go for her shots and it eventually paid dividends to register the biggest result of her career with her prize money now at £115,000.

The last British woman in the singles draw added: “I hit a bounce smash that went about back fence and then another volley that went close to back fence, but I knew I was setting up the point well but that final shot execution was slightly off.

“I knew I was doing the right thing and if I continued doing that over the course of the match then it would pay off. I am glad it did. I kept going for my shots and got rewarded for it in the end.”

Next up for Raducanu is a last-32 clash with Romanian world number 44 Sorana Cirstea who sent 12th seed Victoria Azarenka packing earlier on Thursday.

“I know she has done great things in her career and for me it is another match where I will go out there with nothing to lose again,” Raducanu said.

“I am really just here enjoying myself and trying to stay here for as long as I can. I think that is the motivation for me and I just go out there with nothing to lose.

“And the crowd has been so supportive, I just want to do them proud and everyone who has been supporting me for all these years.”