Emma Raducanu makes startling admission after Wimbledon win and explains Rafael Nadal logo

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Emma Raducanu made a surprising admission that she hadn’t played any tennis for two weeks heading into Wimbledon. The 10th seed made her Centre Court debut on Monday and beat Alison Van Uytvanck 6-4 6-4 after an injury-stricken few weeks that saw her forced to retire just 33 minutes into her only grass match of the season. And Raducanu explained why she had been paying tribute to Rafael Nadal at SW19.

Raducanu was victorious in her return to Wimbledon, 12 months after making her Grand Slam debut as the 338th-ranked wildcard. Now the 10th seed and US Open champion, she downed world No 46 Van Uytvanck in straight sets despite a recent injury scare in Nottingham, and after the match Raducanu revealed just how undercooked she was going into the tournament.

After retiring her Nottingham Open first-round match seven games in, the 19-year-old revealed she hadn’t played tennis at all until the week leading up to Wimbledon. “I definitely feel that because I didn’t play tennis for two weeks, then this week I’ve hit like an hour a day. My preparation wasn’t necessarily the greatest,” she said after her Centre Court debut.

“But I know that when it comes to the matches, I feel like I really especially switch on. I don’t feel like I need massive amount of preparation. Of course, I do to build physically. I think a lot of it is mental, and I definitely went out with the belief today. I know that I can compete with anyone on the other side of the court when I really go for it.”

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Raducanu was sporting Rafael Nadal’s famous Nike bull logo on a polo during her press conference and had been spotted practising in a Nadal logo t-shirt earlier in the day. Asked about her choice of attire, the 19-year-old lauded the Spaniard’s fighting spirit and admitted that she was trying to bring the same to her matches.

“Of course, I think Rafa just embodies fight, that sort of energy,” she explained. “That’s what I’m bringing in. In terms of energy-wise, I think that I have had a tough year, like it’s no secret. It is all worth it just to go out on Centre Court and get a win like that.

“I definitely am very happy to be here. All the lessons I’ve taken from the last year will only hold me in good stead for the future.”

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