Emma Raducanu manages expectations for Wimbledon return

Emma Raducanu manages expectations for Wimbledon return

Emma Raducanu on Saturday tempered expectations in response to Tim Henman’s prediction that she can reach the second week of Wimbledon, insisting she is a ‘complete underdog’ to beat Ekaterina Alexandrova in the first round on Centre Court tomorrow.

The 21-year-old Brit is playing at the All England Club for the first time since 2022, having missed last year’s edition as she recovered from injury.

Yet while playing down her chances of a long run over the course of this fortnight, Raducanu did say she is in the mood for a ‘scalp’ as she takes on Alexandrova, the 22nd seed from Russia.

‘It’s a match where I’m actually the complete underdog because she’s a lot older, a lot more experienced, ranked a lot higher,’ said Raducanu, who is now ranked 168 in the world.

‘For me, I feel like it’s 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. She’s got great weapons. On this surface, on grass, it only amplifies big weapons. I’m expecting a really difficult match.

Emma Raducanu has stressed that she will be a ‘complete underdog’ in her first round match

The 21-year-old returns to Wimbledon for the first time in two years after missing out in 2023

The 21-year-old returns to Wimbledon for the first time in two years after missing out in 2023

The former US Open champion is settled working with her childhood coach Nick Cavaday

The former US Open champion is settled working with her childhood coach Nick Cavaday

‘For me, if I get through my first round, I’d be over the moon. Tim has higher expectations, I guess.

‘I feel very confident in my body. I was able to play three matches at a high level last week and come out physically unscathed. 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. There are no doubts.’

On Andy Murray, practising on Saturday a week on from back surgery, she added: ‘For a tournament like Wimbledon, you’ll push your body, you’ll push your recovery to the maximum, you’ll take the consequences that come after or during, whatever you have to do.

Tim Henman had nothing but positives to say about Raducanu's return from injury this week

Tim Henman had nothing but positives to say about Raducanu’s return from injury this week

Raducanu has enjoyed a promising warm-up ahead of Wimbledon but is keen not to overeach

Raducanu has enjoyed a promising warm-up ahead of Wimbledon but is keen not to overeach

She also spoke of her admiration for Andy Murray, who is bidding to compete in his last run

She also spoke of her admiration for Andy Murray, who is bidding to compete in his last run

‘I’m very happy to see him here because when I think of Wimbledon, I think of Andy. Growing up, that was the generation, the hero I would look up to.

‘It just feels right and I really hope that, on Tuesday or whenever he’s playing, he’s on the match court.’

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