Wimbledon Debut for Raducanu on Centre Court

Wimbledon Debut for Raducanu on Centre Court

Emma Raducanu will play her opening match at Wimbledon on Centre Court as she returns to her home Grand Slam for the first time in two years. 

The 2021 US Open Champion was unable to participate in the 2023 iteration of the tournament, then in the thick of recovery after surgeries on her ankle and both wrists undertaken two months earlier in a bid to rid of her persistent injury issues. 

Instead, Raducanu attended the tournament on duty as a brand ambassador for one of the event’s sponsors, Evian, and described the experience of being there as a non-competitor as ‘horrible’. 

‘I’m just so grateful to be on the other side of it,’ the 21-year-old said on Friday. ‘Going to Wimbledon was really rubbing salt into the wound but I guess it was part of my obligations. 

‘I’m just very happy to be actually playing,’ she added. 

Emma Raducanu will hope to start a deep run at Wimbledon from Centre Court on Monday

The 21-year-old attended the competition in a 'horrible' non-competitive capacity a year earlier

The 21-year-old attended the competition in a ‘horrible’ non-competitive capacity a year earlier

This year, Raducanu will try and get the better of No22 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova in their tie

This year, Raducanu will try and get the better of No22 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova in their tie

Raducanu’s return to SW19 comes in some style, with her first-round clash with No22 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova the second match of the day on the showpiece court. 

Centre Court will first play host, as per tradition, to defending men’s champion Carlos Alcaraz, with the Spaniard set to play qualifier Mark Lajal, who is ranked 269 places below the No3 seed. 

The day’s third and final match will be an all-American affair between Caroline Dolehide and No2 seed Coco Gauff, with last year’s women’s champion Marketa Vondrusova starting her title defence on Centre Court on Tuesday afternoon. 

Raducanu is one six Britons taking to the turf on the first day of the championship, alongside Heather Watson, Liam Broady, Charles Broom, and qualifier Sonay Kartal. 

On Tuesday, 13 more will attempt to get through their first matches, making up the highest first-round cohort of Britons at the competition since 1999. 

Carlos Alcaraz will begin his title defence on Centre Court

20-year-old Coco Gauff is playing her fifth Wimbledon after her explosive 2019 debut

Defending champion Carlos Alcaraz (left) and No2 seed Coco Gauff (right) will also make their first-round appearances on the showpiece court

Andy Murray will have one extra day to prepare as he bids to make it in the singles on Tuesday

Andy Murray will have one extra day to prepare as he bids to make it in the singles on Tuesday

The 2021 US Open champion has had a promising preparation for the tournament - including her maiden to-10 win

The 2021 US Open champion has had a promising preparation for the tournament – including her maiden to-10 win

Raducanu has enjoyed a consistent first grass court season since her return from injury last year, reaching the semi-finals at Nottingham before defeat to eventual champion and British No1 Katie Boulter, and the quarter-finals at Eastbourne. 

Before being knocked out by tournament winner Daria Kasatkina on the south coast, Raducanu downed world No5 Jessica Pegula, claiming the first win of her career against a top-10 opponent. 

‘I had tough circumstances to handle overnight, so I had to really pick myself up and crack on with it,’ she said of her victory on Wednesday. ‘I’d prefer to keep those (circumstances) private but it’s a great message for anyone who thinks they can’t get themselves going or fight through any more. 

‘Even when you think you’re down, there is always a way. Will can get you through a lot of difficult situations.’ 

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