Emma Raducanu confident of 'good things' ahead of Wimbledon return after rekindling love of tennis

24 June 2024, 17:00 | Updated: 24 June 2024, 19:52

Emma Raducanu is confident "good things are 100 per cent going to happen" after rekindling her love of tennis ahead of returning to Wimbledon.

The 21-year-old will continue preparations for the All England Club by taking on fellow former US Open champion Sloane Stephens on Tuesday in the first round of the Rothesay International in Eastbourne.

Raducanu has struggled with form and injuries since triumphing at Flushing Meadows as a qualifier in 2021 and missed last year's grass-court season following surgery on both wrists and one ankle.

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She admits her passion for competing is the highest it has been "for a long, long time" as she works her way back towards the top 100.

"I'm just really into it at the moment. I just love the sport, I love tennis," said Raducanu. "It's taken over me and I've really rekindled a light in the fire inside of me.

"I'm really grateful to have this feeling again because it's something that I feel I've been missing in a way for the last few years and I haven't felt this good about my tennis - just excited about it and passionate - for a long, long time.

"Now it's really comforting for me because I'm way less focused on the result because I know with the way I'm training, the way I'm competing and fighting on the court, good things are 100 per cent going to happen. I have full faith and belief in that now and I can say it and mean it at the same time, rather than just saying it."

Raducanu recently reached the semi-finals of the Rothesay Open in Nottingham, where she was beaten by British No 1 Katie Boulter. After opting to skip the French Open, she has been handed a wild card for Wimbledon and feels performing on home soil provides additional motivation for all British players.

"I have a big joy for playing in the UK, I missed it last year, obviously, and it's nice - you kind of forget the feeling," Raducanu added. "I think you would push your body further to play over this period of time.

"I think all of us (British players) really live for it, we come alive, we put our clay shoes in the bin pretty early and then get on the grass. We do push ourselves more for this and understand the implications that may or may not come with it."

Dart to face Kenin after Rybakina withdraws

British No 2 Harriet Dart progressed to the second round in Eastbourne by edging a marathon three-set epic against Marie Bouzkova.

The 27-year-old wild card battled back from a double break and 4-1 down to snatch the opening set and, having fallen agonisingly short of repeating that feat in the second, eventually progressed 7-5 6-7 (7) 6-4 in just under three and a half hours.

Dart was initially due to take on top seed Elena Rybakina in round two but will now face American lucky loser Sofia Kenin after the 2022 Wimbledon champion withdrew from the tournament due to a change of schedule.

"It was an incredible match, so many ups and downs," said world No 105 Dart, who revealed she was struggling with wisdom tooth pain during a topsy-turvy Centre Court encounter.

"Marie's an incredible fighter and always makes it tough. I'm very happy that it turned my way this time."

What's coming up on Sky Sports Tennis?

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  • Mallorca Championships (ATP 250) - June 23-29
  • Bad Homburg (WTA 500) - June 23-29

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