Raducanu plays down injury concerns, says full steam ahead for Wimbledon

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LONDON : British favourite Emma Raducanu says it is “full steam ahead” for Wimbledon after worries about her fitness in the build-up to her home Grand slam.

Teenager Raducanu rocketed to fame when she won the U.S. Open last year as a qualifier and expectations will be huge when she plays her first round match on Monday.

A side injury has hampered Raducanu in recent weeks and she has failed to complete a match since the French Open – hardly great preparation for the fortnight.

But the 10th seed sounded upbeat when she spoke to media on Saturday, playing down the fact that she pulled out of her second practice session on Friday.

“I’ve definitely been managing it since Nottingham. I took two weeks off,” Raducanu said.

“I’ve been preparing this week. Yesterday we just had to react to the situation. I already practised in the morning. So we all collectively thought it was the best decision to pass on the afternoon session, stay fresh and ready to go.

“I think that this week was a good build-up. Definitely, there were moments earlier on in the week we weren’t really sure. We were sort of going to see how the week goes.

“But it went pretty well. Now it’s full steam ahead. Everyone’s really looking forward to it.”

The camera lenses will be focussed on Raducanu when she walks through the gates into the pressure cooker on Monday, but far from feeling daunted, Raducanu is embracing the attention.

“I think people are going to be behind me and cheering me on. There’s nothing sort of negative about that. They want you to do well.”

Raducanu will have to hit the ground running on Monday on what will be her first appearance on Centre Court.

Experienced Belgian opponent Alison Van Uytvanck, ranked 46th, is a tough cookie who reached the fourth round in 2018 and is no stranger to grass.

“I definitely feel like game-wise I back myself pretty much against anyone. I feel if I really put my mind to it and commit, then I can be pretty good,” she said.

“But she’s a real tricky opponent, especially on grass courts. I think this surface definitely suits her well. She plays a pretty quick, high-tempo game. It’s definitely going to take some getting used to, being prepared for that straightaway.”

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