Emma Raducanu says Wimbledon is her “favourite place to be” as she prepares for her 2022 tournament bow on Monday.
The 19-year-old Brit will take on Alison Van Uytvanck second on Centre Court, sandwiched between Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray’s matches as this year’s edition gets off to a stellar start.
Doubts remain over Raducanu’s fitness levels – given her side strain that she suffered at the Nottingham Open just under three weeks ago – but on the eve of the action getting underway she claims she is “pain-free” and optimistic about her prospects of emulating her breakout at SW19 last year.
Speaking to Eurosport, she said: “I love being back at Wimbledon. I think it’s probably my favourite place to be and to play tennis especially.
“I love just walking the grounds and I’m lucky enough to be a member now so I can come back and in practice here and use the amazing facilities, and nothing’s changed [since last year].
“I’m still just as excited to get out there and play and I’m looking forward to that.”
Raducanu’s run at the 2021 Wimbledon was ended at the fourth-round stage when she had to retire from her match with Ajla Tomljanovic due to breathing difficulties.
The Bromley star says however that she wouldn’t change anything about that day.
She said: “I think that last year’s Wimbledon experience was great for me. If I hadn’t had it then I probably wouldn’t have been in qualifying for the US Open and then I wouldn’t have won that tournament.
“So I’m very, very grateful for Wimbledon and the wildcard last year, and to be back here this year.
“I’m ready to go.”
Of opponent van Uytvanck, Raducanu added during her press duties: “I played her in August last year [at a WTA 125 event in Chicago]. It’s nine months ago. I think she was the top seed at the time. I kind of just got into the tournament.
“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.
“So I’m definitely looking forward to the match.”