Emma Raducanu hit back at a suggestion there was pressure on her at Wimbledon after her second-round exit, calling it a “joke”.
US Open champion Raducanu, 19, saw her hopes of another deep Grand Slam run ended in straight sets by Caroline Garcia on Centre Court.
She will now look ahead to the hard-court season and the defence of her US Open title.
Asked how the “pressure” on her over the last month might prepare her for a return to New York, Raducanu said: “There’s no pressure. Like, why is there any pressure? I’m still 19. Like, it’s a joke. I literally won a Slam.
“Going back to New York, it’s going to be cool because I have got a lot of experiences playing on big courts, playing with people in the stadium, playing with the spotlight on you.
“I don’t mind that. I mean, for me, everything is learning. I’m embracing every single moment that is thrown at me.”
Having seen her grass-court preparation limited to just seven games due to injury earlier in the summer in Nottingham, Raducanu was keen to put the loss against Garcia into perspective.
“Coming into this I didn’t really have many expectations of myself. Playing on Centre Court again was, again, a really positive experience for me. So, yeah, I can take it going forwards.
“I declared myself fully fit when I walked out onto the court on the first day. But I’ve played seven hours of tennis in a month. To even compete with these girls at this level and win a round I think is a pretty good achievement.”
Reflecting on the match, Raducanu added: “I think it was first-strike tennis. She served really well today. I didn’t really have any looks, I felt, many second serves. Even when I did, they were tricky ones with the wind holding them up.
“I think that serving-wise my ball speed was just lower in general. I don’t know. Maybe it was the conditions. But I just didn’t have enough ball speed today.”
Raducanu burst onto the scene a year ago as she reached the fourth round at Wimbledon as a wild card and then won the US Open as a qualifier.
But her 2022 season has been disrupted by injuries which have prevented her from building any consistency on tour.
She says she is learning every week as she faces different players who know her game better than they did at the start of the year.
“Of course it will make me a better player because they’re just highlighting all my weaknesses.
“Then when you do it on a big court like that, it’s definitely magnified. It’s just great for me to get all these lessons at such a young age so that when I’m in my mid 20’s, I’ll have those issues or little glitches in my game sorted.
“I’ll just get better. I’ll just look at what’s not working, what my weaknesses are, improve them. It’s good for me.
“These lessons are coming every single week. It’s just a reminder you got to do this, this, and that. It comes from different players so it just highlights it.
“For me it’s just something to improve on.”