Teen Ranked 338 Decides to Enjoy Run

Emma Raducanu reaches Round of 16 in her Wimbledon debut
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 3, 2021 5:15 PM CDT
Teen Ranked 338 Decides to Enjoy Run
Emma Raducanu plays a return to Romania's Sorana Cirstea on Saturday. Raducanu advances to play Monday.   (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

On Friday, Emma Raducanu asked if she could sit for a moment at Wimbledon's empty No. 1 Court, where she was scheduled to play the next day. The British 18-year-old wanted to get a feel for the venue and for her place in the tournament, the Guardian reports. "I thought if I'm not going to enjoy Court 1 at Wimbledon, home crowd, what are you going to enjoy?" she said later. "This is the cherry at the top of tennis." She did enjoy the match, beating Sorana Cirstea 6-3, 7-5, driven by the roar of the people watching at No. 1 Court. "I was just feeding off of their energy," Raducanu said. Cirstea, of Romania, is No. 45 in the world. Raducanu, a wild card entry, is No. 338. She hadn't played a tour-level match before last month. She heads to Wimbledon's Round of 16 without having dropped a set in the tournament, and will face Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia on Monday. Raducanu is the youngest British player to make the fourth round in more than 50 years.

Among the people who weren't sure Raducanu would make the Round of 16 are her parents. "When I was packing to come into the bubble, my parents said 'Aren't you packing too many sets of match kit?'" she said. Now Raducanu needs her laundry done, she told the crowd. And if the tournament weren't enough pressure, Raducanu is waiting for the results of her high school exams, per the AP. The pandemic restrictions might keep her from getting caught up in the attention, she said. "In a way maybe it does help being in this own little world and bubble, that you don’t really go outside or see anyone." To be safe, she said she's going to turn over her phone to her osteopath for now. After her victory Saturday, former American player James Blake praised her play, per CNN. "Possibly more impressive, I saw her clean up her own trash at the end of the match," Blake tweeted, adding, "Don't change." (Read more Wimbledon stories.)

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