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Emma Raducanu will take her place as one of the headline acts of Wimbledon when the tournament kicks off on Monday.
The idea of one British grand slam champion featuring on the Centre Court bill would have been unthinkable a couple of decades ago but these are heady days and the opening triumvirate sees Raducanu follow defending champion Novak Djokovic and precede Andy Murray.
“I think that’s a pretty cool line-up,” said Raducanu, who will be making her Centre Court bow.
“Just to be included amongst those names is special in itself. I never would have thought that. I’m obviously looking forward to getting out there.”
Whether Raducanu can hope to match last year’s run to the fourth round, or even push towards echoing her remarkable US Open triumph, will become clearer when she begins her match against dangerous Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck.
Raducanu has declared herself fit and ready to go, and there will certainly be no hiding place if the side strain she suffered in Nottingham three weeks ago is still niggling.
They have met once before, at a second tier tournament in Chicago last summer, when Van Uytvanck was the top seed and Raducanu still a promising up-and-comer.
The British number one won that one but Van Uytvanck is a proven performer on grass having reached the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2018, while she won a warm-up tournament in Italy last weekend.
Raducanu, who has managed just seven competitive games on grass this season, said: “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.
“But she’s a really 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.
“It’s definitely going to be a tough match-up, but every match is at this level. I’m still ready to go.”
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27/06/2022
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