Emma Raducanu’s sky-high confidence means she’s destined for a glittering tennis future, believes Andy Murray’s coach Jamie Delgado.
Raducanu, No.338 on the WTA Rankings, was the lowest-ranked player at Wimbledon and received a wildcard into the main draw.
After beating qualifier Vitalia Diatchenko in straight sets in the opening round, the 18-year-old defeated top-50 players Marketa Vondrousova and Sorana Cirstea in straight sets to become the youngest British woman in 62 years to reach the second week at SW19.
For large parts of 2020, Raducanu was unable to play owing to the Covid-19 pandemic – with the teenager often having to hit in her street with her dad to get any form of practice.
She was later able to play in both the Battle of the Brits and then the UK Pro League – an innovative format devised by Delgado to provide British players with valuable match practice.
Raducanu soared to victory in the tournament in August last year and Delgado, who watched her triumph closely, believes having that opportunity laid the foundations for her memorable Wimbledon run.
“When there’s lockdowns and players have been struggling to get their number of matches up, I think weeks like that really do help with that gap and make up for the lack of tournaments they’ve played,” said Delgado.
“Someone like Emma is a great player regardless, but she would have played seven good matches a week and that will tick her over for a bit. She beat Harriet Dart there last year and generally played well. It was a really good week for her.
“Everyone in British tennis knows that Emma is an excellent player. We have seen her at the NTC practicing and she is practicing with better players. She has always been doing well, so from that side of things we’re not surprised by how good she is.
An incredible run on her #Wimbledon debut
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 12, 2021
“To go out into Wimbledon – the biggest tournament in the world – to be so confident and engage with the crowd and back it up with a few good matches, I think that was brilliant to see for everyone.”
Delgado was not surprised to see the level of tennis displayed by the teenager at the All-England Club, but admits he was particularly impressed by the way she embraced playing in front of a home crowd.
Raducanu’s tournament unfortunately ended in disappointment as she retired in the fourth round against Aija Tomljanovic after suffering breathing difficulties, though Delgado believes she is more than capable of bouncing back quickly.
He added: “In terms of what happened at the end, there’s been several young players who have had something similar happen.
“I’m sure she’ll learn from it.”
Jamie Delgado is the Player Director for the UK Pro League. Currently in its second year and with a prize fund of over £500k the UK Pro League is broadcast live on BT Sport and is the only place where the British player group come together to compete across the full year to earn a place in the lucrative end of season Finals Week. To find out more, visit: www.ukproleague.com