Emma Raducanu puts down critics with very smart statement

Raducanu addressed her critics after starting her Wimbledon run with a win.

by Dzevad Mesic
Emma Raducanu puts down critics with very smart statement
© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Emma Raducanu didn't use strong words or anything like that when firing back at her critics following her Wimbledon first-round win but she made a comment that would probably every one of her critics think twice when deciding to go at her next time. 

On Monday, Raducanu - who is playing at this year's Wimbledon as a wildcard - started her third main draw campaign at The Championships with a 7-6 (0) 6-3 win over Mexican lucky loser Renata Zarazua. When the opening day started, the British tennis star was scheduled to play against No. 22 seed but that match didn't happen after the Russian pulled out due to illness. 

For Raducanu, it was her first Wimbledon match since 2022 and receiving big criticism for losing in the second round that year. And after making a winning return, the 2021 US Open champion addressed the criticism and scrutiny she has faced over the last few years, saying that the real problem is when nobody talks about you. 

"I think it (criticism that athletes and managers get when they are not performing well) just comes down to success. I think when they're not talking about you, that's when you need to start to worry," Raducanu said.

Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Raducanu drew inspiration from the English national football team

After Alexandrova withdrew and Raducanu learned that she would be taking on world No. 98 Zarazua in her opener, the expectations instantly grew on the Briton since many had her as a strong favorite. But against the 26-year-old lucky loser, everything didn't go smoothly for Raducanu but she still managed to escape with a two-set win despite having just 17 winners compared to 30 unforced errors in the match.

After the match, the 21-year-old Briton said she "won ugly" but in her eyes, it didn't matter. 

"It was an incredibly difficult match. It took a lot of strength to get over the line. All props to her. In the morning you're not in the draw and then you're playing in Centre Court," Raducanu. 

"It took a little bit of adjusting and finding my feet. I just want to say thanks to everyone for the support. I'm incredibly happy to be back here of course. I was nervous for sure, I think people could see that in my tennis.

"Honestly, like watching the football last night, winning ugly... it all counts!"

Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

A night earlier, England was 0-1 down to Slovakia in the European Championships round-of-16 before Jude Bellingham leveled the match in the last minute to force an overtime, in which Harry Kane completed England's comeback. 

"Last night, I had a feeling that they would still turn it around. The people I was watching with were like, 'I don't know.' It was getting to the 93rd minute. (I said), 'I have a feeling, I have a feeling.' Then Jude (Bellingham) hit that insane goal," Raducanu explained. 

"When I'm watching, I'm listening to the commentary, I can almost picture it. It's just the way the story flips, depending on how the result is going.

"Today I used it as motivation. It doesn't need to be beautiful, it doesn't need to be perfect. As long as you get through the opening rounds, you give yourself another chance to play better. For circumstances to align, as long as you're still in the tournament, you keep giving yourself that chance."

Raducanu keeping her expectations low 

Raducanu reaching the Nottingham semifinal and then also making some noise in Eastbourne led to the British tennis star being tipped to also do well at Wimbledon. When told about Tim Henman's predicting she would reach the second week at Wimbledon, Raducanu responded by claiming in her press conference that she would just be happy to get past her first-round match.

And after doing that, the 2021 US Open champion refused to make any big predictions, simply insisting that she is taking it match by match.

“As I said in the first press conference, I’d be over the moon if I won my first round here. And I really am. I feel just the joy to be on site, the joy to be part of the buzz. I’m really just enjoying myself," Raducanu said.

“I think that each match I win should be celebrated a lot… because I know how hard matches are to win, to come by. Having had a few wins under my belt, I’m really cherishing every single one because I know how difficult it is to be on the flip side of it.”

Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

In her next match, Raducanu plays against world No. 33 Elise Mertens. Although Mertens has twice made the Wimbledon round-of-16, it is still not the worst of the matchups for Raducanu and she will probably like her chances against the Belgian.

Emma Raducanu Wimbledon