Ex-British star details why Emma Raducanu is primed to be 'Wimbledon breakout story'

Raducanu reached the Nottingham semifinal last week and she is also feeling fully healthy.

by Dzevad Mesic
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Ex-British star details why Emma Raducanu is primed to be 'Wimbledon breakout story'
© Getty Images Sport - Julian Finney

Former British tennis star Laura Robson is tipping Emma Raducanu to be "the breakout story" of this year's Wimbledon as she feels everything is setting up perfectly for the 21-year-old to do well at The All England Club. 

Robson, who retired from pro tennis two years ago at the of 28 after years of struggling with injuries, has since been working as the tournament director of a WTA 250 tournament in Nottingham, as well as the Nottingham Challenger. Because of her role, former world No. 27 Robson had a chance to closely follow Raducanu's opening grass tournament of the year. 

At the start of her Nottingham run, Raducanu earned back-to-back wins over Ena Shibahara and Daria Snigur before Francesca Jones gave her a walkover in the quarterfinal. Playing in her first WTA semifinal since 2022 October, Raducanu came close to beating world No. 31 Katie Boulter but ultimately fell just short after Boulter completed a 6-7 (13) 6-3 6-4 win.

Despite the loss, Raducanu was very positive about her run and Robson believes that's a sign that Nottingham won't be the last good thing for the 2021 US Open champion this summer. 

"I think Emma Raducanu will have the moment of the tournament. Watching her last few matches in Nottingham, she played really well and was excited to be out there. She won the first match, then came up to me and was like, 'Can I play tomorrow?' as soon as she finished. She said, 'Let me just be out there.' It’s probably a while since I felt that sort of excitement from her," Robson told The Telegraph when asked to pick the 2024 Wimbledon breakout story.

Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu© Getty Images Sport - Nathan Stirk
 

Raducanu set to enter fully healthy and also very confident in her game 

After dominating her opening two matches in Nottingham, Raducanu stumbled upon fellow Brit Boulter, who was the defending champion at the tournament. When the match started on Saturday evening, Raducanu won a tight first-set versus Boulter that lasted an hour and 20 minutes. Unfortunately for Raducanu, the match was then suspended due to rain - and when the match continued - she didn't manage to seal the win as Boulter came back to win in three sets in three hours and 13 minutes of play.

But in her post-match press conference, there was no any negativity or pessimism on the 21-year-old's side, who was just extremely happy that she was able to play well and also stay fully healthy in the process. 

“I feel really good. After the match I went and did intervals, I feel strong. I feel like I could play tomorrow. I am just shaking off a bit of a bug and a cold but physically I am fine," Raducanu said. 

“I just feel fit, I feel strong. I didn’t pick up any niggles. Even at the start of this year, just gaining that match fitness and being able to day after day, it’s a good position for me to be in.

“Feeling a little fatigued but being in the latter stages of a tournament. There’s no point being super fresh if your out first round every week. I have come a long way. I physically feel really good. That block has just allowed me to do more work, more fitness. 

“I am starting to trust my body a lot more. I wouldn’t say I am the finished product at all but I am getting there.”

Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu© Getty Images Sport - Nathan Stirk
 

Next week, Raducanu is slated to play in Eastbourne, which will be her final preparation for Wimbledon.

What could be an issue for Raducanu at Wimbledon?

On Tuesday, Wimbledon announced their initial wildcard list and Raducanu's name was on it. While not having to play in the qualifying will certainly help the former world No. 10, there is still one thing that could potentially be an issue - she will be unseeded at The Championships and could possibly meet a top player or a seeded player in the first round. 

In the past, Raducanu reached the Wimbledon round-of-16 as a wildcard in her debut in 2021 before picking up a second-round loss to Caroline Garcia in 2022. Last year, the British tennis star missed Wimbledon because she was recovering from multiple surgeries. 

Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu © Getty Images Sport - Shaun Botterill
 

Over the weekend, Raducanu announced she was pulling out of the Paris Olympics because she didn't want to risk anything by going from grass to clay in a short time. Since Raducanu is out of the Paris Olympics won't have to think about anything else but Wimbledon in the upcoming period, it remains to be seen if it will help her in her bid to make a strong result at The Championships.

Emma Raducanu
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