The British tennis player Emma Raducanu failed to beat the French Caroline García in the second round of Wimbledon (6-3 and 6-3) on Wednesday, a very early setback that left the London public frozen, but not the young star at all.
Cheered on by center court spectators at the All England Club, Raducanu was not blamed for the loss despite being seeded 10th and had reason not to be too disappointed at her early exit.
“Obviously it’s hard to lose any game but I think Caroline played a great game,” said the 19-year-old Briton.
She had reached the last 16 on the grass at Wimbledon last year, before her surprise US Open triumph from qualifying, but she is still learning and refuses to put too much pressure on herself.
“When I got here, I really didn’t have any expectations. And playing on Center Court again was a positive experience for me,” he said. “So yeah, I can make progress taking all of this in,” she added.
It is also a sign of evolution that he has refused to hide behind his recent physical problems to justify his second-round exit at home.
Following her first round exit at Nottingham due to a left flank injury, she was forced to curtail her preparation on the short grass circuit and withdrew at Birmingham and Eastbourne.
“I did not feel anything (on the court). I realized that I was fully recovered when I entered the court on the first day,” he said, although he acknowledged that due to his injury “he had only played seven hours of tennis in a month.”
“Rivalling these players, at this level, and getting through a round, I think that’s already a pretty good achievement,” she stressed, aware of the disappointment her elimination could cause.
“Yes, there was a lot of attention on me,” he admitted, “but I already have a Grand Slam title and no one can take it from me. The pressure must be on those who have never won one,” he insisted.
There are players even younger than her who have dominated the circuit accumulating titles, Raducanu assured that she was not “programmed” like the historical Monica Seles, for example, to reach her peak so soon.
Her balance on the circuit is 10 wins against 14 losses since she became the first British woman to win one of the four Grand Slams of the season in New York, since Virginia Wade did it in 1977, but in each defeat she sees a opportunity to progress.
“All this is going to make me a better player because (losses) reveal my flaws,” she said.
“It’s great for me to get all these lessons at such a young age, because then when I’m in my twenties, all these little problems or little flaws in my game will be fixed,” Raducanu confided, resolutely optimistic and ambitious.
Now she will begin her preparation on the hard court with the tournament in Washington and the return to Flushing Meadows as the defending champion, which, she promises, will not be a burden on her shoulders.
“Going back to New York will be great, because I have a lot of experience playing on big courts with many people in the stadium and with the spotlight on (me),” said the player, who last year had already acknowledged preferring the relaxation of not playing in home, under the pressure of an audience with high expectations.
Defending the title “doesn’t bother me,” he said. “For me, everything is material to learn. I appreciate every moment that is put in front of me,” she said with a smile.