A Bromley teenager has vowed to keep playing every point like it is her last after she extended her Wimbledon “holiday” into the weekend.
Former Newstead Woods pupil Emma Raducanu, 18, produced a remarkable performance on Thursday night to beat 2019 French Open finalist Marketa Vondrousova 6-2 6-4 in the second round.
After being handed a late wild card into the main draw, the world number 338 has become the youngest British woman to reach round three since the late Elena Baltacha in 2002.
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Raducanu, who is waiting for her A-Level results, was not even born then but victory over Vitalia Diatchenko on Wednesday was backed up with an even better showing to knock out her Czech rival in one hour and 12 minutes on Court 12.
“Being someone who has not been able to compete much and who has always been held back by something, to be at the Championships I feel like I am on a holiday. It is unbelievable and I just want to stay here for as long as I can,” she said.
“Playing in front of a home crowd definitely helps. The support is so loud and they are so behind me. I am really grateful so I have that in the back of my mind.
“Also I was just thinking to play every point like it was my last and like it was match point or my last point at Wimbledon. I think that is also a trick I have been playing with myself.”
Back in April the Toronto-born player, who moved to the United Kingdom at the age of two, was sitting her A Levels in maths and economics at Newstead School.
A combination of injuries, studies and the coronavirus pandemic have halted the progress of the highly-rated right-hander, but she has taken her chance at SW19 this week.
Before her main draw debut at the All England Club, Raducanu revealed she inadvertently practiced with her second-round opponent and more importantly against 2017 Wimbledon winner Garbine Muguruza.
She revealed: “I hit with Marketa once last week for an hour but I actually hit with Garbine Muguruza so I was so chuffed to be able to hit with her and see how intense she was.
“It definitely made something click in my head that this is the level I need to be training at and that I need to be this intense if I want to achieve anything remotely near to what Garbine has.
“That definitely was a small turning point in my head and I even got the call up to hit with her again so that made me feel really good that I produced in the first hit.”
Raducanu signalled her intent during the opening game against Vondrousova, even if two of her shots almost hit the back fence of Court 12.
Her confidence did not waiver and she reeled off five games in a row against a player ranked almost 300 places higher before the opener was clinched in 29 minutes.