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Tim Henman understands why Emma Raducanu will be “frustrated” with her preparations for Wimbledon. The 19-year-old is making her return to Wimbledon, 12 months after being handed a wildcard for her first major.
Raducanu shocked everyone by reaching the second week of Wimbledon last year, making her the youngest British woman to make the round of 16 at SW19 in the Open Era. Better was yet to come though as just two months later she made history in winning the US Open without dropping a single set in the tournament.
That result catapulted Raducanu to superstardom and expectations were immediately placed on her young shoulders to go on to dominate the WTA Tour. Some cautioned placing too much pressure on Raducanu at such a young age and her progress stagnated after her US Open triumph.
She’s already been forced to retire from three matches in 2022 so far through injury, the latest coming at the Nottingham Open earlier this month. Recent reports indicate that Raducanu is recovering well from the side strain and is on course to be fit for the Championships.
JUST IN: Emma Raducanu to enter Wimbledon draw as Brit’s team hopeful she’s fit
But the injury curtailed her pre-tournament plans and Henman believes the latest blow will come as further frustration for the teenager.
“He preparation has not been ideal and no one will be more frustrated than Emma herself because she wants to be out there competing,” Henman told Tennis365. “The matches she has lost this year on tour, very little has been about her tennis.
“It’s been more to do with the physicality. She needs to build up that resilience and have time away from tournament play to build up those training blocks. From 12 months ago, it has just been non-stop and the opportunity she had at the end of last year was ruined because she got Covid and was stuck in a hotel room for three weeks.
“So she has had plenty of bumps in the road, but you have got to stay patient because she is on a long journey and is going to be fine.”
The women’s singles draw will see a new champion crowned this summer after Ashleigh Barty announced her retirement from tennis earlier this year. Young Iga Swiatek is being tipped as the early tournament favourite having won an incredible four out of her last five events.
The world No 1 reached the fourth round at Wimbledon last year before losing in three sets to Ons Jabeur. There will also be plenty of attention on Serena Williams, who is making her comeback after 12 months out having suffered an injury at Wimbledon last year in the opening round.
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