British tennis has a new star on its hands as 18-year-old wildcard Emma Raducanu progressed to the last 16 of Wimbledon, though her tournament was cut short in cruel fashion.
During her contest with Australian Ajla Tomljanović, Raducanu was more than holding her own in, a closely fought first set just falling the way of her opponent who took it six games to four.
The second set's opening exchanges were dominated by Tomljanović, who was up by three games to love before Raducanu sought medical attention as she was struggling to breathe.
Speaking to BBC Sport, the teenager has now explained what happened and how she is feeling less than 24 hours after the concerning display.
"I’m feeling a lot better this morning, I’m just glad to have recovered this quickly," Raducanu said.
“I think that, in the moment I mean, on Court 1 the atmosphere was once again incredible to play in front of. I’m obviously very disappointed that I couldn’t finish the match.
"I really, really wanted to be able to compete and try my best but the medical advice was to pull out and I followed it because their advice was for the best in the end.”
When asked by Sue Barker how she felt on court, Raducanu revealed: “I found it very difficult to regulate my breathing.
"I think it was emphasised by some very long rallies that we had towards the end of the first set which made it tough for me to keep my composure and the breathing in check and then the beginning of the second set was when I struggled with it most and I called the trainer on and made the decision at the end of the change over.”
In terms of what triggered the issue, Raducanu wasn't entirely sure but heralded it as a learning curve, explaining: “No I don’t know what caused it. I think that it was a combination of everything that has gone on behind the scenes in the last week and an accumulation of the excitement and the buzz.
"I think it’s a great learning experience for me going forwards and hopefully next time I’ll be better prepared.”
Ranked 336 in the world, Raducanu conceded the Wimbledon crowds were the biggest she had played in front of by some distance, when asked what kind of crowds she was used to she claimed: “I’m not sure maybe one hundred people or something so to play on Court 1 in front of that many people was an amazing opportunity and I’d like to thank the All England Club and the LTA for their support and believing in me, giving me the chance to be able to play in front of such a crowd, it’s been the best week of my life honestly.”
Some have speculated whether the fact her game was delayed by up to two hours had any impact on her mental state, but she quashed that theory.
“I think that I was prepared to go out there whatever time of day I had to, I was so excited and you know I didn’t find a problem with that at all, just to have the opportunity to play on court 1 is something I cherished and really appreciate so I don’t think it was a problem," the youngster continued.
“I think it was a new experience playing under the roof with the lights, it was definitely louder it was a bit hotter, so just to settle in I think at the beginning both of us had a bit of a nervy start but we started to play our way in to it.
"It was a close game at 4-all, I had a couple of break points and once again the crowd were amazing they were completely behind me and I’m so so grateful.”
The 18-year-old went on to claim how the entire experience of playing at Wimbledon had been the 'best week' of her life, claiming: “Yeah I’ve had the best time of my life, I mean this whole week has just been absolutely incredible I have never felt support like it.
"I’m just so grateful for every single person who cheered me on during the matches and every message I’ve received via social media so I would just like to thank absolutely everyone who got in touch and supported me the last two weeks.”
Her newfound fame has inevitably lead to a boom in popularity on social media, with the teenager revealing how her Instagram account has been shut due to the rise in followers.
“It is kind of funny because my Instagram actually locked me out I think they thought I was a robot or something so we are trying to fix that right now," Raducanu continued.
“I think this week we’ve done a great job me and my team, I haven’t spent that much time on my phone and haven’t really checked any of the news so we’ve just been in our bubble doing our own thing and focussing on the process, doing everything that we can that’s in our power and in our control to get myself ready for the match ahead.
"I think that my team have done a great job at supporting me this week, this whole experience is very new for me so to have such a team like that to really get behind me so yeah I’ve been very grateful for them.”
Raducanu revealed she has already been in contact with her family despite being unable to see them just yet, revealing “I saw them in the crowd and I have spoken to them on the phone so they are all good. I assured them I was fine and I will see them later tonight.”
She even gave her views on England's upcoming Euro 2020 semi-final clash against Denmark, predicting “England 2-1” when asked how she thinks the fixture will end.
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