Wimbledon 2022: No fairytales for Raducanu after second round exit

Emma Raducanu can certainly tell you that in virtually every way possible Wimbledon isn’t Flushing Meadows.

From the vertigo inducing top row of the Arthur Ashe Stadium you can just about make out the west coast of Ireland, while fans usually only stop talking to eat or take a phone call.

In contrast, one Raducanu supporter had his collar felt by a stern-faced Navy Wren for having the temerity to stand up on Centre Court, a place where a reverential hush contrasts the US Open’s raucous hum.

‘Pretend we’re in New York’ bellowed one wag as the tenth seed slipped to a 6-3 6-3 defeat to France’s Caroline Garcia, who proved a banana skin opponent for the girl who rose to fame in the Big Apple last year.

However, this was a reality check in only her second match on this gilded stage, Garcia ruthlessly dismantling her game with a series of pounding ground strokes and thumping winners.

Garcia slammed down 13 aces while Raducanu struggled to find her range and rhythm in blustery conditions. She had more double faults than aces, four to three, while she won just over half her points on first serve.

That stat alone she would lead to defeat against virtually any player in the world’s top 100, with Garcia, a one-time world number four, 44 places below the British number one in the current rankings.

No wonder the atmosphere was flatter than a Crepe Suzette.

“I didn’t have many expectations coming into Wimbledon and playing on Centre Court again was another great experience that I can take forward,” said Raducanu, who overcame a side strain injury scare to make only her second All England Club appearance.

“It’s tough to lose any match but she played a great game and I struggled to find a way through her.

“I was fully fit when I walked out on court on the first day but I’ve played seven hours of tennis in a month, so to win a round at Wimbledon is still a pretty good achievement.”

British expectation comes with the territory at Wimbledon but Raducanu is right to point out this was no shock defeat.

This was Garcia’s 84th singles match in a major tournament, in contrast the British teenager has played only 15.

In addition she has barely trained since her exit from the French Open and the foundation of her US Open win was matches, ten in just over a fortnight taking her from qualifying to the trophy in a sporting story that even though you know is true, still sounds like the stuff of fantasy.

And in a quirk of the rankings, despite this defeat, Raducanu will still leave Wimbledon having cracked the world’s top ten for the first time. There are silver linings for a player who needs time and our patience to find her place.

“I don’t feel any pressure, I’m still 19, I’ve already won a Slam and no one is ever taking that away from me,” she added.

“I need to look at what’s not working, what my weaknesses are. I’m getting lessons every week and that’s a positive thing.

“Going back to New York is going to be cool, I don’t mind the spotlight, I’m just embracing every moment that is thrown at me.”

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