Raducanu has 'rekindled love for tennis'

Emma Raducanu clenches her left fist on the tennis court
Raducanu has been given a wildcard for Wimbledon [Getty Images]

Emma Raducanu says she has "rekindled" her love for tennis and is excited about what she might now achieve.

The 21-year-old Briton spoke in April of being "mentally and emotionally exhausted" after losing heavily to Argentine qualifier Maria Lourdes Carle in the Madrid Open first round.

She then missed the French Open to ensure she was fully fit for the grass-court season, having endured an injury-plagued 2023 campaign.

Raducanu returned to competition at the Nottingham Open earlier this month and enjoyed a rewarding run to the semi-finals.

Despite losing to eventual champion and British number one Katie Boulter, Raducanu says she feels "brighter and bubblier" now.

"It's a nice feeling for me because it hasn't always been the case," the 2021 US Open winner told BBC TV.

"I'm very happy to have rekindled the love for tennis and just enjoying the challenges that come with it and not getting so down about it, just trying a way to go around."

Raducanu will continue preparation for the start of Wimbledon next week when she takes on Sloane Stephens, a fellow former US Open champion, at Eastbourne on Tuesday.

Asked when she had got her spark back, Raducanu told reporters: "I would say right before Nottingham it happened.

"I'm just really grateful to have this feeling again because it's something that I feel like I've been missing in a way for the last few years, and I haven't felt this good about my tennis and excited about it and passionate for a long, long time."

Raducanu, the former British number one, is ranked 168th in the world following wrist and ankle operations last year.

She has decided to prioritise a return to full fitness over playing time this season, which is why she skipped Roland Garros and has turned down the chance to play for Great Britain at this summer's Olympics.

"I really feel like I'm in a lot better spirits on and off the court," Raducanu said.

"Someone actually commented the other day - 'Oh, it's like you're back to your old self' - and I'd actually say, 'No, it's my new self' because I have the experiences that I've learned from the past me, too."