She’s gripped the nation with her astonishing rise to stardom at Wimbledon, but things could have been so different for Emma Raducanu this week had it not been for her unyielding perseverance.
The teenager became the youngest female Brit since 1959 to make it into the second week of Wimbledon after Saturday’s emphatic straight sets win against Sorana Cirstea.
Raducanu is set to shoot up the rankings as a result of her progress this week but she was forced to apply for a wildcard to play at SW19 as she’s currently ranked 338th in the world.
The committee initially declined the teenager direct entry, giving her a qualifying entry instead but Raducanu refused to take no for an answer.
That week she won two matches in Glasgow, beating four-time grand-slam winner Timea Babos along the way.
Wimbledon then felt compelled to give the teenager a wildcard entry and tournament CEO Sally Bolton says the initial decision was based on the facts at that point.
‘Wild card decisions are something we invest a lot of time and energy in considering,’ said Bolton.
‘Certainly Emma was considered alongside a number of other people for wild cards. I think her progress has been fantastic in the championships.
‘But of course at the point at which wildcards are decided you have to assess the evidence you have in front of you at that point in time.’
After her thrilling win on court 1 on Saturday, Raducanu was certainly overjoyed with the final decision to hand her a wildcard.
‘It’s incredible,” she said after beating Cirstea.
‘I’m so grateful for this wildcard. Honestly, I just wanted to make the most out of it, try to show that I earned it.
‘I’m really grateful for the All England Club’s support in taking a chance on me. And the way that I’m approaching my matches is each time I’m thinking to myself, ‘Why not?’.
‘Like today, I was like, ‘Someone has to be in the second week, why not me?’. I’m just trying to stay here as long as possible. As I said, I’m just having such a blast. Everything is so well taken care of that it’s such a pleasure to be here.’
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