Raducanu to take ‘crash course’ ahead of doubles date with Murray

Emma Raducanu will take a last-minute ‘crash course’ in doubles as she prepares to partner Andy Murray at Wimbledon tonight.

The 2021 US Open champion, 21, channelled the spirit of her New York fairytale last night to inflict more Grand Slam misery on Maria Sakkari and keep her SW19 singles dream alive.

The Bromley ace had beaten the world No.9 in the semi-finals on her way to that historic Flushing Meadows triumph and emulated those thrilling exploits with a fluent 6-2 6-3 triumph under the Centre Court roof.

Today, Raducanu will return to the All England Club stage where she joins forces with two-time singles champion Murray, 37, in the mixed doubles on Court 1.

The Scot, who was forced to withdraw from this year’s singles competition through injury, succumbed to a men’s doubles defeat alongside brother Jamie on Thursday night before receiving an emotional farewell ceremony ahead of his upcoming retirement.

He will now turn his attention to a doubles date with Raducanu, 16 years his junior, under the Saturday night lights as they take on Salvadoran Marcelo Arevalo and China’s Shuai Zhang.

Raducanu possesses limited experience on the doubles court and hopes being mentored by Murray can propel them in the right direction.

After booking her place in the fourth round of the singles draw, she said: “I’ll just take direction and follow his lead.

“I think I have to do a crash course in doubles – but I’ll have fun regardless and of course, I’ll cherish the opportunity because it’s just such an honour.

“It’s just an amazing opportunity to be able to play with him. It’s something that I’m going to cherish.

“I love playing on the big courts. For me, I thrive on such occasions, on big stages – it’s something that I play tennis for.

“I just love the feeling of it, competing, especially here in front of a home crowd. It is really amazing.”

In front of a raucous home crowd on Friday, Raducanu bounced around Centre Court to deliver a dazzling display and secure a straight sets triumph that catapulted her into the last 16.

That equals her run to the same stage when she burst onto the scene three years ago and next she will face New Zealand qualifier Lulu Sun, where she will go in as the red-hot favourite to advance to the quarter-finals.

Raducanu played with the energy, verve and swagger that saw her go all the way in the Big Apple three years ago and with the draw now opening up in her favour – she would not face another seed until the semi-finals – few would bet against her threatening to do something similarly special once again.

Asked where that ranked in the most fun she’d had on court since that remarkable Flushing Meadows triumph, she said: “Number two, for sure.

“I mean, even the points I was losing, the long points or certain situations, even when I lost the point, I found myself smiling or laughing to myself because I was just enjoying competing.

“I was just enjoying the battle, I was just appreciating the good tennis that was being played by my opponent who is of course going to come out with some amazing points because, yeah, she’s class.

“Tennis is pretty brutal in the way you have to enjoy it tonight and then tomorrow you’re already thinking about the next one – it’s just like that.

“You can win the tournament but you can lose first round the next week – it’s the sport.

“I’m just trying to cherish every moment I have here.”

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