Emma Raducanu did a fine job of grabbing the bull by its proverbial horns in her anticipated return to Wimbledon, shaking off a side injury to dispatch dangerous floater Alison van Uytvanck, 6-4, 6-4.

The reigning US Open champion then switched into more casual attire for her post-match obligations, and was soon seen sporting Rafael Nadal’s signature Nike logo as she arrived for her press conference.

Asked about the subtle tribute, Raducanu admitted she’s aiming to channel the 22-time Grand Slam champ during what has been a high-pressure return to her home tournament.

“I think Rafa just embodies fight, that sort of energy,” she explained. “That's what I'm bringing in. In terms of energy-wise, I think that I have had a tough year, like it's no secret. It is all worth it just to go out on Centre Court and get a win like that.”


Raducanu has indeed struggled to replicate her maiden major-winning form since lifting the trophy in Flushing Meadows, making just one WTA quarterfinal in 2022—at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix earlier this spring.

Nadal, by contrast, has been unbeatable on the game’s biggest stages, capturing the first two legs of the Calendar Year Grand Slam at the Australian Open and Roland Garros.

Unable to formally defend her fourth-round ranking points due to the All England Club’s ban of Russian and Belarusian players, the British teenager can nonetheless restore enthusiasm about her tennis as she prepares to make a projected Top 10 debut.

“I definitely am very happy to be here,” she continued. “All the lessons I've taken from the last year will only hold me in good stead for the future.”

Seeded No. 10 at SW19, Raducanu will next face former world No. 4 Caroline Garcia in the second round.