Emma Raducanu uses England's Euro 2024 victory as 'motivation' by 'winning ugly' in Wimbledon opener

Emma Raducanu said she took inspiration from England's close victory at Euro 2024 by "winning ugly" in her opening match at Wimbledon.

The 21-year-old struck lucky when her scheduled opponent, 22nd seed Ekaterina Alexandrova, withdrew on Monday morning due to illness.

Her replacement, Mexican Renata Zarazua, seemed a more welcome challenge on paper, but the world number 98 is a tricky player and Raducanu survived some difficult moments in a 7-6 (0) 6-3 victory on Centre Court.

In her on-court interview, Raducanu referred to England's close win over Slovakia in Germany, saying: "Like watching the football last night, winning ugly - it all counts."

She added: "Last night, I had a feeling that they would still turn it around.

"The people I was watching with were like, 'I don't know'. It was getting to the 93rd minute. [I said], 'I have a feeling, I have a feeling'. Then Jude [Bellingham] hit that insane goal.

"When I'm watching, I'm listening to the commentary, I can almost picture it. It's just the way the story flips, depending on how the result is going.

"For sure, I sympathise with the players who are being told they need to play a lot better, need to play perfect. I think at the end of the day, it's about getting over the line.

"Today I used it as motivation. It doesn't need to be beautiful, it doesn't need to be perfect. As long as you get through the opening rounds, you give yourself another chance to play better.

"For circumstances to align, as long as you're still in the tournament, you keep giving yourself that chance."

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Drop shots and chopped forehands

Zarazua, who had never won a tour-level grass-court match and was making her main draw Wimbledon debut, stumped Raducanu at times with drop shots and chopped forehands.

The British player lost her break advantage in the first set and the match could have gone either way until the tie-break, when Raducanu seized the initiative.

There was also a tense start to the second set, with Raducanu serving two break points in the third game, but she then held her nerve and eventually took Britain's first win of the tournament.

She was making her return to Centre Court two years on from her last appearance following wrist and ankle surgeries.

Raducanu will face experienced Belgian Elise Mertens in the next round.