EASTBOURNE, England -- As Emma Raducanu sat down for a roundtable at the Rothesay International, she surveyed the 20 or so reporters eagerly sitting in front of her and let out a cackle. 

"Oh my god," Raducanu said, laughing. "Should we get a squad pic?"

She wasn't joking. The 21-year-old champion urged her agent to snap a photo of the scene before getting down to business. 

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It was a small interaction, but one that gave insight into Raducanu's buoyant energy during the grass season. She would be the first to admit, it hasn't always felt like this. 

From mobility scooter back to the grass courts, Raducanu ready for comeback

"I'm just really into it at the moment," Raducanu told reporters. "I just love the sport. I love tennis. It's kind of just taken over me and I've really rekindled a light and a fire inside of me. Just very happy and enjoying it a lot."

The trigger for Raducanu's refreshed spirit? The grass season. More specifically, the grass season at home.

Raducanu was still on the injury sidelines last summer when the UK grass season came around. And lest we forget, she planted the seeds of her historic US Open breakthrough that year at Wimbledon. Ranked No.338 in 2021, Raducanu made good on her main-draw wild card, notching wins over Marketa Vondrousova and Sorana Cirstea to make the Round of 16. 


A few months later, Raducanu became the first qualifier in the Open Era to win a Grand Slam title. The three years that have followed have been marred by injuries that limited her training and eventually led to multiple surgeries last year. 

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

"I was trying to figure out 'Why.' What's my why? And now I just love what I'm doing and that's the best place to be."

- Emma Raducanu

"Now it's really comforting for me because I'm way less focused on the result because I know with the way that I'm training and the way that I'm competing and fighting on the court, good things are 100 percent going to happen and I have full faith and belief in that now. I can actually say it and mean it at the same time, rather than just saying it." 

Now ranked No.168 on the PIF WTA Rankings, Raducanu started her grass season with a march to the semifinals at the Rothesay Open in Nottingham. She lost out in a tight three sets to Britain's top-ranked player, Katie Boulter.

Making her Eastbourne debut on Tuesday, Raducanu dropped just four games to Sloane Stephens to advance to the second round.