BRITISH tennis prodigy Emma Raducanu gave a smiley thumbs up as she took her seat for the Wimbledon Ladies' final.

It was the 18-year-old's first time back at Wimbledon since she was forced to retire from her fourth-round clash against Alja Tomljanovic with breathing difficulties.

Ashleigh Barty is taking on Karolina Pliskova in the final on centre court.

Raducanu sought medical treatment inside the bowels of No1 Court but decided it was best to withdraw without completing the rest of the match last week.

She was trailing 6-4 3-0 down before falling ill.

The Bromley A-Level student banked £181,000 in prize money for reaching the third round on her debut – it was £300,000 for making the quarter-finals – and has won millions of new fans across the country.

The Kent wildcard decided to break her silence on social media after the disappointment and said thank you to all those who had supported her through this extraordinary and unexpected journey.

Raducanu said: “Hi guys, I wanted to let everyone know that I am feeling much better this morning.

“First up, I want to congratulate Ajla on an incredible performance and I’m sorry our match ended the way it did.

“I was playing the best tennis of my life in front of an amazing crowd this week and I think the whole experience caught up with me.


“At the end of the first set, after some super intense rallies, I started to breathe heavily and felt dizzy.

“The medical team advised me not to continue and although it felt like the hardest thing in the world not to be able to finish my Wimbledon on the court, I want to thank the people who have cheered me on every single match.

“I wanted to win so badly for you. I also want to thank the All England Club, my team, the LTA, my parents and friends.

“Last night will go a long way to helping me learn what it takes to perform at the top.

“I will cherish everything we have achieved together this week and come back stronger! Can’t wait to see what's next on my journey.”

Ranked 338th in the world at the start of the tournament, the 18-year-old was the youngest British female to make it into the ­second week at Wimbledon since Christine Truman in 1959.

After her untimely exit from this year's tournament, Manchester United and England star Marcus Rashford threw his support behind the teenager.

He tweeted: "It happened to me playing for the national team in U16s against Wales. I remember it to this day.

"No explanation for it and it never happened again.

"You should be very proud of yourself. The country is proud of you.

"Glad to read your feeling better. Onwards and upwards."

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