Curling: Eve Muirhead has 'big shoes to fill' subbing for rival Swedish skip

Eve Muirhead curling

She is Scotland's curling powerhouse but even Eve Muirhead admits she has "big shoes to fill" when she subs for Olympic gold medallist Anna Hasselborg this week in Canada.

The 28-year-old will step in for the Swedish skip at Humpty's Champions Cup while Hasselborg competes in the World Mixed Doubles Championship.

"Anna has been one of my biggest rivals for many years now and we always have great battles on the ice," she told BBC Scotland.

"It's going to be strange playing in the same team as them."

Team Hasselborg topped the podium in PyeongChang in 2018 before going on to collect silver at the World Championship and winning the European title.

"In my eyes they're the most consistent team in the world by a long way," said Muirhead.

"Of course you're going to learn a lot but it's going to be interesting seeing how other teams work and they'll be looking to see how I work as well."

The Scot has played alongside the Swedes before, at the Continental Cup in Las Vegas last year as Team Europe, which she hopes will help her adjust.

"Obviously on ice you're fierce competitors, but soon as you're off it you're good friends," she said. "We've gelled well at a lot of different events.

"I'll share a lot of my knowledge of the grand slams and so will they and that will hopefully put us in a good position going into it."

Muirhead's own rink did not qualify for the final grand slam of the season in Saskatoon (23-28 April), as the curler has been recovering from hip surgery this season and has not played competitively since the final of the Scottish Championship in February.

But now the Olympic bronze medallist and former Scottish, European and world champion has a chance to show she remains a major threat.

"To get the call from the girls to ask me to play with them was really quite special," she said. "I just have to enjoy it and after such a tough season it's allowed me to finish on a bit of a high."

Scotland will be represented in the men's competition, with Bruce Mouat and Ross Paterson leading teams in Canada.

"Unfortunately, my brothers' team qualified but couldn't go due to work commitments," explained Muirhead, referring to siblings Glen and Thomas who will be busy with lambing on their farm.

"There's a large Scottish lot there, no one in ladies but I'll be there, although not sure if I'm classed as Scottish or Swedish."

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