Just a few months ago at Wimbledon, a relatively unknown Emma Raducanu took to the court with self-belief and a quiet talent – a talent that had not only escaped the spotlight thrust upon many of her peers, but had also gone unnoticed for some time. She may have been far from a household name when stepping onto the court, but within a matter of hours Raducanu was the name on everybody’s lips. She started the competition ranked 338th in the world and defied all expectation to become the youngest British woman to make it to the Round of 16 during the competition’s Open Era. Such a feat was staggering but was also telling of the career that lies ahead of Raducano: she isn’t one to be written off. She is a fighter, with pure grit and determination. And her career is only just beginning.
Raducano unfortunately had to withdraw from the competition’s fourth round due to dizziness and breathing difficulties. And if it was any wonder what we might have witnessed from her at Wimbledon, you need only look at her comeback at the US Open where she reached the final and won. Her advancement to the finals was incredible, with Raducanu coming up against far more mature and higher-ranked players, yet defeating them with apparent ease. In an interview with Sky News after the semi-final, she said: “I knew I had some sort of level inside of me that was similar to these girls, but I didn’t know if I was able to maintain it over a set or over two sets. To be able to do it and play the best players in the world and beat them, I honestly can’t believe it.”
She added, “It’s been extremely difficult because they always fight, they have so much experience which they use. I’m just so, so proud to have come through very tough moments in all my matches. It means a lot to be here in this situation. I wanted obviously to be playing Grand Slams, but I didn’t know how soon that would be. To be in a Grand Slam final at this stage of my career…I have no words.”
That Raducanu seems destined for great things in the sport is without question. The priority now will be ensuring she is nurtured – both in terms of her talent but also her emotional and mental state. As Naomi Osaka has proven, the sudden fame that comes with a Grand Slam victory can be unsettling, throwing your world into turmoil and leading you to associate self-worth with victory and accomplishment. While Raducanu certainly has a prolific career ahead of her, it’s important to remember she is still so young. Now a household name, perhaps it’s time we got to know the tennis sensation a little better. Here’s everything you need to know about the young tennis star.
Raducanu was born in Canada but later moved with her family to London when she was just two-years-old. She’s a high-achiever both on and off the tennis court, known for her high grades and smashing her A-levels, while also devoting a significant amount of her time to tennis.
In an interview, Raducanu said about her schooling, “Everyone thinks I’m absolutely fanatic about my school results. They think I have such an inflated ego about it.”
She added, “I think my parents just think I’m crazy. I won’t accept anything less than an A star. I think that’s what people around me think about me. I also feel like I have to live up to that expectation now. That’s why I also work so hard to try and get those grades. I’m not sure what I’m going to come back with, but I did my part, I did my best.”
After her stunning performance at Wimbledon, Raducanu quickly became a fan-favourite and even attracted the attention of celebrities around the world who were quick to express their support of the young star. She told BBC Sport, “I think Wimbledon was an extremely positive experience. I learnt so much just about my game, and what it takes to perform at the top.”
Liam Gallagher of Oasis Tweeted before her Wimbledon match, “Get on the Les Dennis tday and get behind Emma Raducanu celestial talent.”
After she posted an emotional Tweet about her need to withdraw from Wimbledon, celebrities were quick to express their support. Marcus Rashford tweeted, “You should be very proud of yourself. The country is proud of you. Glad to read your feeling better. Onwards and upwards.”
Records are already falling
Following her advancement to the Round of 16 at Wimbledon in the ‘Open Era’ of tennis, Emma became just the fourth British teenager to make it. She’s the first qualifier to ever reach a grand slam final in history and at 18-years-old, the youngest since Maria Sharapova won Wimbledon in 2004 at the age of 17.
In an interview with WTA Tennis, Raducanu explained: “I think for me, someone who has not been able to compete much, has always been sort of held back by something, I think that just to be able to be at The Championships, I feel like I’m on holiday, like it’s unbelievable. I just want to stay here for as long as I can.”
She added, “I think playing in front of a home crowd definitely helps. I mean, their support is so loud and they’re so behind me. I’m really grateful. I’ve definitely got that in the back of my mind.”
Born to be a star
According to Raducanu’s coach, Matt James, she was born to be a star as the coach expressed that he could tell she was something special. “The mindset and the maturity on the match court you don’t see very often, I hadn’t seen at all really. So that was quite exciting. This is the first time she’s fully committed to a tennis career so it’s great she’s had success so quickly. But it was just a case of when. It was going to be inevitable with her that she was going to burst onto the scene. It’s probably a little bit sooner than I thought because she hasn’t played many matches in the last year but she’s really taken her opportunity.”
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