By Megan Wilson
At just 18 years old, Emma Raducanu has stunned the tennis world and beyond. Her breath-taking tennis at this year’s Wimbledon and US Open has caught many by surprise.
The talented teenager was born in Toronto, Canada, and moved to London when she was two years old. Raised by a Chinese mother and Romanian father, Raducanu has looked up to both grand slam winners Li Na of China and Simona Halep of Romania.
Despite achieving an A* in maths and an A in economics in her A-levels this August, her tennis, expectedly, remains to be her main priority.
At this year’s Wimbledon championships her scintillating tennis and endearing nature saw the young British star rise to fame almost overnight. With the support of the nation, she cruised past her first three opponents without dropping a set – beating the likes of career high world number 21 Sorana Cirstea.
Raducanu’s success into the fourth round also marked her as the first British teenager to reach this stage in a grand slam in over 60 years.
Alongside all her success also came the spotlight. The pressure of the moment and overwhelming emotions of previous triumphs in the week saw Raducanu forced to retire part way through the second set of her fourth-round match against world number 46 Ajla Tomljanovic due to breathing difficulties.
Despite her unfortunate exit at Wimbledon, the up-and-coming Brit showcased her amazing potential, won over the hearts of the nation, and as a result shot up the WTA rankings to number 150 in the world – her career high.
On the 31st of August Raducanu began her campaign at this year’s US Open in Flushing Meadows, New York. The Big Apple, known for its electric atmosphere and packed stadiums, has witnessed a new wave of ‘NextGen’ players. Fellow teenagers, Laylah Annie Fernandez and Carlos Alcaraz have also stunned the American crowds with their astounding form.
The US Open is only Raducanu’s second grand slam, however, her tactical and powerful play demonstrates the self-confidence and mental strength she has to compete at the highest level.
Into her second week of the tournament, she breezed past her more experienced competitors without dropping a set. Beating 11th seed, and recent gold medal winner, Belinda Bencic in the quarter finals was one of the biggest shocks of the tournament.
Into the semi-finals, Raducanu faced an in-form Maria Sakkari who is currently ranked at number 18 in the WTA world rankings. The 18-year-old qualifier played mind-blowing tennis to defeat Sakkari in a straight sets victory (6-1, 6-4). With all the pressure on her opponents, Raducanu seems to take full advantage of the ‘underdog’ label.
Raducanu’s unexpected run into the final left the world in awe. Her historic semi-final victory made her the first ever qualifier of a grand slam to reach the final (male or female). She has also become British female number one following her recent achievements.
On Saturday the 11th of September, Raducanu faced her young rival Laylah Annie Fernandez from Canada in the final of the US Open. In her usual style, the British number one played astonishing tennis which led her to claim her first grand slam title in a straight sets victory (6-4, 6-3).
Raducanu’s triumph on Saturday makes her the first British woman in 44 years to win a grand slam title. She is also the first ever qualifier to win a major title.
To add to her achievements, in the updated WTA rankings Raducanu will now be placed at number 28 in the world.
With her high standard of play at such a young age as well as her mature, humble character, many anticipate the young star to achieve big things in the sport.
Image: si.robi via flickr