Emma Raducanu catapulted to fame after making history at the US Open in September, winning £1.8 million in the process. First British woman to win a Grand Slam title since Virginia Wade at Wimbledon in 1977. Her rise has been nothing short of meteoric.
Interestingly, more people in the US watched the women’s US Open singles final than the men’s, a testament to her wide-ranging appeal and extraordinary media presence.
Born only a short while ago on the 13th November 2002 in Toronto, she grew up in Bromley and attended a good grammar school in Orpington, Newstead Wood School. She speaks English, Romanian and Mandarin fluently. Her father Ian Raducanu is a Romanian, from Bucharest and her mother, Renee Zha is from Shenyang, China. Both work in finance.
Her first exposure to fame came in the Grand Slam at Wimbledon as a wildcard in 2021, where she reached the fourth round but had to withdraw due to breathing difficulties. The subsequent social media storm said a lot more about polarisation and misogyny than it did about tennis.
As well as her admiration and friendship with Tim Henman, Raducanu idolises two players that reflect her multicultural background, China’s Li Na and Romania’s Simona Halep.
Just crowned BBC sports personality of the year, she is currently seeded British number one and the first player to break through a US Open without losing a single set.
Tennis is not her only talent, She raced go-karts for two years when she was about eight before transitioning to motocross, riding a “baby” Kawasaki! She only gave up the bikes when her tennis career became all-consuming.
Raducanu is a confessed petrol head and loves Formula One. She has been a big Lewis Hamilton fan since childhood, but her favourite F1 driver is Daniel Ricciardo.
She passed her driving test only two days before lockdown started then went on to drive a lap around the Silverstone circuit during the British Grand Prix in 2021 in a McLaren 720s.
“I had a blast” Emma Raducanu.
She also learnt ballet, tap dancing, horse riding, swimming and basketball, plus a bit of tennis occasionally. Seems like she was destined to be a sporting champion whatever she chose to do.
Her academic career has flourished too, scoring an A+ in Maths and an A in Economics. Perhaps we can add juggler to her skills with the number of balls she keeps in the air.
Like most sporting champions, she started early, winning the LTA Winter National in Yorkshire at the age of nine and the Tennis Europe 11 & Under in France at the age of ten. At the age of five Raducanu played tennis with her father in a car park for practice.
She is being well advised by a host of the most famous tennis players in Britain, becoming the most courted, awarded and celebrated sports personality of the year. She’s also got to meet all her favourite celebrities such as Tom Cruise, Lewis Hamilton, Prince Harry, Andy Murray and attended the Met Gala with Kim Kardashian West, Jennifer Lopez and Billie Eilish, just three weeks after sitting her A levels. Not to mention getting a letter from the queen.
Recently she joined British Airways as their global brand ambassador, with LVMH, Tiffany & Co, Evian and Dior already in the bag. The sponsors are lining up to work with her. Definitely on target to become Britain’s first sports billionaire.
Generally regarded as a baseline player, Raducanu knocks out powerful flat groundstrokes and returns serves strongly. She’s also comfortable playing the net and accomplished on all surfaces, with a slight preference for fast, hard courts.
Perhaps a few more years of tennis she can try her hand at Formula One. No doubt she would be brilliant.
Image Credit: Nuță Lucian