Tennis

Emma Raducanu was ‘odd one out’ and ‘very shy little girl who didn’t talk much’

Kevin Clifton discusses Emma Raducanu's Grand Slam win

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Raducanu, 18, has enjoyed a whirlwind few days since her historic triumph in the final at Flushing Meadows last week. The British teenager beat Leylah Fernandez in straight sets 6-4 6-3 at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Saturday to become Britain’s first female Grand Slam winner in 44 years. Her dominance on the court in New York has astounded the world of tennis and won her thousands of new fans.

Since clinching the US Open title, Raducanu has embarked on a whistle-stop tour of New York.

The tennis star made her Met Gala debut on Monday, appearing on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in a black and white Chanel dress.

Raducanu rubbed shoulders with celebrities including Billie Eilish, Debbie Harry and her fellow tennis player Naomi Osaka.

She also appeared on ‘Good Morning America’ where she discussed how her upbringing had contributed to her US Open success.

Raducanu’s post-tournament break also included a visit to the New York Stock Exchange – an exciting location for the teenager, whose parents are currency market traders in London.

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Despite Raducanu’s apparent ease at being in the spotlight, the teenager has admitted that it hasn’t always been that way.

In an unearthed interview with Vogue published earlier in her US Open campaign, Raducanu said she used to be far more reserved.

Asked by the interviewer what tennis has given her, she said: “I was a very shy little girl who didn’t talk much at all.

“And through playing sport, and having to be bold on the court and fearless and fight, it’s given me inner strength.

“If you have that then you can really achieve whatever you want.”

The teenager also explained that she was often the “odd-one-out” as a youngster.

She said: “When I was younger, I was the only girl in my group karting or doing motocross, and I thought it was pretty cool.

“For example, one time, my motocross teacher was like, right, we’re going to do press-ups. I was the only one who could do it, so I was proud of myself for that.”

Raducanu said that in her early tennis days “the whole squad I was in was all boys”.

She added: “It was quite intimidating in the beginning to, you know, get out of my shell and actually begin to really enjoy what I was doing because I was so scared. I’m not sure of what.”

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On Good Morning America Raducanu spoke further about how her formative years had helped her succeed on the world stage.

She said the “tough” approach of her parents, Ian, who is Romanian, and Renee, who is Chinese, had toughened her mindset. 

Raducanu was asked what she said when she called them in Bromley from New York after the final.

She said: “It was really nice to talk to them after I won. They were so happy and proud of me.

“They are my toughest critics and very hard to please. I got them with this one, they couldn’t resist.”

Raducanu’s US Open win is the first Grand Slam victory by a British woman since Virginia Wade won Wimbledon in 1977.

She also became the first qualifier in the Open era to ever win a Slam and the youngest British player to win a Slam.

Raducanu took £1.8million in prize money, rose to 23 in the world rankings and became the new British number one.

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