Emma Raducanu, 18, has made tennis history and become the first qualifier to win the US Open while her proud parents were forced to watch from the UK. In an incredible run, just weeks after opening her A Level results, the teen destroyed every opponent in her path.
Raducanu won 10 straight matches to go from qualifier to US Open champion and earn $2.5 million culminating in a straight sets win over Leylah Fernandez of Canada to become Britain’s first female singles Grand Slam champion for 44 years – and she did it all without dropping a set. Her remarkable rise through the ranks will be confirmed on Monday when she’ll go from number 150 in the world to 23.
It was only her second Grand Slam tournament and came two months after she was forced to retire during her fourth round match at Wimbledon with breathing difficulties.
Emma Raducanu’s mother Renee (middle left) and dad Ian (top right) at Wimbledon 2021
It’s clear who Raducanu has to thank for her astonishing rise. She told reporters: “I speak to my parents, we don’t really talk so much about tennis but they just really want to know how I am in these moments and, you know, to not have them here with me, I would have loved them to be here and we can all celebrate together or they could be with me and experience the same things but you know, they’re watching from home very proud.
“My dad said to me ‘you’re even better than your dad thought’ so that was reassuring. My dad’s definitely very tough to please but I managed to today.”
Who are Emma Raducanu’s parents?
Raducanu was born in Ontario, Canada, on November 13, 2002 to Ian and Renee Raducanu – Romanian and Chinese finance industry professionals. They relocated to London when their daughter was just two years old.
The family live in Bromley, Greater London, and Raducanu began playing tennis at five, later attending Newstead Wood school, in Orpington, Kent and gaining an A in A-level maths and an A* in economics.
The teen and her dad would hit tennis balls together in the street during the Covid lockdowns. Raducanu has credited her Chinese and Romanian roots for helping her remain grounded and says her mum’s family are to thank for her drive and discipline.
Emma Raducanu thanked her team after her incredible US Open victory
“I think the confidence comes from just inner belief,” she tells Vogue’s October edition. “My mum comes from a Chinese background, they have very good self-belief. It’s not necessarily about telling everyone how good you are, but it’s about believing it within yourself. I really respect that about the culture.”
Raducanu has on many occasions spoken about the importance of her father, Ian. Known for his no-nonsense approach and one never afraid to mince his words, he has helped form her career and has hired and fired her coaches. She’s previously said: “They have been pushy to an extent. Not just in tennis but in everything. I think that I’ve developed that mentality since a young age.”
Why weren’t they at the final?
Raducanu told reporters how she wished her parents could have been at the final to witness her historic win. So why weren’t Ian and Renee there? Sadly, they were not able to get to New York due to Covid restrictions. Entry into America requires a special exemption visa – a process that is both difficult and nebulous.
Who else is in Raducanu’s team?
Raducanu has described her physio Will Herbert as ‘the mechanic’
Nigel Sears, coach of the likes of Daniela Hantuchova, Ana Ivanovic and most recently Anett Kontaveit, was brought in to guide Raducanu through the grass-court season. Before him, Matt James worked with her. Nowadays, Raducanu has a group of coaches that guide her. Her lead coach for the US Open was Andrew Richardson, the man known as “Flex” due to his large frame.
Physio Will Herbert, Emma, coach Andrew Richardson and agent Christopher Helliar
But it is physio Will Herbert, who has previously worked with Alexander Zverev, that Raducanu has repeatedly thanked for keeping her in shape throughout the last three weeks. Former player and now agent for IMG, Christopher Helliar, and Team GB Davis Cup captain Leon Smith have also been seen supporting her.