Getting to know Britain’s US Open star Raducanu

The British teenager burst onto the Grand Slam scene at Wimbledon and has transferred her form to reach the US Open second week too.

Emma Raducanu US Open 2021©Brad Penner/USTA
 - Alex Sharp

18 appears to be the magic number at Flushing Meadows.

Carlos Alcaraz and Leylah Fernandez played beyond their years to send Stefanos Tsitsipas and Naomi Osaka out. Now, fellow 18-year-old Emma Raducanu is joining them in the US Open spotlight. 

The British phenomenon qualified for the main draw at Flushing Meadows and has now booked a second week ticket in her opening two Grand Slams. Quite an introduction to the elite level.

Let’s get to know Raducanu…

Prime time showing at SW19

Just 23 days after making her WTA main draw debut in Nottingham, Raducanu ignited her breakout Wimbledon campaign earlier this summer.

Arriving as world No.338 (she’s now on course to crack the Top 100), the 18-year-old wildcard became the youngest British woman in the Open Era to feature in the Wimbledon last 16. 

Victories over former Roland-Garros finalist Marketa Vondrousova and Sorana Cirstea launched the Brit into the limelight, but she believes it’s been a step up in New York.

“I think that my level of tennis, I think I'm playing better tennis here than at Wimbledon. Of course being on the hard courts, they're less forgiving than grass,” said the current world No.150.

“I think with the amount of matches I have played and the experience that I have accumulated in the last four, five weeks, my game is just getting better with each match.”

Impressive on court artillery

Three qualifying rounds and three main draw matches, Raducanu is yet to drop a set at US Open 2021.

Take Saturday’s sizzling showing. The teenage prodigy dismissed world No.41 Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-0, 6-1. Yep, it was as emphatic as it seems. 

Raducanu, with astonishing agility, was stepping in and striking 40 per cent of her piercing shots from within the baseline. 23 winners later, not facing a break point, Raducanu was signing autographs, posing for countless selfies and acknowledging several rounds of applause. Entertaining but fiercely ruthless.

New York has taken Raducanu to their hearts, with her matches witnessed by packed stands.  

“There is definitely a lot more going on in New York… but I enjoy the crowd just as much. Like their support helps me so much,” stated the youngster.

“I think that when I'm playing my best is when I'm having fun and smiling. That's when the best tennis comes out, and sometimes shots that you never expect to make, they come off the strings and they happen.

“So I think a bit of it is just having fun on the court, just enjoying the moment. Like it's not every day that you get to play your first point in the second week.”

Helping hand from parents

Born in Toronto, Raducanu’s father Ian is Romanian and her mother Renee is Chinese. The trio moved to Bromley, south London, when Raducanu was two and by five-years-old she was already wielding a racket. 

Her competitive nature was harnessed on a pathway into professional sport under the guidance of her parents. 

“They have been very tough on me as a kid,” she said at Wimbledon.

“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.

“My mum’s side of the family, when I go over to China, they are so mentally resilient. It’s like nothing can bring them down. I would say I take a big part of my inspiration from her. My mum has worked very hard.”

Emma Raducanu US Open 2021©Brad Penner/USTA

Always up for testing times

Prior to picking tennis, Raducanu delved into giving it her all in several sports. Skiing and ballet are evident from her swift, graceful game. Add in horse riding and golf, alongside a penchant for motorsport. Raducanu, who has been pictured at a few Formula One races, dabbled in go-karting too – an indication of her ability to compete on the front foot, content to play in the fast lane.

A junior quarter-finalist at Wimbledon (2018), the former junior No.20’s progress was somewhat held back by the pandemic, unable to travel, but Raducanu made sure she was productive.

The 18-year-old has managed to secure her driving license and also finished her studies in Maths and Economics, taking her final school exams just before her majestic Wimbledon fortnight. 

“It's a bit of an escape for me. To have another thing going alongside my tennis, it's kept my mind occupied,” reflected the productive protegee. 

"You only train a certain amount of hours a day. You've still got a lot of time to fill. I find it's actually helped me with my on-court career as well in the way that I can absorb a lot of information. I feel that on court I'm more tactically astute than some others."

Home hope awaits on Monday

Set to duel on a show court, it’s show time for Raducanu.

World No.43 Shelby Rogers rallied from 2-5 down in the decider to defeat world No.1 Ash Barty.

“I'm going to have to do a little bit of scouting I think. But she's fearless. She is playing very well and she's inspired. It's going to be a battle. I am ready for it,” declared Rogers after her astonishing victory. 

“It's really cool to see the younger generation coming up in this tournament, getting some big wins. It's really impressive. Yeah, I'm going to have to bring my best tennis again in a different way I think, though. Every match. That's the cool thing about tennis, you have to adjust every single time and make a new strategy.”