Emma Raducanu, after her US Open victory, keeps her feet on the ground

It’s a truth that should be universally recognized: your life will not be the same after winning the US Open as a little-known qualifier...


It’s a truth that should be universally recognized: your life will not be the same after winning the US Open as a little-known qualifier at the age of 18.

Emma Raducanu noticed the changes: a banging session with the Duchess of Cambridge and red carpet appearances at the Met Gala and at the premiere of the new James Bond film “No Time to Die” at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

There are more funds in his bank account (and many more on the way). There are wide stares from the people she meets on a daily basis.

But not everything has been transformed.

“My parents didn’t think much of it at all,” Raducanu said in our interview this week. “When I was at home, everything seemed really normal to me. The Bond premiere, playing tennis with the Duchess and the gala, I love these experiences but at the same time I mean when I got back to the training ground it was like this is where I really wanted to be.

Raducanu will be back on a stadium court on Friday night as she returns to competition in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif. Against a tough opponent to Aliaksandra Sasnovich, a 27-year-old Belarusian not classified. once placed in the top 30. This will be Raducanu’s debut at Indian Wells and his first game since his racing facts-beats-fiction in New York, where on September 11 she became the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam singles title.

Most notably, she hasn’t lost a set in 10 games, proving impervious to pressure as she restricted her use of social media off the pitch and stuck to her aggressive game plan on the pitch. attacking returns and groundstrokes and hitting serves on the lines.

Raducanu plays quietly with no growls, little yelling and smooth footwork. But her shots are explosive, and she now has much of the world’s attention having played in just two Grand Slam tournaments. She is also without a coach after separating from Andrew Richardson, who was on short-term contract when she won the Open.

“I think the good thing is that I still have a lot of room to improve and I won a Grand Slam,” she said. “It didn’t really flow. I don’t know if that will ever happen, but I feel like now, instead of feeling like I have a lot of pressure, I feel free, loose. Because you play tennis to win a Grand Slam, and I won a Grand Slam so now it’s just a bonus.

Raducanu is right. Talented players, like third Karolina Pliskova, 29, who became an elite professional player as a teenager, are still on the hunt for a first major title. This quest brings its own pressures, but with quick and unexpected success comes its own set of challenges.

Max Eisenbud, Raducanu’s agent, was also Maria Sharapova’s agent when she became a world star in 2004 by winning Wimbledon at age 17.

“The difference between Maria winning Wimbledon and Emma winning the US Open really comes down to social media,” Eisenbud said. “There was no social media in ’04. Social media got things done so fast this time around. It’s just warp speed.

The response to Raducanu’s victory, whether it emanated from the Queen of England or Chinese officials, was comprehensive, immediate and quantifiable. Raducanu had around 10,000 Instagram followers in June. She had over two million after winning the US Open.

“Yeah, I know, it’s crazy,” Raducanu said sheepishly. “It doesn’t sound like real numbers, but I’m happy and really grateful that someone actually wants to, like, follow me. I don’t think I’m that interesting, but it’s kind of cool.

Sponsors certainly find it intriguing. Shortly after her victory in New York, she became a global ambassador for Tiffany & Company, the luxury jewelry brand, but Eisenbud said the deal was made before the Open, after her surprise race in the fourth round of Wimbledon in July.

Its stock has now climbed a little higher. “The iron is hot,” Eisenbud said. “We are on strike. “

Raducanu is hardly the first young player to win a Grand Slam tournament in this egalitarian era of women’s tennis. Jelena Ostapenko and Naomi Osaka were 20 when they won their first majors. Bianca Andreescu was 19 when she won the 2019 US Open, and she won it, like Raducanu, on her main draw debut in New York.

Andreescu, a Canadian, has played little since that injury win and is now ranked 21st as she returns to Indian Wells to defend the title she won in 2019.

Andreescu was asked this week about what advice she would give to teens like Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez, the 19-year-old Canadian Raducanu beat in that highly unlikely Open final.

“The advice I would give is to always be grateful even if you have the greatest success because everything can be taken away from you in a fraction of a second,” said Andreescu. “I feel like I haven’t savored it so much.” She added: “Just stay humble, stay grateful and keep working hard because everyone says at least in my experience that it’s easy to get to the top, but staying on the top is the hardest part. . “

There is no shortage of contenders for the pinnacle of women’s tennis, where 14 different players have won major singles titles over the past five seasons. But as a Briton born in Canada with a Chinese mother and a Romanian father, Raducanu seems well equipped for global stardom.

Eisenbud, who also represents retired Chinese tennis star Li Na, understands the business opportunities for an athlete who can communicate with the Chinese public. Raducanu recorded a video message in Mandarin after his victory in New York and recorded another message in Romanian ahead of his scheduled appearance at the Transylvanian Open later this month.

Raducanu, who doesn’t consider herself perfectly comfortable in either language, said she often speaks Mandarin with her mother. “I would say it’s like 50-50,” she said. “Just because sometimes it’s like a secret language, and it’s actually very useful.”

She said she did not speak Romanian with her father. “But I have to speak Romanian with my grandmother, because she doesn’t speak English,” Raducanu said.

Unlike many tennis stars, who are often homeschooled from a young age, Raducanu attended high school in Britain, completing his final exams this summer before embarking on a full-time professional career.

“I hope part of the story can come out,” Eisenbud said. “Because there are so many families who take their kids out of normal school and are homeschooled and have no chance to play professional tennis, and I think that’s pretty sad. It’s everywhere you turn, and I think with the kids being homeschooled, you lose a lot of social aspects and all that other stuff.

Raducanu certainly has the opportunity to influence his peers. While Coco Gauff, the 17-year-old American player, and Osaka used their platforms to speak out on social justice, Raducanu told me that she is more interested at this point in promoting a way of life. active only through political activism.

“I am really passionate about helping young children to play sports, especially young girls, because I think sports have taught me so much and given me incredible opportunities,” he said. she declared. “The confidence that I have now I don’t think I would have if I didn’t play sports.”

She recognizes that she and her family are a immigrant success story at a time when immigration is low in Britain and other developed countries. But she doesn’t want to be a spokesperson on such an issue at this point.

– I think it’s for later, she said. “I feel like I’m still quite young. I just want to focus on the things that I really feel a strong connection to from now on, but maybe when I get older I’ll develop more different ideas.

So far, her development as a tennis player is simply astounding. She needed a wild card to participate in the Indian Wells tournament as the entry date was prior to the US Open. His ranking was too low at this point, but so much has changed so quickly. She is ranked 17th and will make her debut on the stadium’s main court as the headliner of the night session.

“It’s crazy, because I was just scratching the qualifying acceptance list,” she said with a laugh. “And to be sown, I just can’t believe it. I never thought my ranking would be so high so soon. It’s just an amazing thing to see, and I’m really proud of myself.

Correction: October 9, 2021

An earlier version of this article misstated the date of the US Open women’s final. It was September 11, not September 12.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Emma Raducanu, after her US Open victory, keeps her feet on the ground
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