British tennis star Emma Raducanu attributed her success at the US Open today to her “tough” and “very, very hard to please” parents, praising them for nurturing her mental strength.
The 18-year-old said her father Ian and mother Renee Raducanu had been hugely influential in her athletic prowess and that they were “just so happy and proud of me” when she spoke to them on the phone after her win.
They couldn’t be in New York to see her extraordinary trip to the finals of the tournament because of the strict Covid-19 rules in the US, which meant they needed a special waiver visa to travel.
But Raducanu told ABC’s Good Morning America today, “I think from an early age I was always raised with mental strength. My parents, you know, they played a big part in my upbringing.
“They were pretty hard on me when I was young but it shaped the way and I think now it helps on the biggest stages in the world and Arthur Ashe Stadium when you really need it and it was basically full capacity – so it was very, very cool. ‘
British tennis star Emma Raducanu is interviewed today on Good Morning Britain on ABC after her US Open win
At the GMA, Raducanu attributed her success at the US Open to her “tough” and “very, very hard to please” parents
She added: “It was a lot of fun talking to them after I won. They were just so happy and proud of me and my toughest critics and very, very hard to please, but hey, I got them with this one. They couldn’t resist.’
Raducanu defeated Leylah Fernandez in the US Open final, winning all 20 sets she played in qualifying and the main draw, as she became the first British woman to win a grand slam title since 1977 on Saturday.
Romanian Ian and Renee, who is Chinese, were living in Toronto, Canada, when the only child Raducanu was born, and the family moved to the UK when she was two. Neither has been seen since her win.
Both work in finance and their home is on a cul-de-sac in Bromley, South East London, where Raducanu and her father were hitting tennis balls together in the street while the coronavirus lockdowns were underway.
During her GMA interview today, Raducanu also thanked the Queen for sending a congratulatory message after her win on Saturday, saying: ‘It’s absolutely insane to think – it’s unbelievable.
“I was so honored and grateful to receive a note from Her Majesty. I mean, it meant everything to me and I’ll probably frame that letter and keep it in my room or something.”
Ian Raducanu is Emma Raducanu’s father and helped his daughter by playing tennis with her in their quiet cul-de-sac
Emma Raducanu’s mother Renee attended her daughter’s matches at Wimbledon earlier this summer in July
Raducanu is depicted with her mother Renee as a young child. Renee couldn’t be in New York to see her at the US Open
But she added: “Honestly, I haven’t checked my messages yet. I just tried to enjoy the moment. And with my team on the night of the final we just had a really nice evening.
“We all spent the night thinking and it was a really cool moment because it’s been such a long journey for us and everything has gone so fast.
“We were arranging every day and before we knew it three weeks had passed, but we had to think for a bit and share a few stories and it was a really fun night to have with everyone. ‘
After her win on Saturday, she told reporters that the first thing she was going to buy with her £1.8 million prize money was new AirPod headphones after she lost them.
When Raducanu asked today on GMA if she had bought them yet, Raducanu added: “No, net yet, I think I will definitely do it before I leave New York.
“It’s funny because actually they found it the day before my semi-final, two and a half weeks later. It was like a great omen and a great start to the day and I knew it was going to be a great day when I found it in the locker room.”
And asked if she had a message for other young athletes, Raducanu told GMA: “It’s an inner conviction and just taking the best care of every day because ten games ago, when I played my first round of qualis, I didn’t think I was be in or win the US Open final.
Emma Raducanu holds the US Open championship trophy after beating Leylah Fernandez in Saturday’s singles final
Raducanu thanked the queen for her support on Saturday after her US Open victory
“So, yes, if you do your best and every day time flies and you can really achieve anything with inner faith.”
Yesterday, Raducanu’s former coach said her sensational victory at the US Open had already sparked a wave of interest among a new generation of young people to play tennis.
Staff and players from her old club said they were still “buzzing” and saying “the world is now on its oyster” after the 18-year-old became the first British woman to win the US Open since Virginia Wade in 1968.
Raducanu played at the Parklangley Club in Beckenham, South East London, where she was coached by Harry Bushnell from six to ten years.
He said he believes the new era of Raducanu is “huge” for British tennis, which has been desperate to match Grand Slam winner Sir Andy Murray’s peak performances in the women’s game.
Mr Bushnell said: ‘There will be more to come now. I know she’s ready. I saw her interviews after the game and she was incredibly well behaved. She wasn’t too emotional and kept together impeccably.
“When she paraded the trophy after the final, she herself said she was ready to do whatever is thrown at her. Even though she’s only 18, it feels like she’s been here before and was born for that.’