5 Things to Know About Emma Raducanu, the 18-Year-Old Who Has Stunned at the US Open
Two months after Emma Raducanu made history in her Wimbledon debut — becoming the youngest British woman ever to make the tournament's Round of 16 — she's captured the world's attention yet again. After defeating American Shelby Rogers in straight sets, the 18-year-old tennis phenom became the youngest woman to earn a spot in the quarterfinals of the US Open since 2001 — and to think, just a few months ago, she was wrapping up her final exams in London.
How does Raducanu juggle it all? Her success on the court comes down to her mentality off the court. "The way that I'm approaching my matches is each time I'm thinking to myself, 'Why not?' Like today, I was like, 'Someone has to be in the second week, why not me?'" Raducanu said during her Wimbledon run. "I'm just trying to stay here as long as possible." While already impressive, Raducanu's tennis career is just getting started. Read more about the rising star ahead, and be sure to tune into the US Open on Sept. 8, when she'll vie for a spot in the semifinals.
She Was a 2021 Wimbledon Wild Card
Any internationally ranked tennis player can sign up to play at Wimbledon, but only the top 104 participants are selected to compete along with an additional 16 players, who first have to earn their spot by winning three rounds in qualifying.
Raducanu went into Wimbledon ranked 338th in the world (she's now No. 150), so how did she score a spot on one of the biggest stages in tennis? She was one of the seven women players to be awarded a wild card, meaning she was a shoo-in for the main draw. It was only her second Women's Tennis Association (WTA) Tour appearance.
Prior to Tennis, She was Into Motocross
If tennis doesn't work out for Raducanu, she always has motocross to fall back on. Speaking with The Sunday Times, Raducanu reminisced about her pre-tennis sports career, sharing that her parents encouraged her to try everything, including motocross. "I started my very short go-karting career in a bus garage in Streatham before going to a proper track. From the age of nine, I started motocross in a forest somewhere for a year. This was all alongside tennis," she said. While her motocross days are behind her, Raducanu still likes to post a throwback photo of her "baby kawa" on Instagram every now and again.
School Has Always Been Her First Priority
In addition to breaking records and competing in some of the top tennis championships in the world, Raducanu was also a full-time student studying for her A-Levels in economics and math (think of these as AP-level courses). "It was a bit of an escape for me, to have another thing going alongside my tennis," she told The Sun about studying for her finals. "It's actually helped me with my on-court career as I can absorb a lot of information. On court I'm more tactically astute than some others." According to ESPN, Raducanu "aced" her end-of-year exams.
She's a Big Racing Fan
Raducanu's need for speed didn't end with motocross — she's also a devoted fan of Formula One racing, even taking in a race from her room at Wimbledon. In fact, she draws inspiration from the sport, though it's very different from her own.
"As tennis players, we can learn a lot from [the drivers'] reactions — you have to see everything so fast because the speeds that they're going at are unbelievable. Those reactions and instincts can relate a lot to tennis," she said during an interview at the 2020 UK Pro Classic. "The intensity of the focus is also similar and transferrable, but tennis is a lot more luxurious — if you make a mistake it's not the end of the world but in F1 if you make a mistake, you're in the wall."
She and Tennis Great Andy Murray Have a Mutual Connection
British sports fans will be jealous to hear that Raducanu has a personal connection to beloved, fellow UK tennis player Andy Murray: his father-in-law is her personal trainer! Nigel Sears — whose daughter Kim Sears shares four kids with Murray — has been working with Raducanu off and on for the last three years until recently signing on as her trainer.
"Quite frankly, I think the sky's the limit," Sears said in an interview when asked about Raducanu's talent. "She has the necessary qualities and she's hungry enough and eager to learn. She's ambitious and given the right opportunities and match experience, she'll make good progress." Murray has also publicly supported Raducanu, specifically when she received criticism for stepping down from her Wimbledon match after suffering from a panic attack.