A year ago, the same day Lewis Hamilton was crowned the BBC Sports Personality of the Year for 2020, Emma Raducanu swept Grace Piper to claim the BT Masters title at the National Tennis Center in Roehampton.
Afterwards, Raducanu, then ranked 345th in the world and yet to make her WTA tour debut, provided a glimpse of the unwavering determination that 12 months later would see her succeed Hamilton to put on her own. name on the prestigious trophy.
“I’m pretty ambitious,” Raducanu said that day at Roehampton. “I think the progress I’m making right now, this (the top 100) is not too out of the question. I really believe I can do it.
?? @EmmaRaducanu is the BBC sports personality of the year 2021! ??
It was his reaction …
– BBC Sport (@BBCSport) December 19, 2021
A year cut straight from the pages of the most wacky sports fantasy novels as Raducanu not only reached the fourth round at Wimbledon, but went on to win 10 straight US Open matches to claim the title without losing a set.
Raducanu had played his first touring event in Nottingham just weeks before enjoying his wildcard at Wimbledon, a run which only ended due to breathing difficulties midway through his clash with Ajla Tomljanovic.
But it turned out to be a stepping stone to a more remarkable achievement. Arriving at Flushing Meadows, Raducanu had never played an overseas qualifying tournament before and had booked his return flights before the start of the main draw.
Instead, she charged through the toss, sunk her teenage colleague Leylah Fernandez in a memorable and ridiculously unlikely finale, and delayed her return home in order to be one of the guests of honor at the Exclusive New York Met Gala.
When it came to emulating Hamilton, even heavyweight world champions and Olympic gold medalists weren’t going to take a look. Britain had long anointed its new sporting hero.
In reality, of course, Raducanu is far from being an overnight success. She started playing tennis at the age of five, three years after moving from Toronto to Canada with her family, and has become a prominent prospect at the Bromley Tennis Center.
So are A levels happening?
– Emma Raducanu (@EmmaRaducanu) January 4, 2021
Not that Raducanu needed a lot of encouragement, with varying interests in karting – starting in a bus garage in Streatham before moving on to a suitable track – motocross, horseback riding, tap dancing, golf, skiing and basketball .
Outside of sports, she has been very interested in her parents’ Sino-Romanian origins: she speaks Mandarin, watches bursting Taiwanese TV shows and loves nothing more than visiting her paternal grandmother Mamiya in Bucharest.
Raducanu’s heritage also influences her choice of models, with Chinese Li Na and Romanian Simona Halep cited as inspirations.
Emma Raducanu caught up with your sister you broke her RNR tennis LG x
– Liam Gallagher (@liamgallagher) September 12, 2021
She won the UK national titles at the Under-9, Under-12 and Under-16 levels, won her first ITF junior title at age 13 and reached the quarter-finals of the competition female at Wimbledon in 2018, where she beat her opponent in the US Open final. Fernandez.
She peaked in the World Junior Rankings of 20 that same year, reaching the quarter-finals at Roland Garros and the US Open.
After turning 18 last November, she made her senior debut at the Nottingham Viking Open in June as a wildcard, a week later, advancing to the ITF 100k quarter-finals in the same city – a performance that convinced the All England Club. to give him a generic entry to Wimbledon and accelerate his extraordinary rise to glory.