NEW YORK | At Wimbledon, stifled by the pressure, she had given up in 8e. Two months later, Emma Raducanu, the first player in history from qualifying to win a Grand Slam at the United States Open, emerges, at 18, as the radiant new face of women’s tennis.
• Read also: Fernandez falls in US Open final
• Read also: Leylah Fernandez receives praise from the Queen
Already performing for her first participation in a Major, the Londoner was suddenly dizzy and plagued by respiratory problems against the Australian Ajla Tomljanovic.
The one that was then 338e world had explained, after his discomfort, “to have undoubtedly mismanaged stress by playing in front of such a large crowd”.
Commenting for ESPN, former champion John McEnroe had estimated, even before his explanations, that Raducanu had “a little too much” weight on the shoulders, “inviting him to learn” from this moment. He was far from imagining the rest.
It is clear that eight weeks later, having meanwhile won her first tournament on the WTA circuit in Chicago, Emma Raducanu quickly learned to control her emotions.
Especially since the immense Arthur-Ashe and its 23,000 spectators, much more electric, have washed out, players before it for decades.
This was vividly seen in the final against the other “teenager” Leylah Fernandez, 19, who also caused a sensation during the fortnight.
As in her previous nine matches, she won in two sets (6-4, 6-3), becoming the youngest winner in Major since Russia’s Maria Sharapova, who won Wimbledon at 17 in 2004. .
No one knows how the young woman, who brought a breath of fresh air to tennis with the Canadian, will be able to manage this new media exposure.
This can be difficult to bear, as evidenced by the case of Naomi Osaka, to whom she succeeds the prize list, who is plagued by recurring anxiety problems.
Raducanu, which appears in the latest UK edition of the magazine Vogue, is already “bankable»Since it has signed partnerships with equipment manufacturers Nike and Wilson, but also with the jeweler Tiffany & Co.
As a child, Emma was “shy” and felt a bit “the intruder of the lot”, she told the magazine.
Born in Toronto to a Romanian father, Ian, and a Chinese mother, Renee, she was two when they moved to England to pursue their careers in finance.
In Bromley, city of greater London where David Bowie, who sang the merits of another China Girl, also grew up, Raducanu is of the fearless type, alternating ballet, horse riding and even karting.
“I was the only girl in my group to do it and motocross too, I thought it was pretty cool. Once, my motocross teacher said to me “well, we are going to do push-ups”. I was the only one who could do them, I was proud of myself ”.
“Superstar in the making”
Yet it is in tennis that she has a glorious future, when she is barely five years old.
“Emma held the exchanges with the coaches. We couldn’t believe it. I remember thinking that we would see her one day at Wimbledon, ”told the Times his then teacher, Rebecca Rodger. History has proven him right.
Talent is not everything, Raducanu explained this week to Flushing Meadows that his mother “instilled in him from [son] at a young age work and discipline ”.
She also says she was inspired by Li Na, the former Chinese player who won Roland-Garros in 2011, “just by the way she was a fierce competitor”.
“My parents have high expectations for me. I always tried to be up to it, ”she said, not yet knowing that she would reach the top a few days later.
The former champion, Martina Navratilova, had already announced during the tournament: “She is a superstar in the making. We don’t want to put too much pressure on her, but she has this thing we saw the first time with [Rafael] Nadal, [Novak] Djokovic and that we see for [l’Espagnol de 18 ans] Carlos Alcaraz. It is there before our eyes. She was born for that ”.
Emma Raducanu in brief
First name: Emma
Date of birth: November 13, 2002
Age: 18 years old
Place of birth: Toronto (Canada)
Residence: London (United Kingdom)