British tennis player Emma Raducanu was just eighteen years old when she shocked the world with her US Open victory. Born in 2002 in Toronto, Canada, Raducanu moved to London at the young age of two with her Chinese mother and Romanian father. At five years old, she began a path to astounding success as her father encouraged her to start playing tennis. She told an interviewer, “He’s all about being different and not caring what other people may have thought at the time.”


As a dual citizen of Canada and the United Kingdom, the young athlete represents the multicultural world of the twenty-first century whilst also managing to keep a close connection to her roots. Growing up with Chinese and Romanian parents, Emma speaks Mandarin, and Romanian, as well as English. Because of those language skills, she enjoys Emma has attributed her work ethic and mindset to her role model tennis players Simona Halep and Li Na, from Romania and China, respectively.

Gaining momentum

As a junior athlete, she won the ITF Chandigarh Lawn Tennis Girls Tournament in 2018, plus the ITF grade-3 and grade-2 junior tournaments at New Delhi. Later in the same year, she reached the girls’ singles quarterfinals at the US Open and Wimbledon. At only fifteen years old, Emma went pro, wrapping up a short youth career to move onto the big leagues. She went on to win the ITF NECC-Deccan tournament in Pune, India in 2019, which up until this summer was her highest victory.


In June of this year, just months before the US open, the young athlete was completing her A-Levels at college—where she impressively got an A* in mathematics and an A in economics. At the time, she was nowhere near being a global name, and didn’t know that in a few month’s she would be making an achievement that would go down in history.


Two weeks before the championship, she was ranked 150th in the world and was largely an unknown athlete. She beat Bibiane Schoofs, Mariam Bolkvadze, and Mayar Sherif in consecutive sets which qualified her to be in the main draw. She continued on to win six matches, reaching the final without losing a single set. Her performance gained her more than 100 ranking places up into the top 25, where she overtook She also became the youngest player to reach the final since 2005 when Maria Sharapova played.

Emma Raducanu Playing Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

The match of her lifetime

In the finals, Emma would play Canada’s 19-year-old Leylah Fernandez. Their game would mark the first all-teenage title showdown at the US Open since 1999 when the infamous Serena Williams played Martina Hingis. Seeing two young, successful athletes come face to face brought an unforeseen level of enthusiasm and encouragement from the crowd, who simultaneously cheered on both of the world-class athletes.


Raducanu eventually outplayed Fernandez who proved to be a quick and strong opponent. The game was full of joy and freedom, with two young athletes fresh in their career and youth, each deserving an equal chance at the end of their different journeys to this point. Both performances yielded adoration and awe from every spectator. Sending fast shots to parts of the court that consistently lied just outside of Fernandez’s reach, Raducanu eventually emerged victorious.


This achievement marked her as the first player to win a Grand Slam title after surviving the qualifying tournament, and the first woman from Britain to win a Grand Slam Singles title since 1977. Queen Elizabeth even

A mindset we can all learn from

Entering the final match, Raducanu reportedly treated it like just any other match, in order to keep her mind state under control. ESPN’s Tom Hamilton groups Raducanu with peer British young athletes—a group he describes is marked by distinctive, diverse, inclusive sporting heroes who represent an idealized version of what each of us seeks to be. He highlights the achievement from Emma, winning all ten matches at the US Open as an ‘unfathomable sporting narrative,’ all the while ‘she became the epitome of staying true to yourself, while achieving at the highest level.’


Hamilton shows how much there is to learn from athletes like Emma who teach us to be vulnerable, bold, confident, and to persevere regardless of setbacks. Raducanu had previously withdrawn from a match at Wimbledon after feeling unwell, suffering from dizziness and shortness of breath. But she rebounded with astounding resilience and dignity in this game and inspired the world to follow her lead.


At such a young age and in the spotlight achieving such great heights, she has remained grounded and true to herself. She explained the role that her upbringing and heritage has played in her outlook and approach:


“[My parents are] very tough to please and have high expectations … so that’s a big driving factor as to why I want to perform. My mum comes from a Chinese background, they have very good self-belief. It’s not necessarily about telling everyone how good you are, but it’s about believing it within yourself. I really respect that about the culture.”


She gained the attention from celebrity athletes like Andy Murray who have complimented her saying “What Emma has achieved is incredible and I hope she goes on to do more amazing things in the sport.”


As for her future, she is remaining humble, looking to enjoy and savor what she has achieved so far. She told ESPN, “I definitely think it’s the time to just switch off from any future thoughts or any plans, any schedule,” she added, “I’ve got absolutely no clue. Right now, no care in the world, I’m just loving life.” As a young athlete, Emma’s outlook continues to bring wisdom that we can all learn from.