Emma Raducanu: Judy Murray and Laura Robson lead social media tributes

William and Kate, Boris Johnson and Marcus Rashford lead social media tributes as Brits battle 3am alarms to watch Raducanu reach US Open final

  • The Cambridges led the congratulations to the starlet on social media and said that they would watch the final
  • Tim Henman, Andy Murray’s mother Judy and Virginia Wade also heaped praise on the young trailblazer today
  • Piers Morgan, Boris Johnson, Marcus Rashford and Liam Gallagher also shared their delight for the young Brit
  • Raducanu produced one of the greatest displays in recent decades from a Brit at a Grand Slam to make final

Royals, world leaders tennis legends and celebrities have piled praise on ‘Teen Queen’ Emma Raducanu after she blazed into the US Open final at the age of just 18.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who often attend Wimbledon where Kate is patron of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, led the congratulations to the starlet on social media.

The couple tweeted from their official account this morning their delight at the ‘incredible achievement’ and said they would tune in for the final.

Meanwhile Tim Henman, Andy Murray’s mother Judy and Virginia Wade – Britain’s last female grand slam winner – also congratulated the trailblazer.

Henman said that her dominant performance over Maria Sakkari in New York City last night had been ‘simply stunning’.

Ms Murray dubbed her the ‘Teen Queen’ and hailed her ‘incredible achievement’ as the first qualifier in history to reach a Grand Slam final. Ms Wade described Raducanu as the ‘real thing’ and said she was ‘excited’ by her.

Piers Morgan, Boris Johnson, Marcus Rashford and Liam Gallagher also shared their delight for the young Briton. Mr Morgan simply said ‘wow’ with five clapping emojis alongside three flame emojis in his post.

Mr Johnson congratulated her and hailed the ‘brilliant win’, adding: ‘The whole country will be cheering you on in the final.’ And former Oasis star Mr Gallagher wrote: ‘Can u dig it congratulations to Emma Raducanu c’mon LG.’

Raducanu produced one of the greatest displays in recent decades from a British player at a Grand Slam as she bullied Sakkari in a 6-1, 6-4 stomping.

The win now tees her up for the final on Saturday against fellow teenager Leylah Fernandez. Raducanu began Wimbledon earlier this year ranked No 338 but since then has consistently out performed the ranking.

She has earned a minimum $1.25million (£900,000) from the nine matches won in New York. The teen star is yet to drop a set and has become the first qualifier in men’s or women’s history to reach the final of a Grand Slam.

Royals, tennis legends, world leaders and celebrities have piled praise on ‘Teen Queen’ Emma Raducanu after she blazed into the US Open final at the age of just 18

EMMA RADUCANU’S RUN TO THE US OPEN FINAL 

Q1: 6-1, 6-2 – beats Bibiane Schoofs – QUALIFYING

Q2: 6-3, 7-5 – beats Mariam Bolkvadze – QUALIFYING

Q3: 6-1, 6-4 – beats Mayar Sherif – QUALIFYING

R1: 6-2, 6-3 – beats Stefanie Vogele

R2: 6-2, 6-4 – beats Zhang Shuai

R3: 6-0, 6-1 – beats Sara Sorribes Tormo

R4: 6-2, 6-1 – beats Shelby Rogers

QF: 6-3, 6-4 – beats Belinda Bencic

SF: 6-1, 6-4 – beats Maria Sakkari

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge tweeted: ‘What an incredible achievement at this year’s #USOpen @EmmaRaducanu! We will all be rooting for you tomorrow Crossed fingers Wishing you the best of luck! C.’

Mr Henman, who retired in 2007, branded Raducanu’s performance in the US Open semi-final win over Sakkari ‘simply stunning’.

He told Amazon Prime:  ‘It’s an absolutely staggering performance. If we just look at the way she came out and played, her quality of tennis from start to finish, she was so resilient. She never flinched.

‘She never let up. It was relentless. And then you’ve got to throw in the scenario of being a qualifier, an 18-year-old, with all the legends who have ever played this game at grand slam level.

‘She is the first person to qualify and reach the final. It’s simply stunning. She deserves all the credit in the world. On the biggest stage in our sport at every opportunity she plays on her terms. It’s incredible to watch.’

He added: ‘She’ll need to enjoy this tonight and then get ready for Saturday.’ Ms Murray, whose son Andy won Wimbledon in 2013 and 2016, tweeted: ‘Teen Queen. Incredible achievement.’

Ms Wade, Britain’s last female grand slam winner at Wimbledon in 1977, said Raducanu was the ‘real thing’. She told GMB: ‘I can’t tell you how exciting it is.

‘We’ve been waiting such a long time for a British player on the women’s side to really come through. Every time you watch her you think she’s going to win every point out there. You don’t even get that nervous. It was remarkable.

‘I’m sure she is the real thing, you don’t get someone head and shoulders above that often and I think she’s one of those.

‘She’s stopping all her opponents in their tracks and she’s got an incredible future ahead of her. If it doesn’t happen on Saturday (win a grand slam) it’s going to happen sooner or later because she is really good.’

Wade told BBC’s Today programme: ‘I can’t be more impressed, really it was just a stunning victory. She withstood everything and it seems Emma just seems to reduce her opponents to nothing, it’s incredible.

‘She’s so consistent herself and she keeps coming up with answers and she serves so well and she just completely negates their games.

‘She’s such a super girl, really she ticks every box… I think she’s going to be an icon for British tennis for I don’t know how long.’

Emma drops her racket after defeating Maria Sakkari, of Greece, during the semifinals of the US Open tennis championships

Miss Raducanu thanked the crowd for their support all the way through qualifying to the final of a grand slam

Anne Keothavong, Team GB’s FedCup captain, was left ‘shouting at the TV like a mad woman’ during the match. Fellow British tennis player Laura Robson tweeted this morning: ‘Unbelievable – you absolute star’.

Jo Durie, a two-time British Grand Slam champion, was watching in awe of the youngster’s composure, adding: ‘Wow wow wow wow wow absolutely fantastic. Tremendous under pressure, cool as you like. What a player.’

British doubles player Neal Skupski made sure he was tuned in for Raducanu’s biggest match of her career to date and he simply wrote: ‘Amazing again’. 

Former British No 1 Greg Rusedski was in the Amazon Prime studio to dissect Raducanu’s performance but it was Twitter where he hailed her performance.

Rusedski, who tipped Sakkari before the match, wrote: ‘Didn’t see this coming with Emma Raducanu.  Thought this was going to be a tight and tough match. 

‘This looks like the performance of someone who is going to be a world No 1 and multiple grand slam champion. Wow!’

The US Open finalist in 1997 said: ‘I’m dumbfounded. That performance was worthy of a world number one, a US Open champion, a multiple grand slam champion.

‘The composure, the belief, the handling of the big points. This is her first grand slam semi-final and it was like she was playing in the first round. It was astonishing.’

Martina Navratilova, the 18-time grand slam singles champion, knows a thing or two about making history. She told Amazon Prime: ‘When you make history you do it at one level or two. Emma is doing it at so many levels.

‘You can’t even think about the repercussions. We’ve been hyping her up but it’s happening. She’s backing it up.’

Former British Fed Cup player Annabel Croft told the Today Programme Raducanu ‘may go on to dominate the world of tennis’.

She said: ‘It was absolutely breath-taking and jaw dropping and one of the most brilliant performances I think I’ve seen in a very, very long time in tennis.

‘She had to battle through three rounds of qualifiers. But it’s not just that, it’s the fact that she’s absolutely blitzed all of these much higher ranked and much more experienced opponents and they just don’t seem to stand a chance against her.

‘You never want to put too much pressure on somebody, but… it does feel like we are looking at someone who may go on to dominate the world of tennis. She may well reach the top… I really do feel that she is very special.’


The new British No 1, when rankings update on Monday, dictated the entire match and needed just 84 minutes to claim victory

The 18-year-old wore a huge smile at the end as she now turns her attentions to Saturday’s final against Leylah Fernandez

Emma shared photos of herself celebrating on the court after her win and an image of the moment she reached Saturday’s final

Sue Barker, the 1976 French Open champion turned commentator, said she has been in awe watching Raducanu at the US Open.

She told the BBC: ‘I’m pinching myself with what I’ve been watching. We all thought at Wimbledon this is star of the future but it might take her a few years.

‘But to be in a grand slam final in her fourth tournament is absolutely incredible. She’s not just winning matches, she’s breezing it.

‘They’re not even getting close to her. She is nerveless and staying in the moment, and that’s incredibly hard to do. I’ve just been in awe of what I’ve been watching.’

Tearing up the record books, Raducanu is now the first British woman to earn a place in a major final since Virginia Wade won Wimbledon in 1977.

She is a match – against fellow teen Leylah Fernandez at 9pm UK time on Saturday – away from becoming the first British female winner at Flushing Meadows since 1968.

She has not lost a set en route to the final and has dropped just 27 games in her six matches.

Two months after bursting onto the scene at Wimbledon ranked 361st in the world, a month after receiving her A level results, and 13 days after entering qualifying in New York, the 18-year-old from Orpington stands on the brink of one of the most remarkable sporting achievements of all time.

Raducanu said on court: ‘Honestly the time here in New York has gone so fast. I’ve just been taking care of each day and three weeks later I’m in final. I can’t actually believe it.

‘Today I wasn’t thinking about anyone else except for myself. While I have the moment I want to thank my team and the LTA and everyone at home for all their support.

‘Since I’ve been here from the first round of the quallies I’ve had unbelievable support.’ As for her chances in the final? ‘Is there any expectation? I’m a qualifier so technically there’s no pressure on me,’ she added.

Two service holds and a delicious volley on match point later and Raducanu had completed the latest stride in her improbable march towards sporting immortality

World leaders and celebrities and other sports stars also heaped praise on the youngster, with PM Mr Johnson saying everyone will watch her on Saturday.

He tweeted: ‘Well done @EmmaRaducanu for a brilliant win at the £USOpen. The whole country will be cheering you on in the final.’

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said Emma Raducanu’s march to the final of the US Open final was the ‘crowning glory’ after a summer of British sporting successes.

The Cabinet minister told Sky News this morning: ‘It is wonderful, isn’t it, after such a fantastic summer of British sport?

‘It seems a lifetime ago but we (the England men’s team) got through to the final of the Euros, we came second in the Paralympics, fourth in the Olympics but I think whatever happens, and I’m sure Emma will do brilliantly in the final, this really is the crowning glory of a brilliant summer of British sport, and we are so proud of her.’

Rashford tweeted: Congrats @EmmaRaducanu what an achievement already!! Good luck this weekend we’re all be cheering you on back home.’

Olympic gold medallist Jessica Ennis-Hill responded to the teen’s celebratory post on Instagram, writing: ‘You are incredible!!’

Singer Mr Gallagher again offered Raducanu his backing, having tweeted after her quarter-final victory. The former Oasis man tweeted: ‘Can u dig it congratulations to Emma Raducanu c’mon LG.’

Former England striker Gary Lineker tweeted ‘What an extraordinary achievement. A US Open final at 18 years old and a qualifier to boot. Wow! Well played.’

Comedian Rob Beckett posted: ‘Congratulations on making the US Open final So it begins. And I slowly slipping down the pecking order of Bromley Alumni.’

 

Striding into the vast Arthur Ashe Stadium last night, Raducanu took immediate control of the biggest match of her short career.

She saved seven break points in her first two service games while breaking 26-year-old Sakkari to 15 to secure a 3-0 lead.

A change of skirt for Sakkari did not have the desired effect as she dropped serve again, and in the blink of an eye the first set had run away from the world number 18.

An early break in the second kept Sakkari at bay and only an extraordinary rally at break point prevented Raducanu from taking a 5-2 lead.

Two service holds and a delicious volley on match point later and Raducanu had completed the latest stride in her improbable march towards sporting immortality.

Fans back in Britain were left brewing multiple cups of coffee and ruing 3am alarms as they watched the British teenager through the night in the US.

Fans were left exhausted before it had even begun as they looked to combat the tiredness

Memes of tiredness and taping eyes open soon became popular as the match got going

Lots were on the fence as to whether they should stay up for the teenager’s semi-final

In the earlier semi-final Aryna Sabalenka slapped herself and fans joked it was effective

 

Unlike her quarter-final against Belinda Bencic, which was at 5pm UK time, her semi-final against Maria Sakkari did not get going until beyond 3am and so many viewers were left asking whether they should go to bed.

The Lawn Tennis Association offered out a mock ‘Holiday Request’ form on their behalf to convince those on the fence to watch – and get out of work on Friday.

The original start-time was due to be around 2am but the first women’s singles semi-final between Leylah Fernandez and Aryna Sabalenka turned into a three-set epic.

Having seen Fernandez take the first set on a tiebreak, social media soon exploded into life as British fans realised the ramifications for watching Raducanu.

Memes of Mr Bean using matchsticks to keep his eyes open, while others used Tom and Jerry using tape on their eyes, became popular as they wondered just how they would power through the night.

In a stroke of marketing genius, the LTA soon produced a clever ‘Holiday Request’ form for those worried about not waking up for work on Friday.

It read: ‘To whom it may concern, Please release _______ from work on 10th September, to allow time to recover from watching Emma Raducanu in the US Open semi-final in the early hours of Friday morning.

‘Viewing is an essential activity to your employee and cooperation with this request will positively impact their morale. Sincerely, LTA.’

Raducanu will face fellow teenager Leylah Fernandez at 9pm UK time on Saturday.

Rallying with her dad in a Bromley cul-de-sac during lockdown, playing before AND after school and putting her career on hold to focus on economics and maths A-levels: How ‘shy’ model student Emma Raducanu – who speaks fluent Mandarin with her mother – became a teenage tennis sensation

Emma Raducanu has reached the top of the tennis world, but for the US Open finallist it all began in a Bromley cul-de-sac where she rallied with her father from the age of four as neighbours watched in awe from their windows.

Even during lockdown, she could still be seen knocking tennis balls back and forth to her Romanian-born dad Ian.

Emma has just got her first $1million pay-day, and millions more in sponsorships are now guaranteed to follow for the teenager who is already the most successful female British tennis player in decades.

She puts her success down to her parents Ian and Renee, from China, whose upbringing in communist countries drove her forward because they had so little growing up themselves.

Born in Canada, Miss Raducanu moved to Britain at the age of two and grew up in London.  She played at Bromley Tennis Academy from the age of ten, and it backs on to the secondary school in Orpington she attended until she left this summer with an A* grade in maths and an A in economics.

Teachers said it was quite clear that she would be a professional sportswoman, having excelled at ballet, go-karting, swimming and horse-riding before picking up a tennis racket. 

Her headteacher at Bickley Primary School, Rebecca Rodgers, remembers seeing her in the playground in reception class with her mouth open, because she was rallying with the coach when her classmates couldn’t hit the ball.

This is the father of Wimbledon golden girl Emma Raducanu who helped his daughter storm into the last 16 by playing tennis with her in their quiet cul-de-sac 

Emma’s mother Renee could be seen cheering and applauding her daughter in the crowd during her match on Saturday 

Ian Raducanu and the 18-year-old were seen rallying by a row of garages outside their semi-detached house in Bromley, London, during lockdown

A young Raducanu is pictured with Judy Murray, whose son Sir Andy became and British great in the sport

Raducanu pictured as a toddler; she moved with parents Ian and Renee to England in 2004

She said:  ‘She was always sporty and would win all the sprint races on sports day. She was very shy, too, but we had some tennis coaching in the summer of her reception year, and with most kids at that age, you’re lucky if they’re even making contact [with the ball].

Recipe for success both on and off court: the teenager’s Instagram account has seen her amass 153,000 followers in a week

‘But there was Emma having a rally with the coaches. We couldn’t quite believe it. Even then I remember thinking that we were going to see her at Wimbledon.’

She then moved on to Newstead Wood school, a selective grammar also attended by star sprinter Dina Asher-Smith, who allowed her to play before and after school as well as travel to tournaments abroad.

Headteacher Alan Blount said: ‘Sometimes Emma did early morning sessions in there and would be in school for 8.45am. And then she could be back there as soon as school had finished. That made it very easy for her to keep up to speed with both her tennis and her schoolwork.

 ‘It’s been amazing for our students to see what Emma has achieved. Since she arrived with us in Year 7, she’d been juggling her schoolwork with her tennis. You never know when the sport is going to end, you need your education to fall back on, and that was always the mentality of Emma and her family.’

He added: ‘We’ve been very lucky to have both Dina and Emma. I’m looking around our Year 7s now and thinking, ‘Who’s going to be next?’. 

No one was more surprised than her neighbours to see Emma play on TV, because they last saw her whacking balls back and forth to her dad in the quiet south-east London cul-de-sac where they live during lockdown. A scene repeated throughout her childhood.

Retired Dave Moore, 74, would regularly see her practice in the street and told the Mail: ‘It was virtually every day when it was dry and the sun was out. I knew she was quite good because she used to play for England in the juniors but it wasn’t until last night that I saw her on TV.

When she reached the fourth round at Wimbledon this year, he said: ‘She’s very motivated and I think her father really pushes her. I speak to them but funnily enough they never mentioned Wimbledon’.  

‘Radders’, as she is nicknamed by friends, was born in Canada to her Romanian father and Chinese mother, who both work in finance and have had to encourage a very shy girl to become a sporting star. 

In an interview last year she said: ‘My parents definitely have high expectations. In anything, not even just tennis. I have to be the best, do the best I can.

‘When I was younger it was to please them, but now it’s great for me to do it on my own – that’s where I think I see the best results: when it’s me driving it.

‘They both came from academic families and in tough countries growing up – my dad in Romania and mum in China.

‘They were both communist countries, so education was kind of their only option. They want me to have options, they think my education is very important for my future.’

Their ethos has clearly infused their daughter, who is gunning for both academic and sporting success.

The teenager, whose only treats are peanut butter and a solitary square of dark chocolate, reckons she’d probably be a lawyer if she wasn’t so focused on tennis.

The slender teenager can even squat thrust more than most men – 80kg.

Certainly, the future looks bright for the right-hander, who speaks Mandarin and loves binge-watching Taiwanese TV shows.

One gets the feeling Raducanu, who regularly visits her father’s native home in Bucharest, where she enjoys her grandmother’s cooking, would have been good at whatever she turned her hand to.

She’s spoken about how her dad threw her into every activity at a young age, from ballet to horse riding, swimming, tap dancing, basketball, skiing, golf and go-karting – as well as tennis.

‘My dad wanted to give me a diverse skill set and I was quite a shy girl and he wanted to get me out of my shell.

‘As I started winning in tennis, tournaments would take up the weekend so these other activities couldn’t happen any more, and tennis took over.’

But not completely. She took her books on tour with her and says: ‘For me, education is a great thing because I would love to keep my mind occupied, just challenging myself in every aspect. It is a great option in case injuries happen, or tennis doesn’t work out.’

She began to hone her skills seriously with coaches at Bromley Tennis Centre from the age of ten. Senior manager Tom Defrates told the Mail that she was one of the most skilled players the club had ever seen and used to fit in up to five hours a day of training.

Off court, the teenager speaks Mandarin and is a fan of Taiwanese television shows

The tennis star first picked up a racket aged five and played at Bromley Tennis Academy from the age of ten. Pictured, Bromley Tennis Academy

Newstead Wood School where Raducanu was a pupil before she went on to become a crowd favourite at Wimbledon 

Even after Emma left the club to train with the National Tennis Centre a couple of years ago, she would still pop in occasionally.

Tom said: ‘She’s a really good egg. She’s so down to earth. There’s no arrogance there at all and she has worked hard to get where she is.

‘It’s nice to see it paying off. Who knows how far she will go?’

From 16, she left the centre to train at the Lawn Tennis Association’s national centre in Roehampton, south-west London.

She has credited Matt James, one of her coaches there, for helping her meteoric rise.

Parting ways in October 2020, Emma tweeted her thanks. Matt replied: ‘She is going to be one serious player and hopefully inspire lots of girls to pick up a racket.’ 

As she savoured the post-victory glow at Wimbledon this summer, one of the first to congratulate her was Sir Andy Murray, who has mentored her.

It’s not her only link with Britain’s most successful player: her coach is his father-in-law, Nigel Sears, Kim Murray’s dad. ‘I knew she was exceptional the first time I saw her,’ he said.

As for the future, Wimbledon may be the ‘pinnacle’ (her words) but she wants it all: Top ten ranking, Grand Slams.

‘I think one of my best qualities is I’m pretty scrappy and gritty and they’re two words I would describe myself as,’ she declared.  

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