It took Emma Raducanu only a handful of tennis matches to transform herself from a complete unknown to a global superstar. She wakes up today in New York as the new queen of the tennis court and embarks on a series of American network interviews that will catapult her further to fame and fortune.
At just 18 years old, Raducanu has lifted the mood of an entire nation, which isn’t bad for a teenager who had her A levels just a few months ago.
When winning the US Open, Raducanu is on track to become the richest female athlete in British sporting history. She can also count with an A* for this subject. The win earned her $2.5 million (1.8 million) in prize money, while her radiant, photogenic smile will attract a slew of endorsements to add to lucrative deals already signed with Nike and racket maker Wilson. A brand manager suggested that she could make 20 million in the next two years and that 100 million in a lifetime was no exaggeration.
It may go further than that, says Marcel Knobil, founder of Superbrands and consultancy Brand Council.
No rise to the top in the history of sport has gone so fast. She played four games at Wimbledon and 10 at the US Open (three of which were in qualifying for the main draw) and that was it.
An MBE is guaranteed according to sources though the honorary committee will resist calls on the internet on Sunday to grant her a damehood for the kind of startling victory that turned Andy Murray into a knight of the realm. Sports Personality of the Year is a shoo-in.
Hours after Raducanu won the championship, she found time to send a message to her fans in China in fluent Mandarin. Hello everyone, she said in the video posting. I want to thank you and I hope you can enjoy my tennis. I am excited to win. I love you all.
Denis Green (@Denisgreen10) September 12, 2021
As any marketing man knows there is untapped wealth to be had in China and Raducanus mother Renee full name Dong Mei Zhai happened to grow up in Shenyang, a city in northeast China.
From one day to the next, the number of Raducanus followers on Instagram has more than doubled to 1.3 million. Raducanu seemed utterly perplexed as if such a following was impossible for a Bromley teenager.
Raducanu had been trying to resist the hype as her unlikely run to the finals gathered momentum. She had no idea that the match against Leylah Fernandez in the UK in two sets was being broadcast live on Channel 4 (9.2 million viewers listened to the broadcast and many more streamed it on Amazon Prime), as she had cut herself off from the rest of the world.
Video: Emma Raducanu becomes first British woman in 44 years to win a Grand Slam title (The Independent)
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I just completely turned off everything, gave my phone away. I haven’t had a chance to catch up. I haven’t checked my phone yet.
Prior to July and her run at Wimbledon, when she was wildcarded, she reached the fourth round before having to stop breathing difficulties, nobody knew anything about Emma Raducanu. Now everyone knows she was born in Canada before moving to the UK at the age of two. Her father Ian, who works in finance, is Romanian but had emigrated to Toronto where he met Renee before moving to Bromley. Raducanu is an only child, educated at Newstead Wood School, a grammar school in nearby Orpington, which includes world champion sprinter Dina Asher-Smith, world champion sprinter Dina Asher-Smith.
The school has produced many good athletes, Raducanu said Sunday, praising the institution for giving her the flexibility to study and play tennis.
Her friends also helped. Celine Aboagye, 18, told the Telegraph on Sunday, she was typing notes for her classmate to give her more time on the job. From the first day I met her she had that level of dedication, Ms Aboagye said, from year 9 or 10 I would collect as much work for her as possible. I would type notes for her to make sure she gets caught up.
But it’s hard to look beyond Raducanus’s parents for the inspiration and drive that launched her into the sporting stratosphere. She has repeatedly attributed her tenacity to her mother. Her father is described as gentle and approachable, eager to try different coaches, and is even said to have wanted a different one for every shot in the tennis player’s arsenal.
Raducanus mother, meanwhile, is often too nervous to watch her play. At Wimbledon, both parents sat, intensely private, among the crowd rather than the spotlights on them in the players’ box. They were unable to reach the US due to Covid travel restrictions imposed upon entry.
Raducanu has been a regular traveler to both Romania, where she enjoyed her grandmothers cooking in Bucharest, and Shenyang, where she played with the local table tennis club to improve her reaction time.
Anyone who witnesses her various press conferences and post-match interviews will see a young woman who misses her parents, but was also glad she made them proud. We don’t talk much about tennis, Raducanu said on Sunday.
They just really want to know how I am in these moments. I wish they were here and we can all celebrate together or they can be with me and experience the same things, but you know, they watch very proudly from home.
My dad told me you’re even better than your dad thought, so that was reassuring. My dads are definitely very hard to please, but I managed today.
But Raducanu has done much more than please her parents. She has entranced an entire country.
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