Emma Raducanu puts success down to ‘very hard-to-please parents’

Eighteen-year-old US Open winner says upbringing has given her mental strength to succeed

Britain’s newest sporting star, Emma Raducanu, has put her stunning success at the US Open down to her “very hard-to-please parents”, who she said had given her the mental strength to succeed.

Such is the 18-year-old’s burgeoning popularity in the United States that she was invited on to two of America’s flagship programmes – ABC’s Good Morning America and the NBC Today Show, each with more than 3 million viewers – to talk about winning her first tennis grand slam tournament.

Raducanu laughed as she told ABC’s presenters that even her father, Ian, and mother, Renee, had been impressed when she called them after her victory on Saturday night.

“It was really nice to talk to them after I won,” she said. “They were just so happy and proud of me and my toughest critics, and very, very hard to please. But, yeah, I got them with this one. They couldn’t resist.”

Due to strict Covid-19 rules, Raducanu’s parents could not be in New York to see her extraordinary run in the tournament end with her first grand slam title and a $2.5m (£1.8m) cheque. But she stressed that they played a crucial role in helping her develop the resilience to deal with the pressure she faced in New York.

“I think that from a young age I’ve always sort of been brought up to have mental strength,” she told the presenter George Stephanopoulos. “My parents played a huge part in my upbringing and they were pretty tough on me when I was young, but it kind of shaped the way I am.

“And I think now it’s helping on the biggest stages in the world, and Arthur Ashe stadium, when you really need it, and it was basically at full capacity – so it was very, very cool.”

Appearing on NBC an hour later, Raducanu admitted she was still getting to grips with her astonishing run in New York, where she became the first qualifier to go on to win the title.

“Three weeks ago I did not think I would last the whole trip. I thought that I would be home in a week, after qualifying,” she said. “Now three weeks later the time has flown and I was holding the trophy at the end. It was the best time of my life.”

In a post on Instagram, she revealed she had been sightseeing in New York. Later on Monday she will also attend the Met Gala, the Oscars of the fashion world.

Raducanu, whose victory has catapulted her from 150th to 23rd in the world rankings, also had a message for other young athletes who wanted to succeed. “It’s inner belief and just taking care of each day as best as possible, because 10 matches ago, when I was playing my first-round qualifiers, I did not think I’d be in the US Open final or winning it.”

One of her coaches, Andrew Richardson, agreed that Raducanu’s biggest asset was her mental strength. “Her ability to deal with adversity and compete is where it all starts,” she said. “I’ve known her from a young age, and she’s always had that. I’m not sure it can be coached. I think a lot of it is parenting, and her parents should take a lot of credit for the person Emma is. The mental strength she has is truly special.”

Raducanu smiled as she told Good Morning America she had celebrated her victory with a quiet night with her coaching team rather than partying. “Honestly, I haven’t checked my messages yet,” she said. “I’ve just been trying to enjoy the moment. And with my team on the night of the final, we just had a really nice night. We all spent the night just reflecting and it was a really cool moment because it’s been such a long trip for us and everything has gone so fast. We just got to reflect and share a few stories and it was a really nice night to have with everyone.”

Raducanu also thanked the Queen for sending her a message of congratulations following her victory on Saturday, saying: “It is absolutely insane to think … it’s incredible. I was so honoured and grateful to receive a note from Her Majesty. I mean, it meant everything to me, and I’ll probably frame that letter and keep it in my room or something.”


Sean Ingle Chief sports reporter

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
‘Such a big inspiration’: Emma Raducanu praises Tim Henman
US Open winner credits her support team and says former British No 1 gave her belief and focus

Robyn Vinter

12, Sep, 2021 @2:38 PM

Article image
‘This girl means serious business’: the making of Emma Raducanu
Even from a young age, those around the latest British tennis star suspected she had something special

Tumaini Carayol

10, Sep, 2021 @7:00 PM

Article image
Emma Raducanu plays Duchess of Cambridge in homecoming event
Tennis queen trades forehands with duchess at friendly event to celebrate Raducanu’s US Open Victory

Sean Ingle Chief sports reporter

24, Sep, 2021 @3:57 PM

Article image
Emma Raducanu: US Open winner could become Britain’s first billion-dollar sport star
PR experts agree the champion is a marketer’s dream – with strongly engaged online fans and talent and charisma to burn

Sean Ingle Chief sports reporter

13, Sep, 2021 @6:40 AM

Article image
Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez usher in dynamic new era | Tumaini Carayol
Teenagers seemed to have been muscled out before the extraordinary form shown by the two youngsters at the US Open

Tumaini Carayol

11, Sep, 2021 @7:00 AM

Article image
Emma Raducanu overcomes early nerves to extend fairytale of New York | Bryan Armen Graham
Emma Raducanu was meant to have met her match in Belinda Bencic but she dismantled the Swiss in a masterclass

Bryan Armen Graham at Flushing Meadows

08, Sep, 2021 @7:06 PM

Article image
Emma Raducanu admits she expected an early exit at US Open
The British teenager Emma Raducanu, who has reached the US Open semi-finals at her first attempt, has credited her parents for her ‘positive attitude’

Tumaini Carayol

08, Sep, 2021 @8:49 PM

Article image
How Emma Raducanu’s team combined to steer her to US Open final | Tumaini Carayol
The ‘calming influence’ of coach Andrew Richardson, her physio, agent and LTA heads of tennis have all lent support

Tumaini Carayol

10, Sep, 2021 @8:34 PM

Article image
Emma Raducanu enjoying the moment before US Open quarter-final | Tumaini Carayol
Emma Raducanu has said she is ‘super-appreciative of the moment’ as the 18-year-old Briton prepares to face Belinda Bencic in the US Open quarter-finals

Tumaini Carayol

08, Sep, 2021 @7:00 AM

Article image
Emma Raducanu salutes beaten Leylah Fernandez on ‘incredible’ tennis
Emma Raducanu said her US Open final opponent ‘was always going to play great tennis’, while Leylah Fernandez paid tribute to New York on the 9/11 anniversary

Tumaini Carayol

11, Sep, 2021 @11:57 PM