Raducanu’s Grand Slam Serve

How the eighteen year old tennis sensation rose to international success.


By Amritha Dewan

Just eight months ago, Emma Raducanu’s biggest worry was whether or not her high school A-Level exams would take place amidst the pandemic chaos. Now the tennis star has won a Grand Slam title at just eighteen years old, making her one of the youngest women to ever win the US Open.

Raducanu was born in Toronto, Canada, on November 13, 2002, to a Chinese mother and Romanian father, who are both from academic backgrounds. She was raised in London and began playing tennis in 2007 at the young age of five. Throughout her career she has had many wins, with some highlights including her first national junior title at age nine, and receiving her first international junior win at age 10. Raducanu made her junior Grand Slam debut at Wimbledon at the age of 14, and in 2018 she made it to the girls’ singles quarterfinals at both the Wimbledon Championships and the US Open. Later that same year she turned professional, and alternated between junior and professional tournaments throughout 2018 and 2019.

Unfortunately most tennis events in 2020 were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Raducanu continued to hone her skills on her own. She trained with coach Andrew Richardson, a former professional tennis player from Britain. Luckily tennis events ramped up again, and in June of 2021 Raducanu made her main draw Grand Slam debut at the Wimbledon Championships. At Wimbledon, she advanced to the round of sixteen, making her the youngest British woman to reach the round of sixteen since 1968. In the second set of her fourth round match against Ajla Tomljanovic at Wimbledon, she had to stop the game due to breathing difficulties and could not advance any further in the tournament. 

At the women’s US Open this August, Raducanu competed against a number of older and more experienced players, and advanced quickly up the ranks. She even displaced Johanna Konta, the legendary British tennis star, as the #1 women’s tennis player in the UK. She progressed to the finals and played against another teenager, Leylah Fernandez, a 19 year old from Canada. Both women played incredibly well, but ultimately Raducanu won in two sets. This made her the first qualifier to ever win a Grand Slam, meaning she got into the main tournament by means of a pre-qualifying tournament, not because of her tennis world rank number.

This was the first all-teenage women’s singles final since Serena Williams played Martina Hingis in the final of the 1999 US Open. As a result of her Grand Slam title win, Raducanu’s world ranking rose from 150 to an astonishing 23. Her win has been dubbed by some as “one of the most remarkable and unlikely triumphs in British sporting history.” Tennis fans around the world are eager to see where the prodigy goes next.