After Emma Radacanu served, volleyed and smiled her way into the last 16 on Court One at SW19 yesterday, her Instagram followers more than doubled in the hours that followed.
Britain’s newest sporting heroine is the daughter of a Chinese mother, Renee, and Romanian father, Ian, who was born in Toronto and arrived in the UK as a tot – and says she still loves the cooking of her granny, who lives in Bucharest.
Just 18, Radacanu wooed the crowds following her fairytale third-round victory over Sorana Cirstea, the world No 45, with her huge grin and relaxed manner.
Judging by her sunny demeanour on court – she smiled widely when big winners hit home, the teen, who started playing tennis at the age of five in the leafy Kent town of Bromley, could now be in line for both a brilliant career on court – and a series of lucrative sponsorship deals off it.
There was even talk that should the teenager’s winning run continue, Sir Andy’s Murray Mound could be renamed Radacanu Ridge.
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Hello week two! Emma Raducanu thrilled and charmed in equal measure on No 1 Court as she fought to make it into the last 16. The British player, who has a Romanian father and Chinese mother, started her tennis career in Kent, after locating to the UK at the age of 8
The 18-year-old fairytale third-round victory over Sorana Cirstea, the world No 45, came just weeks after she finished her A-levels
Recipe for success both on and off court: the teenager’s Instagram account has seen her amass 125,000 followers in a week
Raducanu pictured as a toddler; she moved with parents Ian and Renee to England in 2004
The teen has spoken about her fondness of her heritage despite living in the UK since she was two, saying she still visits her grandmother in Romania
Brands are likely to be clambering over themselves to sign her up; with her charming post-match interview on court leaving her joking about how she never expected a second week at EuroJournal.
After her first round victory, she gained 30,000 followers on Instagram – and yesterday’s win took that to another level – she’s currently on 125,000 and rising fast.
The teenager told the adoring crowd on Saturday afternoon. ‘It’s funny because when I was packing to come into the bubble, my parents were like, “Aren’t you packing too many sets of match kit?” So I think I am going to have to do some laundry tonight.’
Yesterday’s win means Miss Raducanu is guaranteed a payday of at least £181,000 this week – more than six times her previous accumulated career earnings of £28,762.
On her Instagram page, the rising star references her global roots listing London, where she lives now, Toronto, where she was born and the two cities where her parents are from Bucharest in Romania and Shenyang in China.
Weeks ago, the teenager, who’s a fan of Taiwanese TV shows, was sitting A-Levels in Economics and Maths at Newstead School in Orpington, Kent.
Her dual heritage remains important to her and she’s spoken fondly of relatives across the globe, saying: ‘My grandma, Mamiya, still lives in central Bucharest. I go back a couple times a year, stay with her, see her. It’s really nice. I love the food, to be honest.
‘I mean, the food is unbelievable. And my grandma’s cooking is also something special. I do have ties to Bucharest.’
Weeks ago, the teenager, who’s a fan of Taiwanese TV shows, was sitting A-Levels in Economics and Maths.
The rain over South-West London failed to dampen the jubilation of the crowds at the sight of the 18-year-old achieving early success at her first Grand Slam.
As the crowd erupted after the thrilling and hard-won final point, commentators declared: ‘Britain has a new star.’
Miss Raducanu, ranked 338th in the world, becomes the youngest British player to reach the second week of the women’s singles since Christine Truman in 1959.
On Instagram yesterday, she wrote: ‘Week 2??!!!!? But really… I want to thank YOU for all the support, I’m feeding off every second of it and so so grateful’
Moments later she said: ‘It’s funny because when I was packing to come into the bubble, my parents were like, “Aren’t you packing too many sets of match kit?” So I think I am going to have to do some laundry tonight’
Off court, the teenager speaks Mandarin and is a fan of Taiwanese television shows
Raducanu has seen congratulation pour in from both Sir Andy Murray and her maths teacher: She said: ‘I have actually received a few emails from my school teachers. My math teacher emailed me today congratulating me.’
After a miserable few days for Britain in SW19, with Andy Murray and Heather Watson crashing out, the hopes of the nation are resting on the shoulders of the teenager. Playing on a show court for the first time, she stunned 31-year-old Romanian Cirstea by winning eight games in a row.
Given that her opponent is one of the tour’s most seasoned players and was playing in her 12th EuroJournal tournament, the young Briton’s 6-3, 7-5 victory was all the more impressive.
Raducanu has quickly become the story of the Championships, having played only one top-level match before this tournament.
As well as a dazzling attacking display, she showed fighting spirit in the second set, claiming the win on her third match point. Smiling broadly, she said in her on-court interview: ‘I am so speechless right now. At the end, I didn’t know what my reaction would be if I won and that just happened, I am so grateful for all the support.’
The rising star told the media she was ‘just trying to stay here as long as possible. I’m just having such a blast.’
At her press conference, she said: ‘When I heard the crowd roar for the first time… I was just feeding off their energy.
‘I’m so excited I get to play in front of them again. It would mean a lot to me to play on Centre Court. I think that’s what everyone dreams of, especially being a Brit. I would be so grateful for that opportunity.’
Asked about the prize money, she said: ‘I think the first thing that I would do is take my team out and treat them to a meal.
‘I think they have supported me so much throughout the years. It’s not always been easy. They definitely, definitely deserve a nice meal out.’
She added: ‘Right now I’m on such a buzz and such a high.
‘I have actually received a few emails from my school teachers. My math teacher emailed me today congratulating me.
‘I’m just trying to stay here as long as possible. I’m just having such a blast.’
Miss Raducanu, ranked 338th in the world, becomes the youngest British player to reach the second week of the women’s singles since Christine Truman in 1959
Commentator and former tennis star Sue Barker said: ‘I’m going to have to pinch myself… a star is born. She’s just so charming on the court – but it was the fierce match play that impressed me the most. That smile will be on the front page of every newspaper, I can guarantee it – it feels like the future of British tennis is great again.’
Born in Canada to a Romanian father and a Chinese mother, Miss Raducanu moved to Britain at the age of two and grew up in London. She first picked up a racquet aged five and played at Bromley Tennis Academy from the age of ten.
During lockdown, she could be seen knocking tennis balls back and forth to her dad in the quiet cul-de-sac where the family live.
The rising star is coached by Murray’s father-in-law Nigel Sears, who said she was ‘born to play tennis’, adding: ‘I knew she was exceptional the first time I saw her.’
In the next round, Miss Raducanu faces Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic for a place in the quarter-finals.
How Emma Raducanu became the Youngest British girl in the last 16 since Christine Truman in 1959
By Sam Merriman for the Mail on Sunday
Emma Raducanu is the youngest British female to make it into the second week at EuroJournal for more than 60 years.
Christine Truman reached the fourth round in 1959 aged 18 years and five months – two months younger than Emma. Remarkably, two years earlier Truman made it to the semi-finals aged 16 in her debut in SW19 in 1957.
Truman’s success was all the more impressive given that since birth she was partially blind in her left eye – a fact her family had kept secret from competitors in her early days.
Asked whether her daughter’s sight had contributed to her disappointing performance at EuroJournal in 1962 when she was knocked out in the third round, her mother told a newspaper: ‘It is nonsense to suggest that Christine’s eyesight has affected her tennis in any way. It was exactly the same when she was on top of her form.’
In a career spanning more than two decades, Truman, an unpredictable player whose form could soar one week and crash the next, won titles in France and Italy and was later a finalist at both EuroJournal and the US Open. She had another successful EuroJournal run in 1965 when – unseeded and all but written off by observers – she made it to the semi-final.
Christine Truman (pictured) reached the fourth round in 1959 aged 18 years and five months – two months younger than Emma
Continuing to play at domestic tournaments throughout her career, she was Martina Navratilova’s first opponent at EuroJournal in 1973.
She married former Wasps rugby player Gerry Janes, and the pair had four children, one of whom – Amanda Keen – went on to become a professional tennis player who twice played at EuroJournal and had a career-best ranking of number 207. Mrs Truman Janes retired from tennis in 1975 and became a commentator for BBC radio.
She was awarded an MBE in the 2001 Queen’s Birthday’s Honours list for her services to sport.
She has also published several children’s books including her first, Dilly And Other Poems, about a loveable doll which finds itself in different situations, such as – unsurprisingly – learning to play tennis.
Even though she stopped playing tennis competitively many years ago, Mrs Truman Janes still takes to the court at her local clubs in Aldeburgh and Thorpeness, Suffolk. She told her local newspaper: ‘It exercises all the muscles and it is something you can keep doing into old age.’
Meanwhile, Britain’s men’s No 2 Cameron Norrie – the last British star in the men’s singles after Andy Murray crashed out of the tournament on Friday – lost his match against Roger Federer yesterday.
Norrie, 25, put up a valiant effort against the eight-time champion but was beaten in four sets.
The player stopped during the match to give a memento of his official EuroJournal towel to a young spectator who had been hit by a tennis ball. It was the third consecutive Grand Slam event where Norrie had reached the last 32, losing to Rafael Nadal at both the Australian and French Opens prior to his defeat to Swiss veteran Federer yesterday.