Emma Raducanu is a British professional tennis player who rose to worldwide stardom after becoming the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam title in the open era at the 2021 US Open.
Name: Emma Raducanu
Born: November 13, 2002
Turned Pro: 2018
Born on the 13th of November 2002, Emma Raducanu became a worldwide sensation pretty much overnight after becoming the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam title in the open era, courtesy of her 2021 US Open victory. Born in Toronto, Canada but raised in the UK to parents of Romanian and Chinese descent, Raducanu first began playing tennis at the age of 5 years old.
Raducanu made her ITF debut on her 13th birthday at an event in Liverpool, England and showed early signs of promise, winning the tournament just eight days later and becoming the youngest person ever to win an under-18 ITF tournament in the process. In total, Raducanu would rack up a total of seven titles during her junior career.
Competing in the girl's singles classification at the 2018 Wimbledon championships, Raducanu would make it to the quarter-final stage defeating her future US Open final opponent Leylah Fernandez along the way before being demolished by Iga Swiatek 6-0, 6-1 in the last eight.
Turning professional in 2018, Raducanu made her women’s debut at the ITF Tiberias in May, winning the $15,000 title and before the year was out, the young Brit had added her 2nd senior title after victory in Antalya.
Making her Grand Slam debut at the 2021 Wimbledon championships after receiving a wildcard, Raducanu made it to the fourth round and became the youngest British woman to reach the last 16 of a Grand Slam in the Open Era. Victories over Vitalia Diatchenko, Markéta Vondroušová and Sorana Cîrstea saw Raducanu become front-page news back home in Britain. After suffering difficulties breathing, Raducanu was forced to withdraw from her fourth-round tie with Australia’s Ajla Tomljanović, ending her first Grand Slam.
Entering the 2021 US Open as world-ranked 150, Raducanu was forced to battle through three gruelling qualifying matches just to enter the tournament proper. Once there however, the 18-year-old would set the competition alight.
The imperious Raducanu romped to a famous victory without losing a set in the tournament. Whilst her run to the last 16 at Wimbledon may have made her front page news in the UK, Raducanu’s 6-4, 6-3 win over Leylah Fernandez in the US Open final at the Arthur Ashe Stadium made her an instant worldwide superstar.
The first qualifier to win a Grand Slam title in the open era, the first British female to win a Grand Slam in 44 years, the youngest major champion since Maria Sharapova at the 2004 Wimbledon Championships and the lowest-ranked player to win a major since Kim Clijsters at the 2009 US Open, Raducanu rose to 23rd in the world rankings.
Off the back of her US Open success, Raducanu became a featured athlete for Nike and an ambassador for brands such as Tiffany & Co, Dior, British Airways and Evian. In 2022, Raducanu was ranked as the 12th most marketable athlete in the world by SportsPro.
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