Emma Raducanu 'wished her parents were at US Open' after Covid rules kept them in UK

13 September 2021, 23:58

Emma Raducanu's parents, Renee and Ian, were unable to be at the US Open final
Emma Raducanu's parents, Renee and Ian, were unable to be at the US Open final. Picture: Alamy
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Britain's newest tennis superstar Emma Raducanu has said she "would have loved" her parents to be there to watch her historic US Open victory but Covid rules kept them in the UK.

The Grand Slam winner told reporters that she wished her mother Renee, originally from China, and her father Ian, originally from Romania, could have been in New York so they could "celebrate together".

However, she added that the pair had been closely watching her incredible performances from home and were "very proud" following Saturday's victory over Raducanu's 19-year-old Canadian rival Leylah Fernandez.

The 18-year-old Brit - who was born in Canada but moved to the UK with her parents aged two and now lives in Kent - also joked that she was happy to earn praise from her "very tough to please" father.

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"I speak to my parents, we don't really talk so much about tennis but they just really want to know how I am in these moments," she told reporters.

"To not have them here with me, I would have loved them to be here and we can all celebrate together or they could be with me and experience the same things but you know, they're watching from home very proud.

"My dad said to me, 'you're even better than your dad thought' so that was reassuring.

"My dad's definitely very tough to please but I managed to today."

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Her parents were unable to be at Flushing Meadows due to coronavirus travel restrictions between the UK and the USA.

With the States still suffering heavily at the hands of the Delta variant, entering the country from Britain requires a special exemption visa, which can be complex to get hold of.

Prior to the final, Raducanu was asked whether her parents would be in attendance for the match, which saw her become the first qualifier to go all the way in a Grand Slam in either men's or women's tennis.

Responding, she said: "It's not possible, because you need a waiver and it takes a couple of weeks for approval.

"It's too late and they won't be able to get one.”

The teenager made history by becoming Britain's first female Grand Slam champion in 44 years after seeing off all her opponents in straight sets both in qualifying and in the competition proper.

Prior to the US Open, she was ranked 150th in the world and had made around £220,000 in career prize money.

Following her remarkable achievement, she will now move up to 23rd in the women's rankings and picked up a winnings cheque of £1.8 million.

Raducanu has also said she will frame a letter of congratulations she received from the Queen following her stunning first career title win.

The monarch congratulated the tennis star on her 6-4, 6-3 victory, saying: "It is a remarkable achievement at such a young age, and is testament to your hard work and dedication."

Responding, the 18-year-old told US breakfast show Good Morning America: "It's absolutely insane, it's incredible, I was so honoured and grateful to receive a note from Her Majesty.

"It meant everything to me and I will probably frame that letter."

Raducanu was sitting her A-Levels a little more than three months ago having not played a competitive match for more than a year but she has burst onto the big stage like no one before her.

She has now been crowned British No 1 after beating Fernandez in an hour and 51 minutes.

No qualifier had ever reached a slam final before and she is the first woman to win a title in as few as two tournaments, and the youngest since Maria Sharapova triumphed at Wimbledon in 2004.