LBC Views: Emma Raducanu is a sensational tennis player - and that's it

13 September 2021, 15:38 | Updated: 13 September 2021, 16:16

Emma Raducanu is a sensational tennis player - and that's it
Emma Raducanu is a sensational tennis player - and that's it. Picture: LBC
Matthew Thompson

By Matthew Thompson

Emma Raducanu’s win was historic. Allow me to take a moment to tell you exactly why it proves that I’m right, and everybody I dislike is wrong. 

Don’t worry. I’ll spare you the lecture. But barely was the last light switched off in New York’s iconic Arthur Ashe stadium on Saturday, when social media was filled with the usual hailstorm of asinine “hot takes” about what her victory “really” meant. 

I’ll tell you what her victory “really” meant: that Emma Raducanu is a sensational tennis player. And that’s it. 

She didn’t ask for this. She doesn’t want to be the centre of the latest instalment of the culture wars. She wants to play tennis. And thank goodness for us that she does.  

Emma Raducanu. Britain’s latest superstar. Yes, a superstar from a multicultural background, or as her own Twitter bio puts it: “london|toronto|shenyang|bucharest”. But that is more or less all she has ever chosen to say on the matter.  

It seems that we are increasingly unable as a nation to simply enjoy the fruits of a stunning sporting triumph, without it descending into another slugfest on Twitter. Spare me your detailed analysis of why it proves Brexit was wrong. Spare me your incorrigible need to inject your latest political fixation into the purity of a moment of sporting excellence. 

I do not pretend that sport exists in a vacuum. Sport is, and always has been bound up with its political context. Jesse Owens. Mohammed Ali. Rangers and Celtic, for goodness sake. But we seem to have reached a point whereby no iconic sporting moment can pass without a mob of hitherto uninterested political commentators popping up to pontificate. 

The Euros was another recent, unedifying example. If spectator sport is anything at all, it should be a chance to set aside the mundane things that divide us. To find, in the beer-soaked clutches of relative strangers, rare and precious moments of transcendence. Unity in the shared love of the game.

Instead, sport is becoming just the latest pulpit in the never-ending quest for retweets and attention - no longer creating moments of unity, but rather unmissable opportunities to jump on the hashtag bandwagon. 

There are many things that we as a nation can look to learn from Emma Raducanu. I dare say her determination to let her tennis do the talking is one of them.