Emma Raducanu reflects on an incredible year

It was a beaming Emma Raducanu who spoke to reporters after Friday night’s win over Tereza Martincova. Not just because of the dominance of the 7-6, 6-0 score, but also because she had just been given a comforting reminder of how far she’d come in the last year.

Earlier the same day, while waiting to be called to court, Raducanu received a notification on his phone. Part of the “memories” feature, it reminded her that on April 29, 2021, she had just walked into an exam room in Orpington for her final summer test.

“I was just reflecting on it and I was like, ‘Oh my God, 365 days ago, I was literally sitting in an exam room doing math homework three,’” Raducanu said. “I would have taken everything that happened and dealt with any kind of downfall or loss or whatever those feelings are if you had given me what I had last year. It definitely gave me a lot of satisfaction and [the feeling of] be very proud of myself. So I was really looking forward to continuing.”

Here was an opportune moment of encouragement. Raducanu’s season has been a stop-and-go affair, featuring numerous annoying physical imperfections and just one example of back-to-back wins. But when she thought of that serious 18-year-old student, and then considered where she was now – sitting in the players’ lounge at one of the four biggest WTA events of the year – she couldn’t help but smile.

A model student and gifted athlete, Raducanu earned an A star in mathematics and an A star in economics. The choice of subjects was clearly influenced by parents, who work in the financial sector. But as soon as she put her pen down, after answering the final question, her mind was already shifting from trigonometry to tennis.

“It’s funny because that afternoon I went to hit some balls because I had to prepare really fast for the grass season”, explained Raducanu. “I didn’t play tennis for two months. So, I mean, I was like, ‘Wow, I have a few weeks to get in shape to play my first WTA in Nottingham.’

“I actually played a British Tour event at the Connaught Club [near Chingford in Essex] the week after my exams,” added Raducanu, who had to pay £25 to get in. “I lost a match and was really thinking about what was going on. And then the next week I played another British Tour and managed to win. It was very ugly, but I won.

“I feel like this mentality of only getting up when you feel like you’re at the lowest level [is important]”, she concluded. “I lost in the second round of a British Tour event. My head was in the trash, but then I came back and had a great grass season.”

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