Mother's Chinese heritage gave me self-belief, says Emma Raducanu

Mother’s Chinese heritage gave me self-belief, says Emma Raducanu

She may be the UK’s newest sporting sweetheart, holding the future of British women’s tennis in the palm of her service hand, but Emma Raducanu has credited her Chinese and Romanian parentage with much of her drive and determination.

The family biography of the Toronto-born teenager with a Romanian father and Chinese mother who came to Britain when she was just two is now becoming increasingly familiar to the British public.

Less well known is the fact that until the Covid pandemic she travelled regularly to her mother’s home city of Shenyang, in northeast China, to visit relatives and train at a local sports institute away from the growing limelight in Britain.

Here, at the Shenyang Institute of Physical Education, she not only practised the strokes and court play that propelled her to Saturday’s final of the US Open, but also played table tennis with professional players in order to improve her reactions.

And while other aspiring British schoolgirls may have looked up to the likes of Virginia Wade, Laura Robson, Heather Watson and Johanna Konta, Raducanu took inspiration from China’s tennis idol, the former world number two Li Na.

“Even though Li Na has retired, I’ve watched lots of her matches on YouTube, because she was really aggressive,” Raducanu said in July. “Her movement was what impressed me the most. She was so agile and quick-and very powerful. She wouldn’t miss an opportunity to be aggressive.”

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