EMMA RADUCANU certainly received the royal seal of approval after spectacularly winning the US Open in September.
Emma Raducanu has lavished praise on her royal ‘inspiration’ following a stunning breakthrough year for the British star. Raducanu, 19, sensationally captured the US Open in September, becoming the first player in history to win a Grand Slam after having to qualify.
Her triumph at Flushing Meadows, that culminated with her beating fellow teenager Leylah Fernandez in straight sets in the final, was made yet more remarkable by the fact she won the tournament without dropping a set.
As a result her world ranking, as high as 150 when she arrived in New York, currently stands at No 19 as her focus turns to a first ever tilt at the Australian Open in January.
Raducanu’s success saw her elevated to superstardom, and in the aftermath of her US Open win, she attended a number of prestigious events – including the Met Gala.
And she certainly caught the attention of the royal family, with the Queen sending her a congratulatory message after her win over Fernandez, with a spokesman later confirming the 95-year-old had stayed up late into the night to watch her seal victory.
Raducanu, who also reached the last 16 of Wimbledon in July, didn’t hide her delight at the message from her majesty, after being told her win was “testament” to her hard work and dedication.
However, the Queen wasn’t the only royal to make contact with Raducanu, as after her semi-final win the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate Middleton, sent her a good luck message on Twitter.
Furthermore, upon her return to Britain, the Bromley-based player was even joined by the Duchess in practice for a doubles match, after which she said she was impressed with her new playing partner’s forehand.
Speaking to People Magazine, Raducanu revealed the full extent of her admiration for the 39-year-old.
“I think the Duchess is such a great inspiration, just with how she handles everything and how she does so much good work for charities. She’s a real inspiration to the whole country,” she said.
And her impromptu game with the royal has gone down as one of her highlights of a whirlwind year.
“It was a pretty surreal experience to be playing tennis with the Duchess.
“It was kind of crazy, but she was really down to earth and normal. So I found it a really cool experience.”
Meanwhile, Raducanu’s end of season plans have been scuppered after she tested postive for Covid, meaning she will now miss a scheduled exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi.
The news came just moments after learning she had been nominated for the distinguished BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award.
She has already been crowned the WTA Newcomer of the Year and the BT Sport Action Woman of the Year.