October 25, 2021

Emma Raducanu jokes 'I can't even get a court at my local club' after US Open win - as she says fame won't distract her

September 17, 2021

Emma Raducanu has told Sky News she won't let her new-found fame stop her achieving her potential - as she admitted she still hadn't read all her phone messages.

Despite being catapulted to stardom, she also revealed some things hadn't changed after her historic win, joking: "Honestly, I can't even get a court at my local club!"

Raducanu told Sky's Jacquie Beltrao that improving her tennis remained the overriding aim.

The 18-year-old said she wanted to "maximise my potential" and "won't let any commitments get in the way of that because it's my top priority".

"I won't over-commit myself. I'll just take it how it is and the most important thing for me is still my tennis and improving and training," she said.

On Saturday, Raducanu became the first British woman to win a major title in 44 years and the first qualifier ever to lift a grand slam.

But she told Sky News there were "many, many aspects" of her game that could improve.

The teenager, who was playing only her second slam, said her dream run at Flushing Meadows still seems a bit surreal.

"It's funny because sometimes I'll just have random bursts where I'm like, 'oh my god, I just won the US Open!'... It's a strange feeling to comprehend, but watching the match last night helped it sink in."

She told Sky News she felt more stressed watching back her win than playing in it.

"I just really wanted to let the moment sink in and I thought that would help... But watching is definitely more stressful than playing because you feel like you have control at least when you're playing.

"When you're watching you have no control, but it was really cool to be able to relive some of those moments.

"And at the end I saw my slide when I fell and it was quite long - and I impressed myself with that in slow motion."

Raducanu stepped out on Monday at New York's Met Gala, but the Bromley player said the highlight of the week had been a small celebration with her team the night of her win.

"There was a karaoke bus on the way back from the courts and we were singing Sweet Caroline and Mr Brightside," she said.

"We just had a really nice meal together and discussed everything, just chatted the whole time through."

Raducanu's achievement has won her a legion of new admirers, including stars such as Lewis Hamilton - the seven-time champion of Formula One - a sport she loves.

She met Hamilton at the Met Gala and said it was "really cool just to speak to him after everything he's achieved, he's such a great inspiration".

"In Formula One I love watching all the Brits - Lando, George as well. They're all really cool to be flying the flag high for Great Britain," she told Sky News.

With messages of congratulations coming from the likes of the Queen, Raducanu admitted she still hadn't had time to read all her phone messages.

"Over the next few days I'm hoping to really plough through some of them and I am sorry if I haven't replied yet," she said.

After her sensational win, she said her parents - Romanian father Ian and Chinese mother Renee - hugged her despite their tough love approach.

"They gave me a hug, nothing crazy. They have very high standards and tough love but I think that I didn't really need anything big from them," said Raducanu.

"I know that the just the smallest of congratulations means a lot and for them to say they're proud of me as well, but they were very happy to have me home."

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She said she was glad to be in her own bed and that she had finally tasted her mum's dumplings again, something she had been "craving".

On what's next, the tennis star said rest was on her immediate to-do list.

"When I got home yesterday I just slept the whole day so I'm just starting to recover and rest and I think my body needs it after the last 7-8 weeks."

Raducanu now wants to "inspire little girls or young children to dream big", no matter what their dreams are.

"Even if it's not tennis, even it's to be a doctor, I just want to inspire them to dream big and anything can happen," said the player.

"I just want to get across the message that you can be a normal kid and go to school and do normal things and still achieve results and I think that's my main message to all the kids."

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