Emma Raducanu is an artist based in Bucharest who uses her own body as a canvas. But she doesn’t paint the usual images of fairies, birds and flowers; instead, her fantastical creatures are larger than life. The oversized proportions create a sense of wonderment for viewers that then spark curiosity about what else this talented Romanian can do
Emma Raducanu was born in Romania and is best known for her role as Annie in the fairy tale of New York, which she filmed when she was just 10 years old.
Raducanu won the US Open, ending Britain’s 44-year drought for a women’s Grand Slam singles winner.
|Thursday, December 23rd, at 20:00 GMT|
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Emma Raducanu was unknown outside of British tennis circles before the start of 2021. By the end of the year, the 19-year-old has become a national celebrity and is well-known all over the world.
Winning the US Open as an 18-year-old qualifier was an incredible feat, one that had never been accomplished at any of tennis’ four majors previously.
Three months later, a Radio 5 Live documentary reviewed the feat that catapulted the Bromley youngster from a 499-1 pre-tournament outsider to Sports Personality of the Year.
‘Emma Raducanu: Fairytale of New York,’ which will show at 20:00 GMT on Thursday, will include interviews with British tennis icons Virginia Wade and Tim Henman, as well as members of Raducanu’s backroom crew.
This is a sampling of the documentary’s exploration of one of sport’s greatest triumphs and most amazing tales.
‘Her body was toast’ when she arrived in New York.
Raducanu was thrust into the consciousness of the British public a few months before the US Open with a sensational run at Wimbledon.
She reached the final 16 of her home Grand Slam after being awarded a wildcard, but had to withdraw due to lung issues against Ajla Tomljanovic in what was then her most important match.
Wimbledon was her second professional event, and she needed to win three qualifying matches in New York to get into the main draw of the US Open, which was just her fourth.
Henman, the former British men’s number one, is good friends with Raducanu’s coach, Andrew Richardson, who assisted Raducanu in winning the US Open.
“‘Would you sign a deal guaranteeing winning three qualifying matches but losing in the first round of the main draw?’ you may have asked Emma and Andrew before qualifying. I believe there’s a good probability they’d both signed on the dotted line “Henman said.
Will Herbert, Raducanu’s physiotherapist known as ‘The Mechanic’ for keeping her fit throughout the US Open, agrees.
“Emma’s body was toast the first time I saw her in New York, in my recollection. She was drained “Herbert remembered something.
“She had a few successful weeks in Chicago, so her body was in a bit of a tangle.” Our first goal was to get her past the ‘qualies.’ We had a feeling she was there.
“Her back was no longer mobile, and her muscles were exhausted. Our goal was to go back to regular mobility.”
Despite these reservations, Raducanu made it clear from the moment she stepped off the plane in New York that she was serious about her work.
Raducanu was “kicked off” her practice court after her permitted hour had ended, according to Iain Bates, the LTA’s head of women’s tennis, and she was determined to find another court so she could practice “five or ten minutes extra of completing forehands.”
“She was right on it even at the start of that week,” Bates added.
So it proved, as she followed up her Wimbledon triumphs with three confident victories at Flushing Meadows, earning her a spot in her first Grand Slam main draw outside of the United States.
‘It was evident the level was quite high in the initial rounds,’ says one player.
Raducanu’s narrative, like other fairytales, has a twist of destiny that alters the direction of her trip.
Jennifer Brady, the American 13th seed who reached the final of the Australian Open earlier this year, was meant to be the Briton’s first-round opponent.
Raducanu faced 128th-ranked Stefanie Vogele after she withdrew due to a knee ailment.
Raducanu was a break behind in each set against the seasoned Swiss, but after a little wobble, she prevailed 6-2 6-3 on her eighth match point.
As Raducanu proceeded to win in the US, she and her team had to postpone and reschedule multiple trips back to the UK. “It’s a great issue to have,” she joked after winning in the fourth round.
Shuai Zhang of China came next, a 32-year-old with more than 500 career match victories and a ranking of 101 places higher.
Raducanu put on another show that belied her inexperience and youth, pushing Zhang away with a strong and aggressive performance.
Before travelling out to cover the main draw as a television pundit, Henman had watched Raducanu’s qualification matches from home.
“The caliber of her play was one of the first things that hit me,” said the six-time Grand Slam semi-finalist.
“The conditions were fast, the ball was lively, but the way she was hitting and moving, dominating play, from someone rated 150th in the world, was quite amazing.”
The score did not completely convey her supremacy, but it did in her following round against Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain.
Tormo had just defeated world number one Ashleigh Barty at the Olympics, but Raducanu’s power and accuracy were too much for Tormo to handle in a 6-0 6-1 beating.
“It was one of Emma’s biggest moments of the tournament,” Henman remarked.
“It was Emma’s attention to detail and strategy in playing like she wanted, hitting places on serve and being extremely aggressive from the back of the court,” says the coach.
“That’s when you know the game’s difficulty is quite high. For me, the concern at that point was, ‘Can she keep it up?’”
‘Now you thought she had a chance to win it,’ says the second week.
Raducanu’s reputation had begun to spread.
In the first week, she had been a big draw, and fans flocked to the smaller outside courts to get a peek of her playing, then queued for pictures and signatures.
Raducanu complied with every request with a bright grin, and her enthusiasm on and off the court was palpable.
However, there was a tenacious drive to keep the experience going.
In Arthur Ashe Stadium, Raducanu faced the final surviving American woman in the draw, Shelby Rogers, and rebounded from a sluggish start to beat her.
Herbert said, ” “Andrew would turn to me after every match and ask, ‘What’s going on, Will?’ ‘What the hell is going on?’ ‘I have no clue,’ I would say.”
Before Raducanu, Virginia Wade, Britain’s last female Grand Slam winner, saw the youngster play live in New York and said her game “ticked every box.”
Raducanu faced Swiss 11th seed Belinda Bencic in the quarter-finals, who had just won the Olympic championship and was a significant step up in pedigree from her previous opponents.
“I believed Emma may win the championship for the first time when she defeated Bencic,” Bates remarked.
In yet another straight-set victory, Raducanu exuded controlled execution and purity of strategy.
She repeated the feat the next day against Greek 17th seed Maria Sakkari.
Raducanu not only didn’t have a day off in between matches, but she also had to cope with the unique sensation of playing under the lights on Ashe.
“Emma was able to create an impression on her opponents and compel them to make errors. Those victories were very remarkable. It was a lot of fun to see “Wade said.
‘Looking back, it was really strange,’ says the final.
Raducanu was prepared to play in the final against another adolescent, Canada’s Leylah Fernandez, over three weeks after arriving in New York.
In the build-up, Herbert said the Briton showed no signs of anxiousness.
“It’s impossible to predict how people will respond to their first Grand Slam final. Some individuals will crumble, while others will embrace it. She was unfazed by the situation.”
According to Henman, the pre-match knock-up on Ashe was less certain.
He joked, “It was one of the worst warm-ups I’ve seen in a long time.” “However, from the moment the umpire called time and they began playing, the quality of both players was excellent.”
Raducanu was confident in her game in the final, as she had been throughout the tournament. Even after missing two championship points, she retained her poise and conviction to clinch a surprising victory that no one could have imagined.
“Everyone’s breath was taken away by the level she was able to develop day after day,” Bates added.
“But we all take a step back today and look back with immense satisfaction because of the elegance she played with, the class she shown, and the immensity of the feat.”
As Raducanu exited the court, Wade was one among the first to greet her.
“We made our way down to the players’ lounge, and I had to be first in line to embrace her,” the 76-year-old said.
“It was a whirlwind of activity. Everyone was ecstatic. It was the hug line, of course.”
With beers, champagne, and a cheese tray, Herbert, Richardson, and Henman celebrated.
The entourage departed Flushing Meadows at 11:30 p.m. after the new winner had finished her media responsibilities and been fitted for her winning gown. The festivities at their hotel lasted until around 5 a.m., with lots of sushi and more champagne.
“I get a small giggle every now and again when I think about it. It was all a little weird “Herbert recalled.
“It all came together nicely. That’s the best way I can put it.”
Emma Raducanu, the US Open winner, has been named Sports Personality of the Year for 2021.
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Emma Raducanu is a Romanian singer and songwriter. Her parents separated when she was young, which led her to live with her father in Bucharest. She has released three albums so far: “Fairytale of New York” (2010), “Mama’s Boy” (2012) and “Emma Raducanu” (2014). Reference: emma raducanu parents separated.
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