British tennis star Emma Raducanu owes resilience to career obstacles to her Chinese mother - GulfToday

British tennis star Emma Raducanu owes resilience to career obstacles to her Chinese mother


Emma Raducanu

Emma Raducanu has revealed she draws strength from her mother’s Chinese heritage while navigating the highs and lows of her tennis career.

The US Open winner was catapulted into the limelight aged just 18 after unexpectedly battling to grand-slam victory, enchanting British and American crowds along the way.

But since then the 20-year-old has been plagued by injuries, including multiple surgeries on her wrist, forcing her to withdraw from several high-profile competitions.

Discussing her rollercoaster career on BBC Radio 4’s Today on Friday, Raducanu said “the resilience” to overcome the setbacks “is something I’ve had since I was a child”, adding that “I got that very much from my mum.”

“I take most of my inspiration from books,” she added. “I read a lot. I read certain history, like Chinese history about the different dynasties. I just take inspiration from places that you wouldn’t necessarily think are obvious.”

Raducanu was born in Toronto, Canada, to a Romanian father, Ian, and a Chinese mother, Renee. The family moved to Britain when Raducanu was two. She speaks fluent Mandarin and Romanian.

She has previously reflected that her quiet confidence can be attributed to her Chinese heritage, adding “They have very good self-belief.”

'My mother inspires me'

In a 2021 interview with British Vogue, the tennis champion said: “I think the confidence comes from just inner belief.

“It’s not necessarily about telling everyone how good you are, but it’s about believing it within yourself. I really respect that about the culture,” she added.

Raducanu’s mum, Renee Zhai, hails from Shenyang, China, while her father, Ian Raducanu, is from Bucharest.

After her US Open win fixed the spotlight on Raducanu, the young player from Bromley, southeast London, has spoken extensively about a deep sense of pride in her parents’ work ethic and their commitment to succeeding in the UK.

In an earlier interview, she said: “My mum has always instilled a lot of the qualities, like discipline and respect for other people, into me, so I think having parents like I do, they always push me, they have high expectations, so I’ve always tried to live up to that.

“I would say I take a big part of my inspiration from her. She always shows me by example what ‘hard work’ means,” she continued.

Chinese tennis ace Li Na is also a role model

Raducanu, who shared a video thanking her Chinese fans for their support after her glittering US Open win, also draws inspiration from the country’s tennis megastar Li Na.

The former world number two became the first Chinese player to win a grand slam singles title when she beat then-defending champion Francesca Schiavone at the 2011 French Open.

Elsewhere, Raducanu affirmed her return to tennis after the sports star underwent surgery on both her wrists and an ankle earlier this year, adding that she’s “looking forward to starting again” and pressing “reset” on her career.

“I will be coming back with probably a lower ranking, but I’m actually looking forward to starting again, kind of resetting,” she said.

In September, Raducanu’s world ranking dropped to 280, from a career-high of 10, with the player changing multiple coaches during her professional career.

The Independent

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