British star Raducanu, 18, completed a barely-believable fairytale in New York on Saturday as she beat fellow teenager Leylah Fernandez of Canada to win the US Open women’s singles title.
Among other slices of history, Raducanu became the first player – male or female – to come through qualifying and win a Grand Slam in the Open Era.
Unsurprisingly given her whirlwind success, Raducanu has been hailed as a megastar-in-the-making by many in the UK and beyond.
Raducanu was born in Canada to a Romanian father and Chinese mother, but the family moved to London when she was just two years old.
Speaking on US breakfast TV show ‘Good Morning America’ on Monday, Raducanu hailed their influence as vital in forging her into a US Open queen.
“From a young age I have really been brought up to have mental strength,” said the young toast of the tennis world, whose remarkable achievement will see her rise to the world number 23 spot in the WTA ratings.
“My parents were pretty tough on me when I was young but it shaped the way. Now it is helping on the biggest stages in the world.
“It was really nice to talk to them after I won. They were so happy and proud of me. They are my toughest critics and very hard to please. I got them with this one, they couldn’t resist.”
The reference to ‘mental strength’ will provide ammunition against those who questioned Raducanu’s fortitude when she first burst onto the senior scene at Wimbledon earlier this year.
Marching into the fourth round, Raducanu was forced to retire from her match with Ajla Tomljanovic at the All England club citing breathing difficulties.
That withdrawel had prompted the likes of John McEnroe and later Piers Morgan to wonder whether Raducanu could learn to live with the pressure, amid the ongoing discussion over mental health in sports triggered by the likes of fellow tennis star Naomi Osaka and US gymnastics icon Simone Biles.
After spectacularly dispelling those doubts by not dropping single set on her way to the title at Flushing Meadows, Raducanu is now poised for global superstardom – with many citing her cross-cultural appeal as a marketer’s dream.
That was made even more evident in an interview in which Raducanu charmed Chinese fans with a message in Mandarin.
Emma Raducanu effortlessly sending a message in Mandarin to her fans around the world after a full day of media duties.
Global superstar 🌏⭐️ pic.twitter.com/AZ5pNyHfjX
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) September 13, 2021
In addition to her $2.5 million prize money in New York, some have claimed Raducanu could now cash in to the tune of more than $100 million in sponsorship.
The flipside of Raducanu’s success, however, has been accusations that political figures and pundits in Britain have used her success to fuel pro- or anti-immigration agendas.
That includes London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who issued a (misspelt) message to Raducanu over the weekend which some said stank of ‘race-baiting’ tactics.
Raducanu, though, continues to shine as she enjoys the spotlight after her unprecedented success in New York.