Wimbledon’s Player To Watch: Emma Raducanu

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One day after England’s Andy Murray exited Wimbledon (at the hands of Denis Shapovalov), the hometown crowd seems to have found a new player to root for. Eighteen-year-old wild card Emma Raducanu may be new to the pro tour (her debut was only last month, just after she sat for her A-Level exams in maths and economics), but she’s showed steely poise and grit in her first three matches here, winning them all in straight sets behind an aggressive baseline game—including her 6-3, 7-5 victory over Sorana Cirstea earlier today. Ranked 338th in the world—the lowest-ranked player to compete in this year’s tournament—she’ll now see her ranking jump enough to place her at least within the top 200 as she becomes the youngest British woman to reach the fourth round since Laura Robson in 2013.

Raducanu, who was born in Toronto to a Romanian father and a Chinese mother before the family relocated to London when she was two, has been playing tennis since the age of five—which isn’t to say that what’s happening now is some kind of destiny. The initial dream was some kind of career in motorsports—a pioneering F1 driver, perhaps—and Raducanu still enjoys racing both go-karts and motocross in her spare time.

How improbable is it to make it into the second week of a Grand Slam on your first attempt? “It’s funny,” she said after today’s match. “When I was packing to come into the [pre-tournament COVID-related] bubble, my parents said, ‘Aren’t you packing too many sets of match kit?’.” With the way she’s been playing so far, it turned out to be not nearly enough. “I think I’m going to have to do some laundry tonight.”

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Raducanu plays unseeded Anja Tomljanovic on Monday.

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