ECONOMY

Emma Raducanu’s US Open heroics inspire children at former tennis club


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mma Raducanu’s sensational US Open win has already sparked a surge in interest among a new generation of youngsters to play tennis, her former coach has said.

Staff and players at her old club said they were still “buzzing” after a late night of celebrations and say “the world is her oyster now” after the 18 year-old became the first British female to win the US Open since Virginia Wade in 1968.

Raducanu played at Parklangley Club in Beckenham, south-east London where she was coached by Harry Bushnell from the age of six to 10.

He believes the new Raducanu era is “massive” for British tennis which has been desperate to emulate the top flight achievements of Grand Slam winner Sir Andy Murray in the women’s game.

Sir Andy won three Grand Slam singles titles out of the 11 finals he has played.

Mr Bushnell said: “There will be more to come now. I know she is up to it.

“Last night I saw her interviews after the match and she conducted herself incredibly well.

Harry Bushnell (David Parry/PA) / PA Wire

“She was not too emotional and held herself together impeccably.

“When she was parading the trophy after the final, she said herself that she was ready to do anything that is thrown at her.

“While she is only 18, it just feels like she has been here before and she was born to do it.

“I think she is one of those special ones that will handle it and take it all in her stride.”

Raducanu put in “an absolutely unbelievable performance” to beat 19-year-old teenager Leylah Fernandez 6-4 6-3 in Saturday’s final at Flushing Meadows because she was in a Grand Slam final the first time, playing in front of a capacity crowd and in one of the biggest stadiums in the world, according to Mr Bushnell.

He recalled that Raducanu always stood out as something special among the young players.

“The one thing about Emma is that she just seemed different.

“I don’t really know what that was but you just had a feeling about her.

“While it is unprecedented, what she has done, I would say that if anyone was going to to it, it was going to be Emma Raducanu ” he said.

“It is just a real buzz to be part of it.”

There has been a long and detailed plan involving a lot of coaches and other people to develop Raducanu into a bright young talent, according to club manager Dave Cooke who said that everyone expected her to do well in tennis but not so quickly at this level.

As an unseeded qualifier, Raducanu exceeded her own wildest dreams in claiming her first Grand Slam title and won the tournament without dropping a set.

The moment of victory for Emma Raducanu (Michael Nagle/Xinhua/PA) / PA Media

Mr Cooke was impressed by her mental strength adding she was “just being so strong in being in a grand slam final for the first time and (doing it) at such a young age.”

He said: “Her physical work was just amazing.

“She is so strong and able to enjoy it, and be in the moment while also producing fantastic tennis.

Seeing images of her singing Sweet Caroline as it was played at the stadium after she won was just typical of the hardworking “level-headed fun-loving kid” that he remembers who was always willing to give her time and help out with the juniors at the club.

Fans at the Parklangley Club in Beckenham, celebrate Emma Raducanu winning the US Open Final (David Parry/PA) / PA Wire
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