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US Open Women's Final 2021: Why Emma Raducanu Is The Hero We All Need

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US Open Women's Final 2021: Why Emma Raducanu Is The Hero We All Need

It's been an amazing week for tennis star Emma Raducanu, who last night won the US Open final without losing a single set, becoming the first British female to win the tournament since Virginia Wade in 1968.

It was the 18-year old's standout performance at Wimbledon earlier this summer that put her firmly on the world stage and the tennis star has become an inspiration to many people, including a generation of young girls. Here's why Emma Raducanu is the hero we all need in 2021.

Emma and her team (Credit: Instagram / Emma Raducanu)
Emma and her team (Credit: Instagram / Emma Raducanu)
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She's open about her mental health struggles

During the second set of her fourth round match at Wimbledon this summer, Emma began having breathing difficulties and had to pull out of the match, on medical grounds.

A few days later, she spoke candidly about the whole experience at Wimbledon had "caught up with her".

At the time, she wrote: "I want to congratulate Ajla on an incredible performance and I'm sorry our match ended the way it did.

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"I was playing the best tennis of my life in front of an amazing crowd this week and I think the whole experience caught up with me.

Emma Raducanu at Wimbledon (Credit: PA)
Emma Raducanu at Wimbledon (Credit: PA)

"At the end of the first set, after some super intense rallies, I started to breathe heavily and felt dizzy. The medical team advised me not to continue and although it felt like the hardest thing in the world not to be able to finish my Wimbledon on the court, I was not well enough to carry on.

"I want to thank the people who have cheered me on every single match, I wanted to win so badly for you! I also want to thank the All England Club, my team, the LTA, my parents and friends. Last night will go a long way to helping me learn what it takes to perform at the top.

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"I will cherish everything we have achieved together this week and come back stronger! Can't wait to see what's next on my journey."

When fellow tennis player Naomi Osaka recently took time off for her own mental health, Emma also spoke out on how she fully supported Naomi's decision to take a break.

She told Vogue: "If that's the best thing for her health, mental health and well-being then I think that that's the right thing to do.

"Because at the end of the day, you're on this journey alone, no matter how many people are in your corner."

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She juggled her A-Levels alongside playing tennis professionally

It's easy to forget that Emma is only 18 years old, but just days before Wimbledon this year, the teen was sitting her A-Levels. In fact, Emma had been juggling her studies with tournaments over the past year, choosing to turn down some matches in favour of her education.

Alan Blount, Emma's head teacher at her old school, told The Times that the teen had "never slacked off her studies", and would often fit in tennis training before and after school.

Over the past year, Emma had been juggling her schoolwork and tennis tournaments (Credit: PA)
Over the past year, Emma had been juggling her schoolwork and tennis tournaments (Credit: PA)
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He said: "Sometimes Emma did early morning sessions in there and would be in school for 8.45am.

"And then she could be back there as soon as school had finished. That made it very easy for her to keep up to speed with both her tennis and her schoolwork."

And all the hard work has paid off for Emma, as she was awarded an A* in Maths and an A in Economics.

She's a record breaker

As well as being the first British woman to reach a Grand Slam final in 44 years, the first British woman to reach a US Open final in 53 years AND the youngest British player to reach a Grand Slam final in 62 years, Emma is also the first ever qualifier to reach the final of a Grand Slam event.

That's a huge accomplishment!

After her win at the US Open on Saturday night, she's also the first British female to win the tournament since Virginia Wade took the title in 1968. What an impressive feat!

She's an empowering young woman

Emma's incredible achievements - she won her first junior tennis tournament at just 13 - in a short amount of time has inspired a new generation of youngsters to take up tennis.

And former British number one Tim Henman has spoken out on how inspirational she is too, calling her "huge" for British sport.

Emma Raducanu has been dubbed the 'next star of British tennis' (Credit: PA)
Emma Raducanu has been dubbed the 'next star of British tennis' (Credit: PA)

In an exclusive interview with the i paper, he said: "Just the way she plays the game, she's inspirational for tennis in the UK.

"There will be a massive amount of young children that will look to Emma as an amazing role model. So it's hugely exciting for British tennis, I think it's exciting for Wimbledon and for world tennis."

He's even said he wouldn't mind changing the name of Henman Hill to Raducanu Ridge in her honour. Now that's something we can get on board with.

She's real and down to earth

A regular poster on Instagram, Emma often shares her feelings about upcoming tournaments and makes a point of thanking her fans for their support.

"Ahhhh final four feeling!!," she recently posted when she got to the semi-finals of the US Open. "Thank you for all your support, means so much to me."

Emma wrote on Instagram how it was 'pretty fascinating' to see the Golden Gate Bridge after studying it in school (Credit: Instagram / Emma Raducanu)
Emma wrote on Instagram how it was 'pretty fascinating' to see the Golden Gate Bridge after studying it in school (Credit: Instagram / Emma Raducanu)

She also told Vogue about her shock at making an important shot during her time at Wimbledon, showing that she too can feel overwhelmed.

She said: "At one point mid-game, I just let my racket go because I just didn't believe I made that shot."

She also revealed: "I feel I relate to the younger audience, you know, who are still in school."

Aww, Emma!

She's been dubbed the "new star of British tennis"

Well according to tennis veteran Virginia Wade that is. Virginia, who won three Grand Slam titles, told ITV News: "Without question I think Emma is the new star of British tennis. There's no question she's just got special qualities, she's good in all departments."

The tennis champion also called her "very exuberant", a "lovely person" and said she was impressed with Emma's talent.

"I think she's going to be in that handful [of people] who will be dominating the game."

Emma Raducanu, we salute you!

Featured Image Credit: PA Media

Topics: News, Life

Aneira Davies
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