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Sport The day Emma Raducanu won her first Under 18 event.... aged 12

02:51  15 september  2021
02:51  15 september  2021 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

Emma Raducanu, 18, begins US Open final in front of 24,000 fans

  Emma Raducanu, 18, begins US Open final in front of 24,000 fans Emma Raducanu, 18, is taking on Leylah Fernandez, 19, in front of 24,000 fans at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York - the first all-teenage women's final at Flushing Meadows in 22 years. On the line is a prize cheque for £1.8million - more than eight times Raducanu's current career earnings - as well as 2,000 ranking points, which would move the teenager up from her current standing of 150 to 23. The match was preceded by a poignant ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of 9/11, with a massive Stars and Stripes flag unfurled by female cadets, while a '9-11-01' stencil has been painted onto the court.

a group of people posing for a picture while holding a racket: MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo

The Liverpool Tennis Centre is a world away from the glitz and glamour of Flushing Meadows. Squeezed into the back of a public park, next to the West Coast mainline train track, it is an unremarkable place.

It is, however, home to a remarkable story: for it was here that the teenager who is currently the most talked about sportswoman in the world, developed the winning habit. Emma Raducanu will never forget New York but she will never forget the suburb of Wavertree, either.

In June 2015, the newly-crowned US Open champion was recruited to play a junior event at the Liverpool International Tournament. The competition was launched in 2002, the brainchild of Anders Borg, an ambitious Norwegian, to give players a different option to prepare for Wimbledon.

Emma Raducanu visits the New York Stock Exchange after Met Gala debut

  Emma Raducanu visits the New York Stock Exchange after Met Gala debut Miss Raducanu, whose parents both work in the City of London, has admitted to still being on 'cloud nine' after her stunning victory and plans a few days of rest before playing tennis again.Miss Raducanu, whose parents both work in the City of London as currency market traders, has admitted to still being on 'cloud nine' after her stunning victory and plans a few days of rest before she is back playing tennis again.

a couple of people posing for the camera: ( © Provided by Daily Mail (

Russia’s Marat Safin — then the World No1 — was the inaugural winner of the men’s event, when it was staged at nearby Calderstones Park.

What Borg really wanted to do, though, was provide the players of the future with a platform. In the last two decades, some of the biggest names have been to Liverpool, including Novak Djokovic (2005), Caroline Wozniacki (2006) and Eugenie Bouchard (2010).

But when Raducanu played, Borg — an Arsenal fanatic who is based in Oslo — was aware a different type of talent had arrived. She has shown over the course of the last fortnight that she will not hesitate to push boundaries and that was definitely the case in Liverpool.

‘I believe she was 12 when she came to us,’ Borg tells Sportsmail via Zoom. ‘Normally you can’t play Under 18 if you are below 13 but she was just about to turn 13. The fact she was able to play in — and win — an Under 18 event? Wow. When you saw the physical differences of the girls she was playing, she was tiny at the time.

What can't she do: Emma Raducanu is not just a star on a tennis court

  What can't she do: Emma Raducanu is not just a star on a tennis court Emma Raducanu etched her name into the tennis record books with her historic victory at the US Open last night but the 18-year-old also counts ping pong, motocross and golf among her many talents.The teenager from Kent has been playing tennis since she was just five years old but counts it as just one of her many sporting talents along with golfing, skiing and ping pong.

a group of people posing for a picture while holding a racket: ( © Provided by Daily Mail (

‘She did the same set-up as in America. Winning six matches against top opponents from all over the world. It was just incredible. I couldn’t believe my eyes. First time she won an ITF Under 18. She was so humble, so articulate and polite. And then she had that smile that could warm anyone’s heart. I guess that is why she has become so popular.

‘Emma was dedicated but it was just the way she kept the ball in play at all times. She returned everything. Her mother was super sweet, so polite. Emma herself was the same and very intelligent. She speaks fluent Mandarin and Romanian. She is so smart, the full package.’

Borg has put his heart and soul into the event, which often goes under the radar, and he has been privileged to see what makes a champion at close quarters.

The magic Raducanu radiates, for instance, was something that Djokovic, who failed in his attempt to win the calendar Grand Slam on Sunday, also exuded.

How far can British star Emma Raducanu go at the US Open?

  How far can British star Emma Raducanu go at the US Open? The 18-year-old, from Bromley in Kent, thrashed Spanish world No 41 Sara Sorribes Tormo on Saturday night to set up a last-16 meeting with American Shelby Rogers on Monday. It followed similarly impressive wins over Swiss Stefanie Vogele and Zhang Shuai in the earlier rounds. © Provided by Daily Mail ( © Provided by Daily Mail ( Even including the three qualifiers she won to make her second Grand Slam tournament, Raducanu has yet to drop a single set at Flushing Meadows.

a woman holding a racket: ( © Provided by Daily Mail (

‘With Novak, you could just hear it in the sound of his racket,’ Borg explains. ‘It was different, cleaner, like nothing I had heard. Like “woof”. He was 17 and it sounded magical. There was no doubt, I realised, he was going places big time.

‘With David Ferrer, he was incredible in another way. He would be in the gym in the morning, then he’d play. He’d then go back to the practice courts and finish the day in the gym. It was a daily routine, six hours of working on his game and physical abilities. His dedication was spot on.

‘Caroline Wozniacki had a game where she didn’t make mistakes, she was always putting her rivals under pressure. Eugenie Bouchard contested the Wimbledon final in 2014, four years after she won in Liverpool.’

The narrative that Raducanu has gone on to produce, though, is something from the realms of fantasy. Borg calls it the greatest Grand Slam win of all time and while he recognises her life has changed beyond comprehension, he is sure she will never forget that first success.

Xue Chen holding a racket on a court: ( © Provided by Daily Mail (

‘There has been an explosion in self-belief and ability,’ says Borg. ‘Six months ago, she was ranked 338. Wimbledon was important for her. To go through that (abandoning her match), for her to take some stick after it, it built her inner belief and character.

‘She was never going to let that happen again. In hindsight, that was valuable for her. We put Liverpool on the international map in terms of tennis. It wouldn’t be associated with it but for our event. Tennis is a sport for life and the more kids we can get involved, the better it is.

‘I know she liked Liverpool and I know she has very good memories.’

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Fresh footage shows Emma Raducanu rallying with Andy Murray .
New footage shows how the teenager played with the three-time Grand Slam champion at the National Tennis Centre, just nine months before she stormed to victory at the US Open. Those practice sessions against the Scot were no doubt invaluable for Raducanu, who defied the odds in New York. The 18-year-old is the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam and did so without dropping a single set.A young Raducanu and Murray trained together during the off-season last December, before both went on to compete at Wimbledon.

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