This summer, teenager Emma Raducanu combined opening her A-level exam results with winning the US Open tennis championship in New York. The eighteen-year-old beat fellow teen Leylah Fernandez to win the coveted title. Since then, and at the time of writing , she has been ranked 23rd in the world by the Women’s Tennis Association and top ranked female British tennis player.
How To Emulate Emma Raducanu
Emma’s story has been nothing short of inspirational. She was born in Canada to a Chinese mother and Romanian father and raised in London in the UK. She took part in a variety of sports and studied at a selective grammar school, leaving with A-levels in maths and economics. As such, Emma has many admirable qualities that have helped her rise to the top of her game in international tennis. Here are six lessons that anyone aspiring to greatness in their own sporting journey may find useful to follow.
Look After Yourself
Play stopped during the US Open final for Emma Raducanu to seek medical attention after scraping her knee on the court. While the time-out was not seen as a common occurrence, Emma did the right thing in putting her health and wellbeing ahead of carrying on with the game in pain. Even when the stakes are as high as the US Open, seeking medical help when it is required is crucial.
So, if you sustain a sports injury on the pitch, track or court, make sure it is seen right away by a medical professional. Afterwards, follow up with any treatment plans agreed, such as physio, dressing changes or having a specialist sports injury support device fitted.
Emma Raducanu’s rise has been nothing short of meteoric. She reached the fourth round of the Wimbledon tournament in June and swiftly followed that with her win at the US Open. Believing in yourself and aiming high is really important when competing in anything, sport or otherwise. If you go for the number one slot, you will always find yourself doing the best you can. If you cannot win or beat your personal best at first, try again until you do. Each step will teach you something different.
Come Back Stronger
During her match in the fourth round of Wimbledon 2021, Emma Raducanu felt unwell after a bout of intense rallies that left her feeling out of breath and dizzy. She reluctantly decided to retire from the championships mid-match to recover and re-group. While she found this disappointing, she didn’t let it affect her morale for long and came back refreshed and ready to tackle the US Open just a few weeks later. Lesson to be learned? Don’t let a temporary set-back stop your progress. Rest, recover and come back stronger.
Always Have a Plan B
Emma studies for A-levels in maths and economics alongside a doubtless rigorous tennis training regime. She was rewarded with top academic results. This gives Emma a highly viable ‘plan B’, for whenever she decides, or is obliged to retire from professional tennis. Her A-level results will open different doors for her later on, if she wants to explore different options. Always have a back-up plan or two in your mind, however high up you reach in your chosen sport. This can be a sporting plan or something more academic. You may never need it, but it can be extremely reassuring for you and your loved ones to know that it is there.
Have Positive Role Models
Emma Raducanu’s victory in New York meant that she became the first British woman to the US Open since Virginia Wade took the trophy in 1968. Wade attended Emma’s victory match and the two women doubtless had a lot to talk about afterwards.
Emma Raducanu also took to social media shortly after the match to thank her inner circle of coaches and supporters. Surrounding yourself with positive, proactive, inspirational people can really help you improve your game. It raises your spirits, helps you see what can be achieved and gives you an invaluable source of wisdom and advice.
Keep It Real
Photos of Emma Raducanu holding the trophy aloft showed a young woman who couldn’t stop smiling. She demonstrated a genuine, totally understandable joy and disbelief in what she had managed to achieve. Her social media comments afterwards focused on thanking her team and expressing her gratitude for how things had worked out. When things go well, it can be too easy to tip over into smugness or arrogance. However, ‘keeping it real’ and remembering those around you makes a far better impression. If you can remain modest and grateful in the face of victory, you will find that people will be far more willing to carry on helping you when things are not going your way quite so readily.