Emma Raducanu has reflected on her crazy year since finishing her A levels and said: “I would have taken everything that’s happened since.” And the US Open champion admitted she is learning to take “more pleasure in the journey” of her young career.
The Bromley teenager has gone from unknown schoolgirl to an instant tennis superstar as the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam title. And despite splitting with her latest coach Torben Belz last week in the latest chapter in her story, she has reached the second round of the Madrid Masters where she faces Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk today (Sunday).
Raducanu was relaxed and chatty as she spoke to British reporters at the Caja Magica after beating Tereza Martincova for her fourth win in three different countries in her first clay campaign. And with a beaming smile, the world No 11 said: “It’s funny because I was on my phone today and I looked at it and it sent me like the memories and one year ago today, I took my last maths exam, my Paper Three and then I was just reflecting on that and I was like: ‘Oh my god, like 365 days ago, I was literally sat in an exam hall doing Paper Three.’
“I would have taken everything that’s happened and dealt with any sort of downs or losses or whatever those feelings are, if you would have given me what I’ve had in the last year, so it definitely gave me a lot of satisfaction and being very proud of myself. So I was really looking forward to carrying on.”
Raducanu, now 19, got an A* in her maths – she also got an A in economics – but her results on the tennis court were not immediately as successful. “It’s funny because that afternoon after my morning exam, I went to go hit some balls because I had to get ready very quickly for the grass season,” she recalled.
“I didn’t play tennis for like two months. I actually played a Brit Tour at Connaught the week after my exams and lost and I was really considering what was going on. And then the week after I managed to win one very ugly and it kept me going and I feel like that mindset of just picking yourself up when you feel like you’re at the lowest of the low – I’m like: ‘My head’s in the bin’ – but then I got back up and all was good and I had a great grass season.”
Raducanu’s rapid success has been accompanied with massive interest in her life with a long list of sponsors but she has had a run of early defeats, injuries and a stalker. “Life in a way was simpler back then because it’s 100 per cent just you and your tennis,” she admitted.
“And I think that it definitely took me a while to adjust to everything that’s been going on but I feel like you if you would have told me any of the results that I’ve had this year, for example, just winning a round in Australia.
“If I hadn’t have won the US Open, I feel like that would have been a good result for someone who’s 19. But in the more recent weeks, I have definitely just taken more pleasure in the journey of it and even when I’m losing, I find it like a great challenge to pick myself back up.”