The secret behind Emma Raducanu's success – inside prestigious school that produces stars


Emma Raducanu has her sights firmly set on the US Open final following a string of successes at Flushing Meadows. The teenager has only dropped 22 total games across 10 sets in five matches and will be facing Maria Zakkari in the US Open semi-finals in just hours.

Raducanu, 18, is setting the benchmark, becoming the first woman since 1990 to reach the fourth round in their first two majors.

Now the semi-final match between Raducanu and Sakkari will take place on Friday, September 10 at around 2am BST.

Raducanu’s soaring success is phenomenal, especially considering she finished her A-levels just a few weeks ago.

Now she is the second favourite with Ladbrokes to win BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

Read More: US Open: Emma Raducanu becomes first qualifier to reach semi-finals

The tennis sensation is just 3/1 to win the US Open, while 4/1 says she pips 13/8 favourite, Tom Daley, to the SPOTY post.

Elsewhere, Adam Peaty is 7/1 in the betting as things stand, with Jason Kenny being slightly ahead at 11/2.

Alex Apati of Ladbrokes said: “There’s a whole host of Olympians seemingly set to do battle for the annual BBC gong, but the betting suggests Emma Raducanu is firmly among the frontrunners as things stand.”

So what’s the secret to Raducanu’s success?

A former pupil of Newstead Wood School in south London, it seems succeeding is in Raducanu’s DNA and nurtured by her school.

She achieved the top grades during her school years, and after entering the US Open with a world ranking of 338, has shot to the semi-finals.

Her upbeat nature and positive social media channels have proved her to be an ideal role model.

Newstead Wood School alumni Dina Asher-Smith was a prime example for Raducanu, as she won three medals, including a gold, at the 2019 Athletics World Championships.

Raducanu’s former headmaster has said she was a model student, dubbing her “focused and hardworking”.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Alan Blount, headmaster at Newstead for the past three years and science teacher for seven gave an insight into the environment of the school.

Mr Blount explained: “The culture here is work hard, play hard.

“It’s just about hard work and determination, then balancing academic work with rest and play, and looking after your wellbeing at the same time.”

Newstead has been cheering Raducanu on via their social media channels throughout the US Open.

The school’s list of notable alumni is a staggering one, including Hollywood actress and Oxford graduate Gemma Chan and author and human exploration programme manager at the UK Space Agency, Libby Jong.

Mr Blount said of the pupils: “The great thing is there’s no such thing as a ‘typical’ Newstead student.

“They’re not all going to become sports stars or actors. It’s about providing a range of opportunities.

“We are selective, with an entry test to join, and we have been massively oversubscribed for years, with kids from all over the area, but it’s a great place to be.”

And it seems the only way is up for Raducanu.

Global marketing expert Steve Martin believes she could become the “Trojan Horse” for growing women’s tennis.

Mr Martin said: “The rise of women’s sport in this country has been terrific, we saw that with the Solheim Cup, it really caught the imagination.

“Tennis is obviously not just about two weeks of Wimbledon, it’s about how can somebody transcend the sport for 52 weeks of the year. And I think she’s got that opportunity.

“Women’s sport generally is seeing such a rise. Commercially everything is changing, and an individual like Emma coming through can be highly aspirational to a younger audience, which can be quite elusive.

“So then it becomes about her lifestyle, what is she like fashion-wise, how does she train to be successful.

“The biggest trends we are seeing explode are around health, well-being and fitness.

“A lot of young people find it aspirational to be fit and healthy, but it needs major figures to be a draw for them, be an aspiration to them. And she can be exactly that.

“I think she’s going to be really interesting telling her story of how she prepares, how she trains, how she looks after herself, what she eats, what she likes fashion-wise.

“She’s young and dynamic, and that’s where it just keeps the momentum going on the whole rise of women’s sport across the country. And she could become the Trojan Horse of that.”


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