September 6, 2021
Lucy Shuker and Emma Raducanu have provided inspiration to millions of tennis fans worldwide in the last week.
Some 23 years and 6,743 miles separated British stars Shuker and Raducanu during their heroic exploits.
Shuker won the most important Paralympic medal of her long and illustrious career in Tokyo.
She showed that you can keep improving at the age of 41.
She reminded us that hard work and determination tend to pay off whatever challenge you might be facing.
It has been our pleasure to sponsor Lucy over a number of years during her illustrious career.
And that Paralympic journey may not be over. Shuker said: ‘People ask me whether I’ll keep going because I am a bit older. But I’m still enjoying it, still performing and playing well.
‘Tennis takes its toll, it’s tough physically and you travel so much. But Paris 2024 is just around the corner and it’s only three years to wait.
‘Who knows, if I can qualify and if other British girls who are coming through can qualify, who knows?’
It was so moving to see Lucy Shuker embrace her doubles partner Jordanne Whiley once they knew that silver medal was in the bag.
They beat Chinese pair Ziying Wang and Zhenzhen 6-4, 6-2 to secure their prize.
Shuker and Whiley had won bronze at the London and Rio Paralympics. So this truly was their all-time highlight as a partnership.
Lucy explained: ‘I think it’s almost the dream ending. Coming here, to get gold or silver was the target and we’ve achieved a silver, so you can’t be unhappy with that.
‘You can still dream about the gold medal, but I’m really happy with the silver.’
Remember, Shuker has to deal with a far more severe level of disability that Whiley. And that’s one of the reasons her success is so extraordinary.
It was fitting to see Lucy clinch their semi-final triumph with a decisive angled volley.
She had covered the court superbly all match and produced the greater variety and subtlety throughout.
Shuker really was the star of the show and thoroughly deserved her reward alongside the more celebrated Whiley.
It wasn’t to be in the final against Diede De Groot and Anniek Van Koot, who won the showpiece 6-0, 6-1.
But Whiley had expended a lot of energy on the way to a singles bronze and the Dutch pair were heavy favourites anyway.
Lucy Shuker can be so proud of her performances in Tokyo. And why shouldn’t she set her sights on Paris too?
Meanwhile Raducanu’s upward trajectory is also dramatic, as she continues to enjoy a dream year.
First she reached the second week of Wimbledon. Now she has made the second week of the US Open too!
Emma now has the world at her feet.
Imagine what Raducanu could achieve at Wimbledon 2022 as the new superstar of world tennis!
There was a debate after her Wimbledon 2021 retirement with breathing difficulties and her own suggestion that the enormity of the occasion might have caught up with her.
Could Emma handle the weight of expectation and the constant pressure of life in the spotlight?
We needn’t have worried!
Raducanu simply crossed the Atlantic and took the USA by storm too.
And she is clearly loving the increased attention she has been receiving.
After outclassing Sara Sorribes Tormo on Court 17 at Flushing Meadows, Emma stayed with the fans for ages to sign autographs and pose for photos.
She had just demolished a player who had climbed to world number 46 earlier in the year.
Now Emma can enjoy a second appearance in the last 16 at successive Slams.
Raducanu is going places!
Wimbledon 2022 will provide a fitting stage for more of her spectacular brilliance.
Will you be there?