November 29, 2021
Emma Raducanu charmed the Royal Albert Hall during her exhibition match on Sunday and insisted that fame and riches haven’t changed her one bit.
That doesn’t mean she won’t rub shoulders with supportive celebrities and even take their advice. Indeed F1 star Lewis Hamilton continues to provide a calming influence.
Ironically Raducanu and Hamilton will be in competition for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, a prestigious end-of-year accolade in Britain.
But Emma daren’t think about being in contention for that title – even though she must know she is now one of the nation’s favourites.
She explained: ‘For me it’s something that’s so far out of the realms of possibility that I just don’t even understand how it could be a possibility.’
Yet the love was there for Emma to feel from the near-capacity crowd at the Royal Albert Hall as she beat her good friend Elena-Gabriela Ruse in a thrilling 6-3, 7-6 (7-3) contest.
Imagine the clamour to see Emma Raducanu play at Wimbledon 2022!
The Championships are the real deal. Wimbledon is where we all want to see her make her dreams come true.
And Emma’s determination not to change as a person only makes her more endearing.
She said after the match: ‘I’m just going about my business. I’m taking the train sometimes and doing the same journeys I used to.
‘I feel like I’m the exact same person and I’m going to go about everything the way I used to.
‘I don’t see why I should change things that got me that title. I’m still enjoying it.’
It helps to have people who understand the pressures of fame on her side, though.
She has long looked up to Lewis Hamilton because she is a former motor sports competitor and still an avid F1 fan.
Raducanu admitted: ‘He’s just been really cool in helping me. He said: “Be patient, you’ve just got to ride the wave. It’s all good. Don’t worry.” Good reassurance. He’s a really cool guy.’
Emma knows she can’t expect to win every Grand Slam just because she took the US Open title against all odds.
Yet the signs are good. She reached the second week of Wimbledon last summer when no one expected it.
And Raducanu will try to do even better at Wimbledon 2022.
There can be little doubt that winning Wimbledon would be her ultimate dream.
For now, however, it’s sensible for her to think in terms of small steps, so that she keeps her feet on the ground.
Emma explained: ‘For me, my expectations of myself are to keep improving. I know it will take a lot of patience to get where I want to be and smooth out that consistency. It’s all about building robustness physically.’
So Raducanu will work hard in the build-up to the Australian Open. And her adoring public will support her whatever happens.
The most important thing is that Emma stays happy and aims to hit new heights at Wimbledon 2022.
Will you be there to cheer on Britain’s new superstar at Wimbledon 2022?