Shakespeare once said some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them. For Emma Raducanu, the latest winner of the US Open, it’s all the three. While many British stars usually struggle for years before getting the kind of exposure they need on the other side of the Atlantic, it took Emma only three weeks of breathtaking performance at the US Open to do that and earn herself a grandstand.
Emma Raducanu’s achievement at the US Open is one of the most remarkable things to ever happen not only in the US Open but the game itself. No one has ever had to go through three qualifying rounds of a grand slam to eventually win it. For an 18-year-old with 400-1 odds to do it, it’s beyond surreal. Indeed, truth is stranger than fiction.
She’s ready for what comes next. Speaking after winning, she said, “I don’t feel any pressure.” With an ease that seems to come naturally to her, she joked that her initial aim for the tournament was to make enough money to replace her lost AirPod. But, clearly, the goals are now much different.
Many PR experts believe that Emma Raducanu has all the traits to make her the first billion-dollar sports star from Britain. According to Mark Borkowski, a PR guru with experience of working with superstars such as Michael Jackson, Led Zeppelin, Joan Rivers, and many others, Raducanu has the charisma and talent to achieve that.
He called her victory at the US Open the start of something epic. Speaking further, he described Raducanu as “a billion-dollar girl”, not just for her immense talent but also for her ethnicity, freedom of spirit, and how she deals with her vulnerability.
While this might just be speculation, there are some truths to them. Another female tennis superstar, Naomi Osaka, announced herself to the world in a similar way to Raducanu. Forbes recently named Osaka the highest-paid female tennis player globally, with her money mainly coming from corporate sponsors. Raducanu, born to Romanian and Chinese parents, can speak mandarin fluently, which is also a big plus for her.
Remarkably, her victory at the US open comes just three months after her WTA debut at the Nottingham Open, where she lost in the first round. She also had to retire mid-match in the fourth round of the Wimbledon two months ago. Now she’s silenced all those who doubted her ability with a resounding victory.
Raducanu’s win comes at a time when tennis needs new heroes. Legendary players such as Roger Federer, Serena Williams are nearing retirement. Even Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are in their mid-thirties already. Thus, Raducanu, a student who’s smart enough to excel in school and normal enough for everyone to find relatable, fits the role of a new tennis hero perfectly.
The Lawn Tennis Association has already claimed that it’s seen an uptick in the number of young girls asking for tennis lessons. While it’s too early to give a specific number, it’s clear that her victory will inspire more girls. Just as she’s inspiring young girls, Raducanu is also gaining more fans all over the world. She currently has 1.7 million followers on Instagram.
Not only has her followers more than doubled, but her interaction rate is also high. In the week after winning, she had an extraordinary Instagram rate of 38%, which is the percentage of people that like, share, or view her content. At just 18 years, she’s a digital native who understands social media, and how to interact through it, something sponsors value greatly.
This is just the beginning for Raducanu. As former British number one Tim Henman pointed out, she’s going to win more. At just 18, the sky is really the starting point for Emma Raducanu.