Britain's Emma Raducanu celebrates with the championship trophy after her match against Leylah Fernandez of Canada in the women's singles final of the 2021 US Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. (Image: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports/Via Reuters)
Emma Raducanu’s Cinderella story at the US Open – from having to qualify for the ball, to bowling over the prince (in this case, winning the trophy) – was made possible by her mental toughness.
Current era child counsellors may feel squeamish about this, but Raducanu, 18, developed her steel the old-fashioned way, with tough parenting.
"From a young age I've always been brought up to have mental strength," Raducanu, who arrived as an outsider at the US Open and won ten straight matches, said on ‘Good Morning America’.
"My parents played a huge part in my upbringing. They were pretty tough on me when I was young and it kind of shaped the way [I am]. I think now it is helping on the biggest stages in the world when you really need it."
Raducanu, who won $2.5 million in prize money at the US Open, plays for Britain. Her mother, Renee, is Chinese. Her father, Ian, is Romanian. Raducanu said her parents were hard to please, and were her toughest critics.
"But I got them with this one (the US Open)," she said. "They couldn't resist. It was really nice to talk to them after I won. They were just so happy and proud of me. To win a Grand Slam you need a lot of mental strength so I think the resilience part of it sort of speaks for itself.”
Andrew Richardson, Raducanu’s coach, vouched for her mental fortitude. "For me, the biggest strength she has is the mind," Richardson said in a report on BBC. "I think everything starts with the mind and the strength she has shown throughout the trip; and the resilience she showed. Her ability to deal with adversity and compete is where it all starts. I've known her from a young age, and she's always had that.”
Richardson too attributed his ward’s success to her parents.
"I'm not sure it (mental strength) can be coached,” he said. “I think a lot of it is parenting, and her parents should take a lot of credit for the person Emma is. The mental strength she has is truly special."