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Friday, September 17, 2021

When US Open champion Emma Raducanu won the junior ITF title in Chandigarh

Emma Raducanu, who was born in Canada to Ian and Renne, with her father Ian being of Romanian origin and mother Renne of Chinese origin, moved to England with her parents at the age of two years.

Written by Nitin Sharma | Chandigarh |
Updated: September 13, 2021 10:45:54 am
Emma RaducanuUS Open women's champion Emma Raducanu of Great Britain (in white and on left) at CLTA, Chandigarh on January 6, 2018. (Express Photo by Kamleshwar Singh)

CLTA head coach Romen Singh remembers the sunny afternoon of January 6, 2018, when a 15-year-old Emma Raducanu of Great Britain had won the girls’ title with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Ukraine’s Diana Khodan in the final of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Grade -3 Tennis Tournament played at Chandigarh Lawn Tennis Association (CLTA) Stadium here.

On Sunday early morning, as the 18-year-old from Great Britain became the first player in men’s or women’s tennis to win a grand slam as a qualifier with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Canada’s Leylah Fernandez in the US Open women’s final at New York, Singh was remembering the day Raducanu had won the junior title in Chandigarh and how her mother Renne would cheer her from the stands– with Singh calling other CLTA trainees to watch Raducanu play.

“When Emma Raducanu won the ITF Grade-3 title here in Chandigarh, I remember how her mother Renne would sit for hours at the stands at the CLTA Stadium and cheer for her. She was very consistent and accurate for a 15-year-old at that time and the thing which I was impressed with was her self motivation and the confidence she displayed on the court.

They stayed for a week here at Chandigarh and she liked Indian dishes at the CLTA Stadium apart from interacting with the junior trainees. To see her win the US Open last night would be a great memory for all of us, who watched her win at Chandigarh in 2018,” remembered Singh.

US Open women’s champion Emma Raducanu after winning the ITF Junior Circuit (grade-3) girls’ title at CLTA, Chandigarh. (Express Photo by Kamleshwar Singh)

Raducanu, who was born in Canada to Ian and Renne, with her father Ian being of Romanian origin and mother Renne of Chinese origin, moved to England with her parents at the age of two years and started playing tennis at the age of five years. She would later train under coach Nigel Sears. The youngster had won a total of four junior ITF titles in 2018, with the first international title of the year coming in the form of the Chandigarh event. The same year, Raducanu would win the girls’ title in the ITF Juniors Grade 2 event at New Delhi apart from winning two more ITF Junior titles internationally.

In 2019, she also won an ITF $25000 event at Pune and the youngster’s US Open title win on Sunday morning also saw her becoming the first British woman since Virginia Wade in 1977 to win a slam singles titles and first brutish woman since Wade in 1968 to win the US Open. Coach and chair umpire Deepak Yadav, who officiated in the ITF Junior Grade-3 final at Chandigarh, remembers Raducanu as a disciplined youngster.

“It was winters and unlike other players, Emma Raducanu would make sure that she reached CLTA hours before the match and would practice at one of the practice courts. I remember she defeated Chandigarh girl Prinkle Singh6-3, 6-1 in the first round and all her five wins in the tournament were in straight sets. On the court, she was a disciplined player and would never show aggression towards match officials or show her anger.

Emma Raducanu with young tennis player Aarav Bishnoi after winning the title in CLTA in 2018. (Express Photo by Kamleshwar Singh)

She made sure that she thanked all the officials after her match before leaving and we hope she will win many more grand slams in her career in future,” remembers Yadav.

12-year-old Aarav Bishnoi, a student of DAV Public School, Sector 8 had also met Raducanu along with elder brother Arnav Bishnoi after the final of the Chandigarh event in 2018. The then nine-year-old, whose father Mahavir Prasad, works in a private firm in Chandigarh, had sought Raducanu’s autograph and a picture along with her and was busy showing his friends the picture after her US Open title triumph. “My father had taken me and my brother to watch the tournament and seeing players like Raducanu helps our game too. After she won, I requested her to sign an autograph for me and pose for a picture in the CLTA lobby and the picture is a prized possession. She is also good at her studies and it motivates us to balance both in our career too,” says an elated Aarav.

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