“Still Sticks in My Head” – Emma Raducanu on Her Chinese Mother Giving Lessons From Li Na’s Epic Grand Slam Final

Published 09/10/2021, 8:30 PM EDT
Sep 9, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Emma Raducanu of Great Britain reacts after winning a point against Maria Sakkari of Greece (not pictured) on day eleven of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports


This year’s US Open has provided fans with several surprises. Two of those surprises are teenagers Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez, who reached the women’s singles final in stunning fashion.

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While Raducanu faced seeds outside the top 10 in New York, Fernandez stunned three out of the top 10 en route to the final. Following a famous win over Maria Sakkari in the semifinals, Raducanu spoke about the influence of Chinese tennis star Li Na on her.

Emma Raducanu admits Li Na had a major influence on her career

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Born to a Chinese mother, Raducanu and her family moved to England when she was just two-years-old. However, the Briton learned a lot from her mother, which she spoke about after her semifinal win over Sakkari.

During the post-match press conference, she also mentioned how her mother’s teachings made her follow former World No. 2 Li Na. She said” I think for me having a Chinese mom, she definitely instilled from a young age hard work, discipline. I think for me when I was younger I would take a lot of inspiration from Li Na, even now just the way she was such a fierce competitor.”

Sep 9, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Emma Raducanu of Great Britain reacts after winning a point against Maria Sakkari of Greece (not pictured) on day eleven of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The Briton recalled the Chinese star’s French Open final in 2011, where she defeated Francesca Schiavone to win her first Grand Slam. In addition, she mentioned that her performance in Roland Garros remains etched in her memory.

“I think all her belief, she had extremely good weapons, her movement, her mentality, but her inner strength and belief really stood out for me,” said Raducanu. “I remember watching her play Schiavone in French Open final. That was definitely a long, tough match. But the amount of mental strength and resilience she showed, that match still sticks in my head today.”

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Raducanu became the first qualifier to reach a Grand Slam final

By defeating 17th seed Sakkari, Raducanu added another piece of history on her dream run. She became the first ever player to go through the qualifying rounds and reach the final of a Grand Slam.

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While the Briton is yet to drop a set in New York, she faces a giant-killer in the form of Fernandez. During the Canadian’s run, she defeated defending champion Naomi Osaka, fifth seed Elina Svitolina and second seed Aryna Sabalenka.

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Can the Briton continue her impressive dominance to clinch her maiden Grand Slam? Only time will tell.

WATCH STORY: Serena Williams, Pete Sampras and Others Who Made History at US Open as Teenagers

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Sanket Nair

632 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management graduate, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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