The thought of getting a message from Queen Elizabeth II for becoming tennis’ most improbable Grand Slam champion could not have been further from Emma Raducanu’s mind at the start of this year.
Indeed, at that time, she was preoccupied with whether she would be able to finish her high-school degree during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“So are A Levels happening?” read one of the first Twitter posts of this year from a math and economics student from Bromley — an area of southeast London — who just happened to also be a really, really good tennis player, even if few in the UK had heard of her.
Despite her obvious ability on the court, Raducanu’s parents were insistent on their daughter finishing her education so she had something to fall back on in case a tennis career did not take off.
The 18-year-old Raducanu was being hailed yesterday as the new queen of British sport — and perhaps the architect of one of the most unlikely sporting achievements of all time — by winning the US Open as a qualifier.
Her 6-4, 6-3 victory over Leylah Fernandez, broadcast on free-to-air TV in Britain, was in a prime-time slot on Saturday evening, allowing the nation to savor a superstar in the making.
Among them, apparently, was British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
“What a sensational match! Huge congratulations to Emma Raducanu,” read a post from Johnson’s official Twitter account. “You showed extraordinary skill, poise and guts and we are all hugely proud of you.”
The queen also sent her congratulations.
“It is a remarkable achievement at such a young age,” the monarch said. “And is testament to your hard work and dedication.”
Gary Lineker, former captain of the English national soccer team, was hosting a popular soccer highlights show — Match of the Day — on the BBC as Raducanu was completing a victory in Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York that would earn her US$2.5 million and change her life forever. Seems he did not have his mind on the job.
“First time in my life I’ve ever tweeted whilst on air,” Lineker said. “But my goodness what a performance, what a triumph, what an amazing young woman.”
They were sentiments echoed across the country as Britain got to grips with the success of a teenager — born in Toronto, but who moved to England with her family at age two — who pulled at the heartstrings of her nation with a July run to the fourth round of Wimbledon that ended when she withdrew from a match on medical advice, saying the “whole experience caught up with me.”
If her matches at Wimbledon were overshadowed by the England soccer team’s run to the European Championship final over the same period, she had the country’s attention all to herself on Saturday.
“Incredible — we are all so proud of you,” the Duchess of Cambridge wrote on her Twitter account about Raducanu’s “historic Grand Slam victory.”
Raducanu’s amazing success — until three months ago, she had never played in a professional tour-level event — had some comparing it to Leicester winning the soccer Premier League in 2016, at pre-season odds of 5,000-1, and marketing experts predicting vast career earnings potential.
Because, considering the way she played in New York, Raducanu is here to stay.
“She will win more of these [Grand Slams], she is that good,” said former British No. 1 tennis player Tim Henman, who has been a mentor to Raducanu.
“This is not some flash in the pan or fairy tale. She is playing top-five tennis. Her world will be turned upside down, but she has good people around her and it will be a hell of a ride if she can stay injury-free,” Henman said.
The Lithuanian Ministry of National Defense recommended that consumers avoid buying Chinese mobile phones and advised people to throw away the ones they have now after a government report found the devices had built-in censorship capabilities. Flagship phones sold in Europe by China’s smartphone giant Xiaomi Corp (小米) have a built-in ability to detect and censor terms such as “Free Tibet,” “Long live Taiwan independence” or “democracy movement,” Lithuania’s state-run cybersecurity body said on Tuesday. The capability in Xiaomi’s Mi 10T 5G phone software had been turned off for the “European Union region,” but can be turned on remotely at any time,
CLOSE COOPERATION: A House of Representatives bill suggests inviting Taiwan’s navy to participate in the world’s largest international maritime military exercises The US House of Representatives on Thursday passed its annual defense policy bill, which includes provisions recommending that Taiwan be included in next year’s Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) and enhanced cooperation between Taiwan and the US National Guard. The House approved the US$777.9 billion National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 in a 316-113 vote. The 1,390-page bill includes three major provisions related to Taiwan under sections 1243, 1247 and 1248. Section 1248 recommends that the US invite Taiwan’s navy to participate in next year’s RIMPAC. Taiwan has never been invited to participate in the event, which is the world’s largest
‘FIGHT FOR VICTORY’: Eric Chu said his election victory would be the beginning of the DPP’s worries and that he would open all channels of communication with China Former New Taipei City mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) was yesterday elected Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman in a four-way race that included outgoing chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣). Chu, 60, garnered 85,164 votes, or 45 percent of the 187,998 KMT members who cast ballots. Sun Yat-sen School president Chang Ya-chung (張亞中) trailed behind with 60,632 votes, followed by Chiang with 35,090 votes and former Changhua County commissioner Cho Po-yuan (卓伯源) with 5,133 votes. Voter turnout was 50.71 percent. This will be Chu’s second time heading the party. He was elected KMT chairman in an unopposed by-election in January 2015 and resigned in January
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