US Open champion Emma Raducanu’s grandmother Niculina Raducanu wanted her to quit tennis because of concern about the teen’s health after breathing difficulties forced her to retire from Wimbledon this year.
The 88-year-old Romanian told the Daily Mail that her granddaughter’s “health is more important” than wealth or fame.
Fortunately for the 18-year-old Briton, neither her father, Ian Raducanu — Niculina Raducanu’s son — nor her Chinese mother, Renee Raducanu, took the advice and she swept through the US Open to become the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam title.
Niculina Raducanu — known to Emma as “Mamiya,” a Romanian term of endearment for grandmothers — is close to her granddaughter.
She would host Emma Raducanu twice a year in Bucharest in her apartment and she would travel to the family’s home in England to care for her granddaughter and recount stories about Romania.
However, she was so anxious for her granddaughter after she retired from her clash with Australian Ajla Tomljanovic at Wimbledon that she broached the subject of retirement with Emma Raducanu’s parents.
“I asked her parents if she should quit tennis,” Niculina Raducanu told the newspaper at her Bucharest home. “Because what if something should happen to Emma? Her health is more important” than wealth or fame.
“The court she played on that day had a roof over it because it was raining, and she felt she couldn’t breathe,” she said.
However, when it came to the US Open final, it was the grandmother not the granddaughter who faltered.
“The night she won the US Open [beating Leylah Fernandez of Canada 6-4, 6-3], I couldn’t watch because my heart couldn’t take it,” she said. “I said to myself: ‘This match is going to be a really tough one,’ so I decided not to watch it.”
“I only found out the news the next day, and I was delighted she was strong and healthy, and that her mind was healthy also — especially after what happened the last time” at Wimbledon, she said.
“When I talked to my son, I was happy for him,” she said. “He would have been so disappointed if she’d have lost after all the work and resources they’d put into this.”
Niculina Raducanu said that she has resisted till now revealing to her neighbors and friends what her Canada-born granddaughter had achieved.
“Of course, I’m very proud of her, but I’ve never told anyone I’m the grandmother of a Grand Slam champion,” she said. “I am a very modest woman and I don’t want people to think I’m bragging. When Emma puts her mind to it, she will get it. She was always a fighter.”
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