Picture this: you’re 18, taking in the sights of New York City and then you spot it … a huge billboard of yourself celebrating the biggest win of your career.
That’s what today looked like for US Open champion Emma Raducanu.
She emerged from her hotel, following three weeks of experiencing the city primarily through Uber Eats, having made tennis history. Keen to do some sightseeing after becoming the first British woman to win a grand slam in 44 years, the teenager stepped out and was met with a giant poster of her triumph.
In three months, she has gone from being a student waiting for her A-level results to reaching the last 16 at Wimbledon and then, in unprecedented fashion, to winning 10 straight matches to qualify for the main draw at the US Open and then go all the way to the title.
Born in Toronto, when @emmaraducanu was two her family moved to south-east London, England. “I think that the calmness and the mental strength definitely comes from my upbringing,” she said following her victory over Leyla Fernandez on Saturday.
Raducanu was introduced to tennis by her parents at the age of five, and enjoyed ballet, horse riding, swimming, go-karting and motocross, and her love of cars helped her relax between matches at the US Open as she watched the Dutch Grand Prix.
And when she played in Chicago just before winning her first grand slam, Raducanu revealed her love of architecture, finding time to visit “the Bean”, Anish Kapoor’s sculpture.
For many players, it can be easy to forget that there is life outside the tennis bubble, other things to keep your mind occupied and settled. But Raducanu’s secret seems to be to embrace everything, from culture to food, friends and family to travel, music to F1.
“I definitely think it’s the time to just switch off from any future thoughts or any plans, any schedule,” she said after her win, when asked where she would be playing next. “I’ve got absolutely no clue. Right now, no care in the world, I’m just loving life.”