Who are Emma Raducanu’s parents? ‘Pushy’ Ion Raducanu and Renee Zhai have made US Open winner ‘mentally resilient’

Shahida Jacobs
Emma Raducanu's parents Ion Raducanu and Renee Zhai
Emma Raducanu's parents Ion Raducanu and Renee Zhai

Emma Raducanu’s mother Renee made an appearance at one of her daughter’s matches at Wimbledon this year, but how much do you know about the former US Open winner’s parents?

Renee was in attendance as the 21-year-old defeated Elise Mertens during the second round on Centre Court and there is no doubt that the resilience that Renee and Ion Raducanu instilled in her is paying off.

Shortly after completing her fairytale run at the 2021 US Open as she became the first-ever qualifier – man or woman – to win a Grand Slam, Raducanu spoke about her parents.

“They are so mentally resilient – it’s like nothing can bring them down. I would say I take a big part of my inspiration from her. My mum has worked very hard,” she said.

And those values have been evident throughout Raducanu’s career so far as she is finally starting to make her way back up following her injury woes and loss of form after her title run at Flushing Meadows.

Following surgery on both her wrists and her one ankle last year, Raducanu was forced to skip Wimbledon but she has returned this year and her parents can watch her live in action.

Who are Emma Raducanu’s parents?

Emma Raducanu was born on November 13, 2002 to Ion Raducanu and Renee Zhai (née Dongmei) in Toronto, Canada, but the family moved to England when she was two years old and she grew up in the London borough of Bromley.

Emma has dual British and Canadian citizenship and she has a multicultural family as her father Ion hails from Bucharest, Romania, while her mother Renee is from Shenyang, China.

Emma Raducanu's mother Renee at Wimbledon
Renee Raducanu, mother of Emma Raducanu, at Wimbledon

Unsurprisingly, Ion and Renee made sure their daughter was fluent in their mother tongues as she can speak both Mandarin and Romanian.

Ion’s mother still lives in Bucharest and Emma tries to visit her every year as she revealed back in 2021: “My grandma, Mamiya, still lives in central Bucharest. I go back a couple times a year, stay with her, see her. It’s really nice. I love the food, to be honest. I mean, the food is unbelievable. And my grandma’s cooking is also something special. I do have ties to Bucharest.”

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Ion and Renee both work in the finance sector and back in 2021 Emma revealed they always made sure she focused on her education as well.

“They both came from academic families and in tough countries growing up – my dad in Romania and mum in China,” she told Daily UK News. “They were both communist countries, so education was kind of their only option.

“They want me to have options, they think my education is very important for my future.”

Raducanu, though, has also made no secret of the fact that her parents were very “pushy” when she was young and that made her stronger, but over the years they have learned to ease off.

And while some might see that as a negative, Raducanu feels it has been key to her success so far.

“They are so pushy. When I was younger, more so,” she said in an interview earlier in 2024. “Now they are at a place where they tell me what they think is best, but they realise ultimately that the more they push, the more I am going to resist.

“I’ve seen some great people who I was playing with in the juniors who had way more lenient parents who were like, ‘It’s OK if you lost,’ and those players don’t play tennis anymore, so I don’t blame my parents for it.”

The word resilience always comes up when Raducanu speaks about her parents, especially when she mentions her mother.

“I was very lucky in the way I was brought up,” she told The Times. “I have faced a lot of challenges, but my mum instilled in me from a young age resilience, and that’s probably my greatest quality, no matter how bad things get.

“I remember all the times in the past where I felt very down or sad, and knowing that I came out of them gives me confidence, it makes those victories so much sweeter. If it was just smooth sailing it wouldn’t mean as much. I think it is crazy what tennis players do.

“We go through all of this pain and heartache just for 30 seconds at the end if we win. It’s masochism in a way, but it is more than worth it.”