‘Proud’ Emma Raducanu reflects on dream year that saw her go from exam hall to US Open champion

Emma Raducanu in action

April 29 was a significant day in the life of Emma Raducanu as she not only won her first-ever match at the Madrid Open, but it also marked the one-year anniversary of her last A-level exam.

Raducanu wrote her final math exam on April 29 last year and after that she enjoyed a dramatic tennis journey as she went from a relatively unknown teenager to US Open champion in the space of a few months.

Following her victory over Tereza Martincova on the clay in the Spanish capital on Friday, the teenager’s phone started to lit up and it brought back a lot of memories.

“It’s funny because I was on my phone and I looked at it and it sent me the memories of one year ago today — I took my last maths exam,” she is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.

“Then I was just reflecting on that and I was like, ‘Oh my God, 365 days ago I was sat in an exam hall doing paper three’.”

She added: “That afternoon after my morning exam, I went to go hit some balls because I had to get ready very quickly for the grass season. I hadn’t played tennis for two months. I was like, ‘Wow, I’ve got a few weeks to get myself in shape to play my first WTA at Nottingham’.”

She didn’t have long to celebrate her final exam as she was soon back on the tennis court and picked up an “ugly” win.

“I was really considering what was going on,” the 19-year-old said. “Then the week after I got back up and played another Brit tour [at Felixstowe] and managed to win that — it was very ugly but I won it.”

After initially struggling to find her rhythm again she felt like she hit rock bottom, but she kept plugging away and eventually found some form and it marked the start of her incredible journey as she went on to reach the fourth round of Wimbledon before winning the US Open as a qualifier two months later.

She revealed: “I kept going and I feel like it’s that mindset of picking yourself up when you feel like you’re at the lowest of the low, like when I lost in the second round of a Brit tour. It was like my head’s in the bin but then I got back up and all was good and I had a great grass season.

“I would have taken everything that’s happened and dealt with any sort of downs and losses, or whatever those feelings are. If you would have given me what I’ve had in the last year, it has given me a lot of side effects of satisfaction and being proud of myself.”

Raducanu currently sits at No 11 in the WTA Rankings and she says even if you take away her success at Flushing Meadows, she still feels the past year has been a fairytale and she is really enjoying the journey.

“It’s 100 per cent just you and your tennis and you’re climbing your way up there. It definitely took me a while to adjust to everything that’s been going on,” she said.

“But I feel that if you would have told me any of the results that I’ve had this year — like, for example, just winning a round in Australia — if I hadn’t won the US Open, that would have been a good result for someone who’s 19. Definitely, in more recent weeks, I’ve just taken more pleasure in the journey of it. Even when I’m losing, I find it a great challenge to pick myself up because it’s relentless getting yourself back up and I am doing that right now.”