The Emma Raducanu effect in full flow as grassroots tennis on the rise after her US Open fairytale

Shahida Jacobs
Sealed with a kiss. Emma Raducanu with the US Open trophy
Great Britain's Emma Raducanu kisses the US Open trophy after defeating Leylah Fernandez in the final

An estimated 100,000 Brits have taken up tennis in the two months since Emma Raducanu’s incredible US Open victory, according to data from Spond.

Teenager Raducanu became the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam in September as she won 10 matches without dropping a set en route to lifting the US Open trophy at the age of just 18.

The British No 1 has been nominated for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award on the back of her remarkable title run, but her success has also had a major impact on tennis in the United Kingdom as grassroots sports team management app Spond analysed figures from their users.

Emma Raducanu shortlisted for BBC Sports Personality of the Year

The data shows that the number of tennis participants in the UK has shot up by 119% in 2021 with about 42% of that growth coming after Raducanu’s historic US Open victory.

The 119% increase comes on the back of five years of decline as Andy Murray’s star profile began to wane and the pandemic took hold.

Furthermore, the impact on young girls – many not younger than Raducanu herself – has been profound, with a 15% rise in under-18 female grassroots tennis players since June to August.

“Emma Raducanu’s impact on British tennis has been nothing short of remarkable, creating a unique opportunity for the sport to move forward at the grassroots level,” CEO at Spond Trine Falnes said.

“Investment is needed from the government, the LTA and individual clubs to ensure British players are regularly competing for Grand Slams titles in the future.

“With investment comes opportunity – for clubs, coaches and organisations. As we’ve seen in the many media interviews in recent weeks, thousands of hours went into that match point at the Arthur Ashe Stadium. Without investment, coaches are unable to support and develop players to a point where a professional career is even a consideration.

“However, grassroots sport provides more than a pathway to a career. For some, it’s an opportunity to remain physically active, improve mental health and make connections in the community. Regardless of what motivates people to play, investment will ensure that grassroots sport is able to provide a pathway for promising young talents and also a safe, enjoyable environment for casual players.”

The UK government has already announced a £21.9 million investment to improve tennis facilities, alongside an existing commitment of £8.5 million from the LTA, following Raducanu’s US Open win.