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Emma Raducanu: Even my ‘toughest critic’ parents are impressed by my US Open win

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Emma Raducanu has said her parents are her “toughest critics” - but joked even they “couldn’t resist” being impressed by her US Open victory.

The 18-year-old Londoner beat fellow teenager Fernandez in a 6-4 6-3 to complete a stunning tournament in which she did not drop a single set in either qualifying or the main draw.

Raducanu, who on Monday officially rose to number 23 in the WTA rankings – having been 150 a fortnight ago – said her new-found mental strength was key to her victory.

Raducanu, in an appearance on US breakfast show Good Morning America, said: “From a young age I have really been brought up to have mental strength.

“My parents were pretty tough on me when I was young but it shaped the way. Now it is helping on the biggest stages in the world.”

Asked what she said to her parents - Ian, who is Romanian, and Renee, who is Chinese - when she called them at home in Bromley, south east London, Raducanu said: “It was really nice to talk to them after I won. They were so happy and proud of me. They are my toughest critics and very hard to please. I got them with this one, they couldn’t resist.”

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Following her sensational success at Flushing Meadows on Saturday night, Raducanu gave some words of wisdom to young potential sports stars inspired by her win and now wanting to follow in her footsteps.

When asked what advice she woud give budding stars, she said: “It is just inner belief and just taking care of each day as best as possible. 10 matches ago when I was playing my first round qualifiers, I did not think I would be in the US Open final or winning it. You can really achieve anything when you have inner belief.”

Raducanu also said she will frame her letter of congratulations from the Queen.

A personal message to Raducanu from the Queen, which was posted on the Royal Family website, read: “I send my congratulations to you on your success in winning the United States Open Tennis Championships.

“It is a remarkable achievement at such a young age, and is testament to your hard work and dedication.

“I have no doubt your outstanding performance, and that of your opponent Leylah Fernandez, will inspire the next generation of tennis players.

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“I send my warmest good wishes to you and your many supporters.”

Raducanu said: “It’s absolutely insane, it’s incredible, I was so honoured and grateful to receive a note from Her Majesty.

“It meant everything to me and I will probably frame that letter.”

The Prime Minister also praised Raducanu’s achievement, while he was on a visit to an engineering training academy in Leicester on Monday.

He said: “I think it was stunning and I am sure, like everybody else, I watched the whole thing with my heart in my mouth.

“I couldn’t believe how hard they were walloping that ball. An incredible sort of resilience under pressure, that was what came through to me.

“There were so many moments where you thought the match was going to go the wrong way and then she held it together – it’s just fantastic. So many, many congratulations.”

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Raducanu’s run to glory came little more than two months after she had to retire from her fourth-round match at Wimbledon against Ajla Tomljanovic due to breathing difficulties.

“I took away from that that for me it was more of a physical issue,” she added. “I think that to win a grand slam you need a lot of mental strength so I think the resilience part of it sort of speaks for itself.

“I needed to go through all of that to win a slam, but physically I’ve still got a lot of work to do because I’m still very new to the game and I haven’t had that time to really develop.

“But having played on the tour for the last four or five weeks I think naturally with each match and tournament I’ve played I’ve increased my endurance.

“I think just the sheer amount of matches I played over the last four or five weeks, with each one I was building in confidence and with each one it gave me more and more of a free swing to go for my shots and be more aggressive.

“I was playing some extremely great opponents; the Olympic champion, top 20 players, and when you play those players you definitely need to raise your game. It’s almost like natural selection; if you don’t, you lose.

“So it was really fun to experience. I’m just super happy with the week, of course.”

On Monday after her apperance, Raducanu did some sightseeing in New York - posting an image of a billboard featuring her face on Instagram. “Sightseeing in NY. Never thought I would see this… coolest thing,” she wrote.

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