Emma Raducanu spent her first night back in the UK tucking into her mother’s homemade dumplings and watching a replay of her US Open final victory. The 18-year-old arrived back at home in Bromley on Thursday, five days after an historic victory in New York.
Raducanu then spent Friday morning doing the rounds of TV and radio, telling BBC Breakfast: “I think it’s gradually sinking in a bit more. Last night I rewatched the final and tried to relive a couple of the moments and remember how it felt. But it’s still such a whirlwind of an experience. I’ve loved every moment of it. It is something that is very difficult to fully comprehend.
“When I was watching it, it almost feels like that’s not me who’s playing and pulling off some of those shots. I knew exactly what was going to happen but still there’s some very tense moments and I was really proud of how I came through some moments. And the timeout at the end, I didn’t realise how stressful that was watching on TV.”
Raducanu also revealed she felt something was a “little bit off” before the US Open final. She said: “Thank you so much to everyone who watched and supported and sent me some really kind messages. I would say the most important thing for me was to stay relaxed and in the moment because there was a lot at stake in the final, and it’s just very important not to get ahead of yourself and to treat each point one at a time, and I think that’s what I managed to do very well.
“Before the match I was nervous, I felt like something wasn’t quite right, something felt a little bit off, but I couldn’t put my finger on what that was and I think that’s just usual nerves because of the occasion. But then, once I got on to the court, I felt like it was almost any other match. I just treated it point for point and went about my business as usual.”
Raducanu said she sang Sweet Caroline and Mr Brightside after her victory and partied after her victory at the US Open. She said: “It was pretty amazing, after the final it was a really nice moment, I just shared it with my close team back at the hotel.
“On the way to the hotel after winning and leaving the club there was a party bus going on with music, good tunes and we were all just singing along, and we had a really nice night just talking until early on in the morning, just reflecting on the whole experience and what an amazing time it’s been. I managed to go to some really cool events and places, at the Met Gala I spoke to Lewis Hamilton, which was really cool being such a fan of loads of sports, it was really nice to see him and speak to him there. The Met was such an artistic event with great performances and I was very honoured and grateful to have been able to go.”
She admitted she has bad habits “like every other teenager”. Asked what her parents pull her up on, she said: “I’m not the most organised, so I need to work on that, and I need to work on tidying up, unpacking, because I seem to leave out the suitcase even three weeks after my trip. I take my dishes after I eat, just the usual stuff. I’m honestly like every other teenager in that way.”
Raducanu has also spoken of how her parents’ strict approach helped her become a grand slam champion. Of her welcome home, the teenager said: “They just gave me a hug when I came back, nothing crazy. My mum made some really good homemade dumplings. Just some reassurance in saying they’re proud of me is enough.”
Raducanu has not yet treated herself to anything with the £1.8m prize money she won. Both the teenager’s parents are in finance, and told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “I know that tennis is an extremely expensive sport so it will probably go towards that.”
Along with a letter of congratulations from the Queen, Raducanu also spoke on the phone to prime minister Boris Johnson. “It was really nice of him and he congratulated me, but we also spoke about how we both wanted to try to inspire more kids in grassroots tennis and get more young children involved, and hopefully my win can show you can live a normal life and achieve great things,” she said.
Raducanu will take some time at home to rest and recover before deciding where to make her next appearance on tour, with Indian Wells next month the leading candidate.