Emma Raducanu reveals she was 'very shy' as she appears in Vogue

Tennis sensation Emma Raducanu reveals she was the ‘very shy odd-one-out’ growing up as she appears in Vogue – but says playing sport has ‘given her inner strength’

  • Emma Raducanu, 18, told Vogue she was ‘very shy’ as a child when growing up 
  • Said she felt like the ‘odd-one-out’ because of how much sport she played
  • Yesterday she was dubbed ‘the biggest star of GB sport for the next decade’ 
  • Sailed through to quarter finals of US Open, beating Shelby Rogers 6-2, 6-1 
  • See the full feature in the October issue of British Vogue available via digital download and on newsstands Friday 10th September. 

Emma Raducanu has revealed how she was ‘very shy’ and the ‘odd-one-out’ growing up as she appears in next month’s issue of Vogue.

The tennis sensation, 18, from London,  donned a strapless black gown and a pair of leopard print trainers in snaps shared in the October issue of the fashion bible.

Speaking to the magazine, Emma said she was often the ‘only girl’ in her friendship group doing certain sports, adding: ‘I was a very shy little girl who didn’t talk much at all. 

‘And through playing sport, and having to be bold on the court and fearless and fight, it’s given me inner strength. If you have that, then you can really achieve whatever you want.’

Tennis sensation Emma Raducanu, 18, has revealed how she was ‘very shy’ and the ‘odd-one-out’ growing up as she appears in next month’s issue of Vogue

Born in Canada to a Romanian father and a Chinese mother, Emma moved to Britain at the age of two and grew up in London.

She credited her mother for helping her build her confidence, which she said comes from ‘inner belief’.

She explained: ‘My mum comes from a Chinese background, they have very good self-belief. 

‘It’s not necessarily about telling everyone how good you are, but it’s about believing it within yourself. I really respect that about the culture.’

It comes after she sailed through to the quarter finals of the US Open after defeating Shelby Rogers yesterday – who had beaten world number one Wimbledon champion Ashleigh Barty in the third round – in a match 6-2, 6-1

She first picked up a racquet aged five and played at Bromley Tennis Academy from the age of 10.

She told Vogue that being the ‘odd one out’ was something Raducanu, at first, had to grow used to, but then took pleasure from. 

She said: ‘When I was younger, I was the only girl in my group karting or doing motocross, and I thought it was pretty cool. 

‘For example, one time, my motocross teacher was like, right, we’re going to do press-ups. I was the only one who could do it, so I was proud of myself for that.’ 

The tennis sensation – who has wowed the British public with her post-match interviews – said she ‘didn’t talk much at all’ as a child (pictured) 

Raducanu pictured as a toddler; she moved with parents Ian and Renee to England in 2004

Meanwhile she revealed how she respected Naomi Osaka’s decision to opt out of press conferences and the French Open.

She said: ‘If that’s the best thing for her health, mental health and wellbeing then I think that that’s the right thing to do, because at the end of the day, you’re on this journey alone, no matter how many people are in your corner.’

The teenager also spoke about retiring from Wimbledon after she struggled to breathe during a match against Ajla Tomljanovic.

She said fellow athlete Marcus Rashford reached out to her on Twitter after the match, saying: ‘[It was] very comforting in that moment. 

Emma’s mother Reneeseen cheering and applauding her daughter in the crowd during her match on day 6 of Wimbledon in July

‘I was feeling like I let people down, so for him to reassure me like that – I was extremely grateful.’ 

It comes after she sailed through to the quarter finals of the US Open after defeating Shelby Rogers yesterday – who had beaten world number one Wimbledon champion Ashleigh Barty in the third round – in a match 6-2, 6-1.

According to a branding expert, there is ‘little doubt’ the 18-year-old from Bromley, south-east London will be a millionaire by the end of this year, with brands likely to be clambering over themselves to sign her up following her second Grand Slam appearance.

Emma has now won seven matches in a row at the US Open – enough to have won the tournament had she not had to go through qualifying – and is yet to drop a single set. 


Emma won an army of fans at Wimbledon, with her charmingly humble post-match interview on court during which she admitted she never expected to make the second week 

Emma’s stellar performances in New York and at Wimbledon, where she became the youngest British woman to reach the fourth round of the singles competition since 1959 after being handed a wildcard entry, have earned her close to £500,000 and saw her go from 366th in the world rankings to the top 80. 

See the full feature in the October issue of British Vogue available via digital download and on newsstands Friday 10th September

During lockdown, she could be seen knocking tennis balls back and forth to her dad in the quiet cul-de-sac where the family live.  

Emma attended Newstead School in Orpington, Kent where she was described as a ‘model pupil’ by her teachers at the selective girls’ grammar school. She achieved three 9s and four 8s in her GCSEs. 

On her Instagram page, the rising star references her global roots listing London, where she lives now, Toronto, where she was born and the two cities where her parents are from Bucharest in Romania and Shenyang in China.    

See the full feature in the October issue of British Vogue available via digital download and on newsstands Friday 10th September.

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