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US Open winner Emma Raducanu finds new fans in China

The British tennis player defeated Canada’s Leylah Fernandez on Saturday in a straight-set victory, becoming the youngest Grand Slam winner since Maria Sharapova won Wimbledon in 2004.

Raducanu, who was born in Canada to a Chinese mother and a Romanian father, spoke about her Chinese origins in an interview ahead of the final. “Having a Chinese mother, she definitely instilled hard work, discipline from an early age,” she said.

She added that she was inspired by retired Chinese tennis player Li Na, former world number 2, and “just the way she was such a fierce competitor.”

And following her victory on Sunday, she addressed her fans in Mandarin. “Hello everyone, I would like to say thank you,” she said. “I hope you enjoyed watching my tennis. I’m very, very happy right now … Thank you, I love you!”

She immediately won over new fans in China, who praised her performance on the court as well as her pride in her heritage. Many also praised her post in Mandarin, reveling in her “cute” northeastern accent – her mother is from Shenyang City, northeastern Liaoning Province.

“Her grandmother in Shenyang must be proud of her, and we, the people of Shenyang, are also proud of her,” a netizen said on the Chinese platform Weibo.

His victory tends over Weibo; one hashtag, “18-year-old Chinese player wins US open championship,” has been viewed over 200 million times, while the video of her post in Mandarin has been viewed over a million times.

Chinese state media also celebrated his victory and pointed to his Chinese roots. State tabloid Global Times reported that Raducanu was “very interested in Chinese culture” and often traveled to Shenyang to see her grandmother and other relatives. State media noted that the young star also played table tennis and sometimes worked out at a local table tennis gym in Shenyang when she visited.
“On my mother’s side of my mother’s family, when I go to China, they are so mentally resilient,” Raducanu said in a previous interview, according to the China Daily. “It’s like nothing can bring them down. I’d say I get a lot of my inspiration from her.”
US Open winner Emma Raducanu finds new fans in China
Tennis has grown in popularity in China over the past decade, thanks in large part to Li Na’s success on the world stage. Li’s victory at Roland Garros 2011 was watched by 116 million viewers in China alone, spurring the game’s development in the world’s most populous country. The Women’s Tennis Association hosted nine events in China in 2019, up from two in 2008.

In 2014, China had invested hundreds of millions of dollars to launch the Wuhan Open, a tennis tournament held in Li’s hometown. Li’s victory was “the new frontier of tennis in China, a new era,” said Fabrice Chouquet, co-director of the Wuhan Open tournament, in 2016.

Now, Raducanu’s spectacular victory could inspire a new generation of Chinese tennis players.

“I’ll show this video to my daughter, hoping Emma can be her idol,” commented one user in the post-game interview with Raducanu, which has garnered millions of views on Weibo.


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