Emma Raducanu's fairytale US Open victory 'could be massive for tennis in Sheffield'

US Open champion Emma Raducanu’s incredible underdog story could inspire a new generation of tennis players in Sheffield, says a young tennis coach.

By Robert Cumber
Sunday, 12th September 2021, 6:01 pm

The 18-year-old came through three rounds of qualifying before crushing her opposition in the main draw to claim the title on Saturday without dropping a set, becoming the first British woman to win a Grand Slam title in 44 years.

Reuben Newman-Billington, who won a national award for his work as a coach at Graves Tennis Academy, was among those blown away by her performance.

Reuben, who is only 19 himself and about to begin studying history at the University of Nottingham, believes Raducanu’s remarkable feat could have a huge impact on the sport in Sheffield and around the UK.

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Britain's Emma Raducanu celebrates with the trophy after winning the 2021 US Open Tennis tournament women's final match against Canada's Leylah Fernandez at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)

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“Tennis has never been as popular as football in the UK but her story has put it right in the spotlight on the front and back pages, where it hasn’t been for while,” he said.

“I’m hoping a lot of people who have watched her – especially young girls – will be inspired to take up tennis in Sheffield and across the country. What she’s achieved could be massive for tennis in Sheffield.

“She’s a fantastic role model. The way she composes herself on court, her attitude and her workrate are all world class.”

Reuben Newman-Billington

Reuben, who was this summer crowned Young Person of the Year by the Lawn Tennis Association for his own ‘inspirational’ work to help keep families active and entertained during lockdown, believes there’s much more to come from Raducanu.

“It’s one of the best underdog stories in tennis or any sport for as long as I can remember, when you think she was playing Futures level tennis not that long ago and now she’s a Grand Slam champion,” he said.

“I watched her at Wimbledon and thought she had a bright future but I didn’t expect her to win a Grand Slam title so soon.

“The opportunities for her are just endless. The sky’s the limit, and I can see her going on to win more than 10 Grand Slam titles. She’s that good.”