Teen sensation Emma Raducanu’s India connection, From her 1st ITF title at Pune to winning US Open

Emma Raducanu, the latest teen sensation in women’s tennis, has never been averse to moving against the tide. She gave enough examples of it during her triumphant journey at the 2021 US Open. She had exhibited the same in Pune two years back for a title victory that is still close to her heart.

Her India connection goes back to the previous year, as a junior. In 2018, Raducanu won the ITF Junior Tennis Grade 3 event in Chandigarh without dropping a set, going on to win a second ITF junior event a week later in New Delhi.

Emma Raducanu’s India connection

After the 18-year-old British player won her US Open semi-final against Maria Sakkari, she was asked about the favourite trophy in her nascent career. Raducanu’s reply was: “I won a $25000 (ITF tournament) in Pune two years ago. That probably is my biggest title to date. But this (US Open final entry) is by far my best achievement.”

The newly crowned US Open champion, Raducanu, an 18-year-old with barely any experience on the WTA Tour. Her biggest title until now had come at a Futures event at the Deccan Gymkhana courts of Pune in 2019 — she spent three weeks in India, even playing an ITF tournament in Solapur.

On a balmy winter morning in Pune, a 17-year-old girl walked out of the Deccan Gymkhana Tennis Court with the winner’s trophy of the NECC Deccan ITF $25,000 Women’s Championship in December 2019. Emma Raducanu was the youngest participant in the tournament and was considered the underdog by many of the spectators.

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