When Mahak Jain won the girls’ title in the Road to Wimbledon UK under-14 tennis championship in 2015, Emma Raducanu had given a hint of her future by winning a doubles quarterfinal against the Indian 6-2, 6-0.
Raducanu, about 12 then, had partnered Andre Lukosiute to beat Mahak and her partner Mathilde Sreeves.
Queried about Indian players dominating the tournament, British coach Dan Bloxham had mentioned then that English players were “working doubly hard”.
The 18-year-old Raducanu has taken the quickest steps, as a qualifier ranked 150, to a Grand Slam title in New York. Her best title before this was the $25,000 tournament she won in Pune in December 2019.
In January 2018, Raducanu had won the ITF grade-3 junior tournament in Chandigarh, and followed that with the grade-2 title in Delhi.
Vaidehi Chaudhari had a good match against Raducanu in Delhi, but retired at 4-6, 2-4 owing to a sprained ankle
“I remember Emma being very energetic and getting every ball back. She was very quick on court. I feel very proud to have played a good match against her,” recalled Vaidehi, who trains with coach Jignesh Raval in Ahmedabad.
“Emma was on a mission then. She was winning a series of junior titles at that time. She was on fire,” recalled Raval.
Conceding that Raducanu’s incredible success has lent a lot of clarity to the right approach, Raval said that he would make a series of videos to educate players and parents about, “what to do, and what not to do”.