British teenager Emma Raducanu stunned world No. 45 Sorana Cirstea to reach the fourth round of Wimbledon on Saturday afternoon.
The feat saw her follow in the footsteps of Deborah Jevans, Glynis Coles and Laura Robson, becoming just the fourth British teenager to reach the last-16 at Wimbledon.
Not bad for someone who only finished their A-levels recently.
The 18-year-old entered the tournament ranked 338th in the world but became the only British woman to make it into the third round when she beat former French open finalist Marketa Vondrousova in straight sets.
Wimbledon may be her first grand slam tournament, but Raducanu is showing maturity beyond her years and swept Cirstea aside thanks to a combination of poise and power that delighted the crowd on Court One.
She has been considered a serious talent within the British game for many years. Born in Toronto, Canada, she moved to the UK with her Chinese mother and Romanian father when she was two years old.
She then began playing tennis at Bromley Tennis Academy when she was five and is now one of 12 players on the Lawn Tennis Association’s (LTA) Pro Scholarship Programme for young players.\
“I was initially in ballet, then my dad hijacked me from ballet and threw me into every sport you could imagine,” she told The Guardian recently.
“I was doing horse riding, swimming, tap dancing, basketball, skiing, golf and, from the age of five to eight, I was go-karting.”
Thankfully, she settled upon tennis, impressing the former British No 1 and LTA lead women’s coach, Jeremy Bates, so much that he contacted coach Nigel Sears, the father of Andy Murray’s wife, Kim.
Sears has been her coach since she was 15, but some of her neighbours recently revealed that she honed her skills by playing against her dad in the quiet south-east London cul-de-sac they call home.
Speaking to The i about her parents last summer, she said: “They have been very tough on me as a kid. They have been pushy to an extent, not just in tennis but in everything. I think that I’ve developed that mentality since a young age.”
That mentality will have undoubtedly helped with her academic work. But asked recently if she would prefer an A* in all of her A-levels or to reach round four of Wimbledon, she said: “I’d have to say round four of Wimbledon.”