'She's a warrior': Emma Raducanu's childhood coach says

‘She’s a warrior’: Emma Raducanu’s childhood coach reveals local trainers knew tennis star was ‘something different’ even as a youngster

  • British tennis champion Emma Raducanu won the US Open final in straight sets  
  • The 18-year-old from Bromley beat Leylah Fernandez 6-4, 6-3 on Saturday
  • Now her childhood coach says the player was a ‘warrior’ who loved learning 
  • Tennis legend Billie Jean King added that Emma has the ‘it factor’ 

US Open champion Emma Raducanu’s childhood coach has described the tennis prodigy as ‘a warrior’ – revealing that local sports trainers knew ‘this is something different’ when she was just a child. 

The 18-year-old athlete, from Bromley, became the first British woman to win a grand slam since Virginia Wade’s Wimbledon victory in 1977, with her 6-4, 6-3 win over fellow teenager Canadian Leylah Fernandez in Flushing Meadows.

Suzanne Williams, Emma’s former strength and conditioning trainer, who made the comments while speaking on this morning’s episode of Lorraine, agreed that she was ‘bursting with pride’ at Emma’s US Open win, describing it as ‘such a sensational thing’. 

The incredible victory came after Emma burst onto the scene at this year’s Wimbledon, where she became the youngest British woman to reach the fourth round of the singles competition since 1959 after being handed a wildcard entry.

Suzanne Williams said Emma is ‘the perfect storm of all the things you’d want from a female athlete’ following the athlete’s unprecedented grand slam win

The 18-year-old celebrates her US Open win in New York, proudly holding the championship trophy after defeating Canadian 19-year-old Leylah Fernandez

Lorraine spoke to  Emma Raducanu’s former strength and conditioning trainer, Suzanne Williams, who described the young athlete as ‘a warrior’

Suzanne Williams watched the US Open final at Emma’s former club, alongside other sports coaches and Kent locals

After Emma’s amazing performances in New York and Wimbledon, her world ranking skyrocketed from 366 to 25. 

Her Instagram following shot to more than 1.2 million, and she is set to appear in her first Vogue photoshoot, which appears in next month’s issue. 

Lorraine described Emma as a ‘superstar’, saying that while she’d been described as an ‘overnight’ sensation, people have to ‘put in the graft and work very, very hard’.

Suzanne, who watched the match at Emma’s former club in Kent, along with other coaches and locals, agreed, saying: ‘She started so young and worked so hard, but she loved it. 

‘I was her strength and conditioning coach and her first fitness trainer when she was seven until about 11.

‘She just loved to work hard. Learning for her was fun, so there was no stopping her.’

She added: ‘There are a lot of coaches in Kent that spent a lot of time with her, and right from the off, we were all chatting amongst each other, saying “ok, this is something different”…she just had this real growth mindset.

‘Nothing was too much for her to try…she wanted to learn and grow, and you can see it.’

Emma Raducanu: Route to US Open Glory

Q1: 6-1, 6-2 – beats Bibiane Schoofs – QUALIFYING

Q2: 6-3, 7-5 – beats Mariam Bolkvadze – QUALIFYING

Q3: 6-1, 6-4 – beats Mayar Sherif – QUALIFYING

R1: 6-2, 6-3 – beats Stefanie Vogele

R2: 6-2, 6-4 – beats Zhang Shuai

R3: 6-0, 6-1 – beats Sara Sorribes Tormo

R4: 6-2, 6-1 – beats Shelby Rogers

QF: 6-3, 6-4 – beats Belinda Bencic

SF: 6-1, 6-4 – beats Maria Sakkari

F: 6-4, 6-3 – beats Leylah Fernandez


Lorraine described Emma as incredibly intelligent, and incredibly beautiful adding ‘it shouldn’t really matter but it does, especially when it comes to sponsorship deals’ – saying the star is ‘the full package’.

The pair also discussed Emma’s controversial decision to retire from Wimbledon in the fourth round on medical grounds, with the star suffering from breathing issues.

Lorraine said it must have taken intense mental strength to recover from that and come back to win the US Open. 

Suzanne replied: ‘She is the perfect storm of all the things you’d want from a female athlete…she’s a warrior.’    

The coach then described Emma’s win as ‘unprecedented’, saying: ‘It couldn’t possibly happen again where the qualifier comes all the way through, but British tennis is in a good place. 

‘We’ve got some incredibly competent and talented juniors coming through….but it’s just so tough.’   

Lorraine also spoke to tennis legend Billie Jean King about the young athlete in an interview aired during the episode.

Billie Jean praised Emma, saying she is ‘so articulate’ and adding that ‘she really thrives on a stage.

‘She’s got that “it factor” – you look for that in kids.’

Billie added: ‘You can just see Emma thriving when the camera’s on, and how articulate she is.

‘And another very important thing I look for, she doesn’t always use the word “I’.

‘She uses the words “this will be great for our sport”, and then she uses the “we” word. Most of the kids today use the “I” word because everything is about their own branding.

‘But I really notice with her it’s deeper and broader…and that’s what I look for when I look for a real champion on and off the court’ 

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