From Felixstowe to Flushing Meadows: Emma Raducanu's rise began in Suffolk
- Credit: PA
Sensational tennis superstar Emma Raducanu has been the talk of the sporting world in recent days, but her journey to the US Open final began in Felixstowe.
Earlier this year the teenage sensation entered the British Tour held at Felixstowe Lawn Tennis Club between May 24 and 29.
It was one of the first tennis tournaments to run in the UK this year following the disruption of the coronavirus pandemic.
Not only did Emma enter the tournament but she won the ladies singles competition.
Her incredible performances didn't go unnoticed by the club.
"We were told she was an up and coming player," said Bill Cunnew, chairman of Felixstowe Lawn Tennis Club.
"No-one realised it was going to turn into what she has done."
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Mr Cunnew said he had watched some of her matches while at the tournament.
"She did stand out a bit from the rest," he said.
"It was her poise, she just came across as someone who is confident."
He said that the club watched on with delight as the youngster went from their tournament on to Wimbledon and the US Open..
Mr Cunnew has been impressed with her rapid rise this year and believes she could go all the way to the top.
"She could be a champion," he said.
"There's no reason she couldn't win Wimbledon."
The Felixstowe club is no stranger to tennis royalty with champions such as Fred Perry having played there in the past.
Mr Cunnew said that stars like Emma could help bolster clubs like Felixstowe by inspiring youngsters to take up the game.
Her time in Felixstowe isn't her only link to the county, her coach Andrew Richardson who has been a well-known coach in the county, having spent much of his time working from Culford School.
Top Suffolk-based tennis coach Nino Severino has also known Emma for a number of years through a very close friend who has been working with her.
"She has always been seen as an incredible talent, she has been very carefully managed, and guided through the early years of her journey, as we can all see, this was executed with perfection.
"Emma’s journey is quite simply, jaw dropping, and totally unique.
"Emma, is 'the real deal', regardless whether she wins the US Open or not, Britain has in its tennis crown, one of the most precious jewels on the WTA Tennis World Tour."