Emma bewitches America... in jeans and cardie!
Sofa star: Emma Raducanu was feted on US television yesterday
SHE’S become a household name overnight after dazzling us on court with her historic US Open win.
Now Emma Raducanu is firmly on the path to being a global megastar – after waking up in New York yesterday to find the world clamouring to hear what she has to say about her incredible, faultless win at such a young age.
And it seems the 18-year-old is taking it all in her stride, serving up a set of TV interviews and Instagram posts with ease, humility and (of course) that megawatt smile.
Since victory on Saturday, Emma has swapped hotels from the InterContinental – a plush-enough place which hosted her for free as arranged by US Open – to the Peninsula on New York’s exclusive Fifth Avenue, three times more expensive and the haunt of royalty, presidents and film stars.
From here she found herself at the centre of a media blitz yesterday, appearing live on two breakfast shows within one heady hour.
If that wasn’t enough, the day was due to be topped off by an appearance at the Met Gala, a fashion extravaganza chaired by American Vogue’s editor – and tennis superfan – Anna Wintour. The glittering event was postponed from its usual date in May due to the Covid-19 pandemic, meaning Emma could celebrate her success with a true Cinderella moment.
The freshly-minted millionaire (that phenomenal final victory earned her £1.8million in prize money) was set to emerge in a designer gown, sharing the red carpet with more established stars including Lewis Hamilton and Venus Williams. The teenager from Bromley, who has gone from 2,000 Instagram followers in June to 1.6million today, will have to get used to rubbing shoulders with the A-list.
Her NBC hosts couldn’t get over how fabulous she is in person after having her on their breakfast show, which is shown across America. After interviewing her Craig Melvin gushed: ‘She’s delightful.’ Co-host Savannah Guthrie agreed: ‘I know. A star is born.’
It had been an early start for Emma. At 7am, she and her team left The Peninsula. Coach Andrew Richardson, agent Chris Helliar and physio Will Herbert – who she calls ‘the mechanic’ – had spent Sunday night talking about the incredible victory over the 19year-old Canadian Leylah Fernandez. It’s thought they did so at their hotel’s striking Salon de Ning rooftop terrace – with Tim Henman also in attendance. ‘We
Her interviewer gushed: ‘She’s delightful’
had a really nice night, you know, we all spent the night just reflecting,’ Emma said yesterday.
‘It was a really cool moment because it’s been such a long trip for us and everything has gone so fast. We were taking care of every single day and before we know it three weeks had gone, but we just got to reflect and share a few stories and it was a nice night to have with everyone.’
As she left the hotel to get into a car with Helliar, a fresh-faced Emma was wearing shorts and a £22 men’s Nike T-shirt featuring a cartoon of the Statue of Liberty holding a tennis racquet.
By 7.30am she had changed and was live on coast-to-coast television on ABC’s Good Morning America, filmed in the network’s studio in Times Square.
The teen wore button-fly jeans, believed to be a pair from fashionable brand Mother costing around £300, along with a white cashmere cardigan and top set costing £228 from sustainable clothing brand Reformation. Her white trainers were from Nike, with whom she has a shoe and clothing sponsorship.
Despite sporting a look familiar to so many teens (a similar cardigan can be bought at Zara for £15.99) she upped her bling factor with an £11,000 gold graduated link necklace from Tiffany, plus the £4,500 pearl and diamond earrings from the jeweller she wore when playing on Saturday night.
Emma seems to have signed a deal to be a Tiffany ambassador. The company changed hands earlier this year and is now a part of the giant LVMH luxury goods empire. The first brief for the new management team is to grow the brand outside America – particularly in the Asian market.
Emma, who was born in Canada to a Romanian father and Chinese mother, is ‘quite capable’ in Mandarin and couldn’t be a better fit for Tiffany. She’s in starry company – Beyonce and Jay-Z are also new ambassadors for the brand.
In her interview with ABC, Emma expressed delight over the letter she received from the Queen – and told all about the mystery of her lost Apple earphones.
After winning on Saturday night she’d told reporters that affording a new pair had become a running joke among her team. ‘Before my first round qualifying match I lost my AirPods and I was basically running around the changing room like three minutes before my
call to go on trying to find it, but I lost it.’ Thankfully, she found them just before the semi-finals.
She also said she was happy to have managed to impress her ‘tough’ and ‘hard to please’ parents Ian and Renee, who watched their only child’s match at the family home in Bromley as they weren’t able to travel due to Covid restrictions.
‘I think that from a young age I’ve always sort of been brought up to have mental strength,’ she said.
‘My parents... were pretty tough on me when I was young, but I think now it’s helping on the biggest stages in the world.
‘It was really nice to talk to them after I won. They were just so happy and proud of me... [they’re] my toughest critics and very, very hard to please but, yeah, I got them with this one. They couldn’t resist.’ She added that she had increased her endurance and mental strength during the tournament and described her exit from Wimbledon with breathing issues as ‘more of a physical issue’.
She concluded: ‘It’s like almost natural selection, you know... if you don’t [adapt], you lose so it was really fun to experience. I’m just super happy with the week, of course.’
By 7.40am Emma was on her way to another interview with NBC, posing en route for a short video for Instagram in front of a giant billboard featuring her face.
‘Sightseeing in New York,’ she wrote. ‘Never thought I would see this. Coolest thing.’
By 7.44am she was appearing via Zoom on NBC’s breakfast show Today. That programme is also filmed in New York, at the Rockefeller Centre, but Emma’s tight schedule meant she didn’t have time to make it there in person. She appeared instead from a small room nearby.
‘Three weeks ago, I did not think I would last the whole trip,’ she told the hosts.
‘I thought I would be home in a week after qualifying. But I’ve just been doing my best to take care of every single day individually and to the best of my abilities, and three weeks later the time has flown and I was holding the trophy at the end. But, yeah, it was the best time of my life.’
As for any jitters, she said: ‘I think before the match, there were a little bit of pre-match nerves in terms of something just didn’t feel quite 100 per cent, and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. It’s just a weird feeling. But I think that’s part of the build-up and everything. As soon as I got out and was just doing what I’ve
It’s said Anna Wintour wooed her personally
done 100 times before, playing and just focusing on the point and tactics and not trying to get caught up in the occasion, I felt completely normal and it was a great, level match.
‘Leylah played incredible tennis and we were literally throwing everything at each other. I’m just very proud to have come through some tough moments at the end, especially.’
Of the trophy she said: ‘That’s coming with me, right by my side. I’m not checking it in any sort of other luggage. I can’t believe I get to bring it home.’
After her busy morning there was some downtime. Sources in her camp said she and Helliar took a car around New York to see some sights, followed by a lowkey lunch. The afternoon would bring preparation for the Met Gala.
This year the event has aimed to feature a far younger crowd. Its celebrity hosts are all aged 25 and under, with a host of Instagram and TikTok stars on the guest list. That list is also smaller this year, down from 600 to just 450, due to Covid restrictions.
The British editor-inchief of Vogue, Dame Anna Wintour, is the honorary chair of the event and a huge tennis fan, who counts Roger Federer (who once posed with Emma on Instagram) as one of her close friends. She is a regular face in the crowds at Wimbledon and US Open – and speculation swept the city yesterday that she had personally wooed Emma to attend.
Others due to join them were Debbie Harry, Jennifer Lopez and Kim Kardashian, with Rihanna hosting the official after-party. But as far as New York – indeed, the world – is concerned right now, Emma is a brighter star than all of them.