Emma Raducanu shows the diversity of this country at its best | Rick Jackson
I’ve been racking my brain all week to come up with a sporting achievement as spectacular and surprising as Emma Raducanu’s superb victory at the US Open tennis last weekend.
The 18-year-old became the first qualifier to reach the final and took the world by storm as she went on to win her first Grand Slam tournament, the first British female to do so since Virginia Wade won Wimbledon in 1977.
What’s even more incredible is that she didn’t drop a set throughout the whole tournament, something Boris Becker did when he achieved a similar feat in 1985 winning Wimbledon at an amazing 17.
Maybe, in footballing terms, Denmark winning the European Championship in 1992 and Greece doing the same in 2004 might come close. But they were underdogs, not unknowns.
Perhaps if San Marino won the Euros then yes, that would be as surprising!
We love our tennis here in Britain – this racket form of sport was invented in England – but sadly we’ve never been that good at it.
That said, tennis is very well supported financially in the UK and you’ll find tennis clubs everywhere.
S o I find it surprising we don’t have more Union Flags fluttering in the Grand Slam hall of fame.
Now, before you mention it, I’m fully aware Emma has dual citizenship with Canada, having been born in Toronto in 2002 before moving to the UK in 2004 at the age of two.
She started playing tennis at five after a chance meeting with British Davis Cup player Richard Whichello who spotted how well she struck the ball when playing in a park in Bromley.
He then approached her father Ian.
She attended a state school and joined the local tennis club and as soon as she picked up the racket it was clear she was in a different league and won the under-eights tournament when she was six.
This smart, likeable 18- year- old with a Romanian father and Chinese mother, educated and trained in the UK, shows the diversity of our nation at its best.
No pressure Emma, the future is so bright for you.
Oh , and I’m sure you can afford those new AirPod headphones now!
HOW SAD MY SON WILL NEVER FLY IN GREATEST PLANE EVER
On Saturday my planespotting seven-year-old son Freddie will meet the greatest plane ever made – Concorde.
You could argue for the Spitfire or Harrier jump jet, but for me Concorde is unbeatable.
Freddie will never fly in her, never watch her take off or hear the roar of those incredible Rolls-Royce Olympus engines and see the glow of her afterburners. Brooklands Museum in Surrey will have to do.
I saw her take off once, when she ‘opened’ the extended runway at Bournemouth in 1996. The noise rumbled my stomach so much I felt sick! Planes might be lighter and quieter, but nothing beats the look, sound and glamour of Concorde.
THERE WILL BE NOTHING CLEVER ABOUT THIS ‘SMART’ M27
A quote from the head of the AA made me prick up my ears this week regarding the new ‘smart’ motorway the M27 is slowly being turned into.
‘If you break down, put your hazard warning lights on and call 999, it’s that serious,’ he said. He is right and the RAC agrees. With works finishing next spring, I too am worried about the lack of hard shoulder. I’m not too comfortable on the M3 from Fleet. I think it could be worse from breakdowns and accidents on the M27 with shorter junction-to-junction journeys made.
If you do break down or have an accident, an area worryingly called ‘emergency refuge’ could be up to a mile-and-a-half away. Sorry, for me nothing is smart about this.
A message from the editor, Mark Waldron.
You can subscribe here for unlimited access to our online coverage, including Pompey, for 27p a day.