Emma Raducanu has shared an unusual story over her birth date as she prepares to play her first match in her birth city of Toronto.
The British No 1, who last September stunned the world she won the US Open as a qualifier, is building up to her defence of the title she won at Flushing Meadows. On Tuesday, she’ll play Camila Giorgi in the first round of the Canadian Open.
Lat week, she overcame searing pain to reach the quarter-finals of the Citi Open in Washington, before losing to Russian player Liudmila Samsonova in straight sets. But this tournament is undoubtedly a more poignant one for the teenage star, who was born in Toronto to a Romanian father and Chinese mother.
The family moved to England when Raducanu was just two-years-old, but not before her dad, Ion, tried to halt her being born on her due date. Speaking to reporters, she revealed his superstition had prompted concern.
“I was born on the 13th [November 2002] and my dad was trying to delay it because they thought 13 was unlucky,” she said. “Then they found out it was the doctor’s birthday and he did pretty well for himself so they were like: ‘OK, it’s fine!'”
It’s been a whirlwind year for Raducanu, who is now ranked in the world’s top 10 despite a second-round exit at Wimbledon last month. However, as of yet, she has failed to replicate the form that shot her to superstardom a year ago.
But speaking to Eurosport, she said her imminent return to the scene of her greatest triumph was a chance to start afresh: “To have success at a young age, obviously you have to be really grateful because I’m doing what I love,” she said.
“But also I’ve reached success way earlier than I ever really would have thought I did. So I’m pretty proud of myself in that way. But it has been a tough year. I’ve definitely gone through and experienced a lot of challenges.
“To be fair, I’ve learned a lot from all of it. I think it’s going to be nice once the US Open is finished and [I can] carry on from there. Start again. I think it will be nice to take all of the lessons from the last year and just [have] a clean slate.”
After her fairytale Grand Slam win, Raducanu opted to part ways with coach Andrew Richardson, citing the need to work with a mentor with more tour experience. She briefly teamed up with the highly regarded Torben Beltz, but the partnership was short lived.
However, she’s now being guided by 2006 Davis Cup winner Dmitry Tursunov, with last week’s Citi Open marking their first tournament working together. The former world number 20 retired from tennis in 2017 and has coached some renowned names over the last five years.
He has worked with Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, plus world doubles number one Elena Vesnina and Russian Aslan Karatsev from the ATP Tour. Most recently, Tursunov worked with Estonian Anett Kontaveit and the pair split last month after less than a year together.