Surprising Inspiration: Chinese WTA Icon Emerges as Emma Raducanu’s Unlikely Role Model – Not Serena Williams or Maria Sharapova!

Emma Raducanu is a curious case. The 21-year-old Briton lives in the UK but has her roots in China. She won the US Open title when few believed in her but failed to live up to the expectations in many tournaments after that. Now, to everyone’s surprise, the 21-year-old overlooked multiple Grand Slam champions Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova when she was asked about her role model.

Instead, she picked Chinese WTA icon and two-time Grand Slam champion Li Na as her role model. Raducanu said that she had grown up watching the Chinese ace and would have loved to play against her. The Briton believes that Li Na was a complete player and playing against her would have been fun.

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Talking to Tatler, Emma Raducanu spoke about the evolution of tennis and said that she would love to see a comparison between tennis from a decade ago and how it is played now. The 2021 US Open champion then went on to talk about Li Na and how the Chinese icon has always inspired the young Briton.

I think I saw her so much growing up, and she’s been such an idol of mine that I would just love to be on the other side of it. She’s a really complete player and I would have loved to have a good battle against her.
Emma Raducanu said about her role model Li Na.

Also Read: Australian Open 2024 prize money revealed! And you won’t believe the pool!

Emma Raducanu has been out of the tour for over seven months now. She last played at the Stuttgart Open where the Briton had a first-round exit. Injuries have been the main reason behind Raducanu missing out on a lot of action. While many may see this as a setback, Raducanu saw this long break as an opportunity to work on her holistic growth.

Emma Raducanu The Championships
Emma Raducanu (Image via WTA)

The 21-year-old revealed how she made the most of her time by spending time with her family, learning how to play the piano, and reading Chinese philosophy. Raducanu is also exploring her motherland and is fascinated by the culture and modernity of the place.


I love the food culture, which is obviously massive. My favorite thing is just immersing myself in the culture; I guess it’s very different to the West, but I love it. There’s a lot more going on at all times. And it’s so clean; it’s so modern. I think it’s way ahead of its time.
Emma Raducanu said about Hong Kong which she visted for business purpose.

Raducanu further talked about the importance of education for the young people out there who want to make a career in tennis. The 21-year-old said that while playing the sport should be the top priority, education must not take a backseat. Raducanu also explained the rationale behind her claim. She believes that once the playing days are over, the education gained helps in embarking on a new journey.

I think doing your education properly helps so much, because it develops you as a person and benefits you in all walks of life. Tennis is a big part of my life, but there’s a lot more to it than just playing. [Besides,] once you hit 35, if you’ve only played tennis, it’s very difficult to get into something brand new.
Emma Raducanu says.

It is worth mentioning that Raducanu practices what she preaches. The 21-year-old herself attended regular classes all the way through primary and secondary school until she was 18, unlike many players who prefer to be home-schooled.

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