The Duchess of Cambridge said she hoped to meet US Open winner Emma Raducanu, and today she did just that.
The Duchess of Cambridge has praised Emma Raducanu’s “seriously impressive” achievement winning the US Open women’s title as the British tennis sensation was officially welcomed home pic.twitter.com/qZG6bWZME7
— PA Media (@PA) September 24, 2021
The 18-year-old won the Women’s Singles championship at the US Open in August.
She was the first-ever qualifier, man or woman, to win a Grand Slam tournament. More from ITV’s coverage:
Raducanu is also the first woman ever to win a title in as few as two tournaments, and the youngest since Maria Sharapova triumphed at Wimbledon in 2004.
Raducanu is the first British woman to win the US Open since 1968 following her 6-4 6-3 victory.
Below, hugging Canada’s Leylah Annie Fernandez, the second-place finisher.
Here you see her receiving the Championship trophy from tennis great Billie Jean King.
And from Jon Wertheim’s Sports Illustrated piece.
Here comes a charming, totally unexpected teenaged champion. She reminds us of the magic and unpredictability of sport. Of how intangibles can outstrip data and “expert” opinion. Of how there are multiple paths to success. Of how globalism and multiculturism can unite. (Google: Raducanu + Mandarin.) She reveals herself to be smart and charming and nails that weird alloy of confidence/humility we demand of celebrities.
Congratulatory sentiments started pouring in soon after Ms. Raducanu won her match, this one from HMTQ.
The Kensington Palace message.
Today’s meeting was part of a larger gathering celebrating Great Britain’s US Open Champions. Others being honored included Gordon Reid and Alfie Hewett, who won Wheelchair Doubles, the duo’s eighth successive slam title.
Here you see Ms. Raducanu holding her trophy and chatting with Mr. Reid and Mr. Hewett in August.
Also being toasted today, Joe Salisbury, who took the Men’s Doubles trophy with partner Rajeev Ram.
Mr. Salisbury also won Mixed Doubles at the Open with partner Desirae Krawczyk of the USA.
To celebrate the success of the four British US Open champions the LTA put together a Homecoming Celebration.
The Duchess met all four winners today, not just Ms. Raducanu. Here you see everyone heading out on the court.
In the back row, you see Joe Salisbury, Kate, and Emma Raducanu; in the front, Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid.
The Duchess paired up with the champion for a little doubles action.
Sam Richardson, the LTA head of programmes, jokingly urged the group not to get too competitive, noting: “How many Grand Slam titles have we got on the court?”
But all pleas for them to take it easy were quickly forgotten as the Duchess and Raducanu played against Hewett and Reid.
“It’s getting competitive already!” Mr Richardson said after one rally.
We return to Hannah Furness’s Telegraph piece:
Raducanu said: “We were definitely ramping it up after the short warm-up and everyone was definitely competitive.”
The five players switched positions and pairs for the casual game, with the tennis becoming fast and furious with some long rallies.
The Duchess in action.
Here is a quick video of the action from ITV’s Chris Ship,
— Chris Ship (@chrisshipitv) September 24, 2021
Reporters asked the champion if she was nervous playing the Duchess; The Guardian has more in this story:
When asked if she were more nervous playing the duchess or Leylah Fernandez, her opponent in the final in New York, Raducanu smiled and said: “I was actually very nervous playing the duchess. I was like: ‘Don’t miss, don’t miss’!”
At one point Raducanu was left on the sidelines while the other four played. She immediately decided that she should take up the role of ballgirl. “My new job!” she laughed. “I always wanted to be a ballgirl. Being a ballgirl was my dream.
“But I don’t think I would make it at Wimbledon. I’m a bit slow!”
The Duchess also met teenagers from across the UK who are playing tennis at a grassroots level as part of the LTA Youth program.
More from Simon Perry’s People article.
As well as the homecoming celebration, Kate, who is patron of the Lawn Tennis Association, also met teenagers from around the U.K. The young athletes are playing tennis at a grassroots level as part of the LTA Youth program, which aims to encourage participation in the sport and inspire the next generation of players.The program’s goal is to help more children enjoy the benefits of playing and staying in tennis, regardless of age, gender, ability, disability or background.
Ms. Raducanu is a youth ambassador for the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA). Here you see her when she made a surprise visit to her old primary school in July.
Here you see a marketing graphic for the initiative that features Ms. Raducanu.
Kensington Palace notes the Duchess “is passionate about supporting grassroots tennis and encouraging young people from all backgrounds to become involved in the sport.”
Now for our look at what Kate wore to the National Tennis Centre today.
The Duchess wore designs by Poivre Blanc, a premium French sportswear brand. Below, the Poivre Blanc Pique Skort in oxford blue and white (£72, about $99 at today’s exchange rates). The lightweight skort has inner attached shorts, contrasting inverted pleats, and a ball pocket. Kate also wore the brand’s Pique Polo Shirt (£54.50, about $75) and Ladies Tennis Jacket (£88.50, roughly $121). Thank you to Mallory and Laura for their ID work on these pieces.
The style name is no coincidence; tennis great Roger Federer has an ownership stake in the company. The BBC reports, “The 20-times Grand Slam winner teamed up with the company earlier this year to develop the Roger Pro tennis shoe. The tennis player has worn the shoes at recent tournaments including Wimbledon.” Kate’s style is made using about 10% recycled materials. It is available at On ($139.99), as well as Bloomingdale’s, Back Country, and Zappos.
My friend Susan Courter of What Meghan Wore says it looks like the Duchess is using a Babolat Drive Lite Racquet. On the left, I show the Babolat Evo Drive Lite ($149), and on the right, the Babolat Pure Drive Lite ($195). The Duchess’s racquet looks a little older; it does not have an entirely blue frame as the racquet on the right shows.
We’ll leave you with one more shot from today’s engagement.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The post has been updated to include the information about Mr. Salisbury winning Men’s Doubles as well as Mixed Doubles, with thanks to those who noted the omission in their comments.
Kensington Palace has a quick video.
#LTAyouth paving the way for the next generation of 🎾 players!
By helping children enjoy the benefits of playing and staying in tennis – whatever their ages, gender, ability, disability or background – it plays a vital role for the future of grassroots sport across the country. pic.twitter.com/TBZOUZsfPn
— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) September 24, 2021
The Royal Family Channel’s video runs a bit less than two minutes.
- Learn more about the Lawn Tennis Association at the organization’s site; its Facebook page is here; Twitter feed here, and Instagram page here
- You can read more about the LTA’s Youth Program here.
- The Telegraph’s article is here; The Evening Standard’s story is here; The Guardian’s coverage is here; Simon Perry’s People article is here;
- The Daily Mirror’s piece is here; an ITV News story is here;