Emma Raducanu: A role model to girls in sport

Fresh off her US Open win, at only 18 years old Emma Raducanu has already achieved what most can only dream of. This exceptional young sportswoman’s career has only gone from strength to strength. Since turning professional in 2018, she has become the first British woman to win a grand slam title since Virginia Wade’s Wimbledon victory in 1977 and has risen to number 22 in the World Tennis Ranking.

With her success happening so in life Raducanu is quickly becoming a national treasure and an idol to millions of young people, particularly young women. Extensive coverage of Raducanu and her success in the media has inspired many to try out tennis, prompting what some enthusiasts, including Andy Murray, hope will be a resurgence in the popularity of the sport. The tennis star herself is passionate about this cause, discussing access to tennis with the Prime Minister and currently advising Amazon on how to best use money generated by her US Open final’s airing. This is in the hope to help discover the next generation of professional female tennis players eager to follow in her footsteps.

The media’s portrayal of Raducanu seems overall positive thus far, with news outlets heralding her as a tennis superstar and the Telegraph describing her win at the US Open as “one of the most sensational stories in the history of British sport.” However, Raducanu’s success has also often been described as a ‘fairy-tale’ by the media in a way that downplays her skill and hard work on the court. This contrasts with reports on Andy Murrays 2013 Wimbledon win, which describe the ‘gruelling’ match and Murray’s ‘emphatic victory’ (The Guardian, 2013) highlighting the imbalanced portrayal of women in sports journalism, even when their achievements are just as, or even more impactful, than their male counterparts.

By Lydia Tomkinson