Before her dramatic US Open triumph, Emma Raducanu’s grandmother Niculina asked Emma’s parents if the 18-year-old should quit tennis.
Emma Raducanu’s grandmother wanted the US Open champion to quit tennis after watching her struggle to breathe at Wimbledon.
Raducanu spectacularly reached the fourth round of the SW19 championships – her maiden Grand Slam appearance – but crashed out when she suffered from breathing difficulties in the second set against Ajla Tomljanovic.
While the likes of John McEnroe criticised the teenager for lacking the right mentality, Niculina Raducanu was focused on just one thing – Emma’s health.
Known to Emma as ‘Mamiya’ – a Romanian term for grandma – Niculina is aware of the dedication and sacrifices the 18-year-old has had to make to become a Grand Slam champion.
After she forfeited the last-16 match at Wimbledon back in July, Niculina asked her son Ion and his wife Renee if Emma should continue with the sport.
“I asked her parents if she should quit tennis,” the 88-year-old told MailOnline. “Because what if something should happen to Emma?
“Her health is more important [than wealth or fame].
“The court she played on that day had a roof over it because it was raining, and she felt she couldn’t breathe.”
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Raducanu went on to win the US Open, becoming the first qualifier in the sport’s history to triumph in a Grand Slam.
Niculina admitted when Emma was playing against Canadian teenager Leylah Fernandez in the final, she could not watch due to nerves.
“The night she won the US Open, I couldn’t watch because my heart couldn’t take it,” she revealed. “I said to myself: ‘This match is going to be a really tough one,’ so I decided not to watch it.
“I only found out the news the next day, and I was delighted she was strong and healthy, and that her mind was healthy also — especially after what happened the last time [at Wimbledon].
“When I talked to my son, I was happy for him. He would have been so disappointed if she’d have lost after all the work and resources they’d put into this.”
Niculina admitted that while she is immensely proud of her granddaughter’s achievement, she is yet to tell anyone that she is the grandmother of a Grand Slam champion.