Scotland might be an ocean away from the Arthur Ashe Stadium but Emma Raducanu’s US Open victory has already influenced young players at tennis clubs in Banchory and Tain.
Banchory Lawn Tennis Club currently has 150 registered members competing in social and competitive events. Their numbers soared when they reopened after the Covid-19 lockdown and the club sectary believes that Raducanu’s win could have the same impact.
Club secretary Emma Bolland believes that accessibility and exposure is fundamental for the development of women’s tennis in Scotland. Raducanu’s win will undoubtedly help prove that girls and women can play tennis to the highest of levels.
Bolland said: “It’s obviously great because it gets women’s tennis into the media more. It is exciting because it creates more awareness. It’s been a long time for women in tennis to have something like this.
“We’ve had Andy Murray which is great but that was maybe more inspiring for the men, but I think because she’s a woman it’s great because it feels like now it’s our turn. The girls can realise they can aspire to be a great tennis player.”
A role model for all
Raducanu’s winning trophy is not the only means of inspiration as her tennis was exemplary. The Banchory club secretary thinks Raducanu has already become all-around tennis role model.
She said: “To play like that, how she serves and how she moves around the court, it’s just amazing watching it. It’s quite addictive and it will make girls think I want to play like that. I feel like that and I’m an adult.
“Maybe before now it isn’t something they have thought that much about and now obviously they can realise that tennis is a big sport and you can achieve so much more than just going to your lessons.”
“Emma is so nice and I think her sportsmanship will be something that they can pick up on. She won gracefully so they will learn so much from watching her and when they’re young they will absorb all of that. It’s great that she won in the way that she did.”
Tain Tennis Club’s John Waring has coached tennis for over 60 years and he believes that Raducanu’s will influence both girls and boys to aim for tennis’ biggest and best achievements. He hopes that parents will also now encourage their children to make a career out of the sport.
He said: “The interest is strong especially with the parents because she is such a great inspiration, they might realise their kid can grow up and be a champion. There is an enhanced enthusiasm.
“We have seen that the kids at our club are able to compete with the adults. The youngsters are coming through and challenging the adults. In our tournament, we had a 15-year-old and a 13-year-old playing in the men’s doubles finals, showing great great talent.
“They were certainly inspired by Emma Raducanu’s win and attitude. We have not seen something like this since Andy Murray and I don’t think we will ever see something like this again.”
A spotlight has been put on British tennis, but Waring believes more needs to be done to be able to produce the next generation of tennis stars. The lack of funding and accessible facilities in the Highlands is puts their young players at an immediate disadvantage.
He said: “Emma came from the Bromley club and what do they have that we haven’t? An indoor court. The weather up here is more extreme and yet an indoor court is very very rare. For people, like us in Tain we are remote, but we have a high number of people looking for sports.”
“Nobody seems to have the money, whether it’s the LTA or the government, to put up these indoor courts. We would love indoor courts here and with one or two of them we could see talent like Emma emerging but you can’t do it when you’ve got snow and frost on the outdoors court meaning they can’t be used.”