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Radwanska Pays Tribute To No.1 Fan

Agnieszka Radwanska's grandfather played a crucial role in helping her to the top, even selling off his entire art collection to fund her fledgling career.

Published September 15, 2013 12:00

Radwanska Pays Tribute To No.1 Fan
Agnieszka Radwanska

Agnieszka Radwanska has often spoken of the important role her family has played in helping her reach the top in tennis.

Among the most prominent members of that close-knit support network was her grandfather, Wladyslaw.

In addition to being her self-proclaimed biggest fan, Wladyslaw, a former professional ice hockey player, was also the World No.4's first sponsor, funding the fledgling stage of her career by selling off his art collection.

"We were really, really close and he was always supporting us," Radwanska said. "I think he was our biggest fan, and he also played tennis. He was really fit all his life, doing lots of sports and when we were little kids, we played together, as well."

Earlier this summer, Wladyslaw passed away at the age of 81. Radwanska, who was competing in Cincinnati at the time, returned home immediately to attend the funeral alongside sister Urszula and the rest of her family.

"I think this was one of a couple of things in life that are more important than tennis," Radwanska said. "Of course tennis is always a priority, but in this case I just had to go home. It was an easy decision because it was the moment I had to be with my family. I owed it to him to be at the funeral."

Radwanska's success has also converted her grandmother into something of a tennis aficionado and, for the US hardcourt season, a full-time night owl.

"Both my grandparents watched all my matches - it didn't matter if it was the middle of the night or early morning or afternoon. My grandma still watches every one, all day or all night. She is so into tennis because of us."

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