Britain's teenage phenom Emma Raducanu made history Saturday, becoming the youngest British woman in the Open Era to make the Round of 16 at Wimbledon. Making her debut on No.1 court, the 18-year-old defeated Sorana Cirstea 6-3, 7-5 to book a spot in the fourth round and Monday will face Ajla Tomljanovic.
Here's what you need to know about the World No.338 who is firing up the home crowd at Wimbledon:
1. She just broke a 42-year British record
Raducanu became the fourth British teenager to make the Round of 16 at Wimbledon in the Open Era and, at 18 years and 239 days old, the youngest.
Before Raducanu's Wimbledon debut, the youngest British woman to reach this stage was Deborah Jevans in 1979 (19 years, 48 days). The two other teens to do so were Glynis Coles in 1973 (19 years, 138 days) and Laura Robson in 2013 (19 years, 166 days).
2. She made her WTA main-draw debut in Nottingham ... last month
Raducanu is playing just her second tour-level event. She made her debut last month at the Viking Open Nottingham as a wildcard, losing to her compatriot Harriet Dart 6-3, 6-4 in the first round.
The following week, she played the ITF 100K in Nottingham and made the quarterfinals, beating Storm Sanders and Timea Babos in straight sets before losing to Tsvetana Pironkova. That run convinced the AELTC to take a chance and give her a main-draw wildcard at Wimbledon, where she is making her tournament and Slam debut.
"Honestly, I just wanted to make the most out of [the wildcard], try to show that I earned it, try to make the most out of it," Raducanu said. "I'm really grateful for the All England Club's support in taking a chance on me.
"The way that I'm approaching my matches is each time I'm thinking to myself, 'Why not?' Like today, I was like, 'Someone has to be in the second week, why not me?' I think that's how I'm approaching it. I'm just trying to stay here as long as possible. I'm just having such a blast."
3. She is coached by Nigel Sears
Raducanu is currently coached by Nigel Sears, who formerly coached Amanda Coetzer, Daniela Hantuchova, Ana Ivanovic and, most recently, Anett Kontaveit. Sears has worked with Raducanu at varying points in her career, starting when she was 15.
"To be able to have someone like him in my corner, it definitely gives me a lot of confidence in these situations to know that he believes in me," Raducanu said. "I'm really grateful that he's taken a chance on me."
The LTA have supported Emma since early in her career, and she is now on their highest-level support program - the Pro Scholarship Programme, which provides support (physio, well-being, medical, financial, and National Tennis Centre access) to the best 16-to-24-year-old players in Britain.
4. She was born in Canada and has Romanian and Chinese roots
Raducanu was born in Toronto, Canada. Her father, Ian, is Romanian. Her mother, Renee, is Chinese. The family moved to London when she was 2. Her parents work in finance.
She still goes back to Romania a couple of times a year to visit her grandmother on her father's side, in Bucharest.
"On my mum, she's always instilled a lot of discipline, respect for other people into me," Raducanu said. "I think having parents like I do, they always push me. They have high expectations. I've always tried to live up to that. And I hope I did them proud this week."
5. She counts Simona Halep and Li Na as idols
Raducanu says it's just a coincidence that her two idols hail from countries she has connections to, but she's tried to model her game after Romania's Simona Halep and China's Li Na.
"I think it's definitely helped me, the mentality that both of them bring," Raducanu said. "They both come from very hard-working countries."
She certainly hits her backhand like someone who looked up to Halep and Li:
6. Injuries and school have held her back from playing more junior tournaments
Raducanu hit a career-high junior ranking of No.20 in 2018. She has played six junior Slams, with her best result coming in back-to-back quarterfinals in 2018 at Wimbledon, where she lost to eventual champion and subsequent Roland Garros champion Iga Swiatek, and the US Open, where she lost to Clara Burel. Raducanu says injuries and school held her back as a junior.
"I think it has at times been a little bit frustrating because you see the players that you've been growing up with and they're achieving," Raducanu said. "At the moment there are so many young players that are doing so well on the WTA Tour and the seniors. Sometimes it gets to you a little bit, 'Oh, I wish I could just have the opportunity to compete, then maybe I could do the same.'
"I think that the most important thing is when I'm given the opportunity, like I have been this week, just to try and make the most out of it. This is my opportunity to show that I am there, that my level is there. So far I think I've been doing a pretty good job."
7. She practiced with a former Wimbledon champion before the tournament
Raducanu has been reveling in the opportunity to practice with the game's best over the past few weeks. She practiced with Marketa Voudrousova for an hour before the tournament - and then beat the 2019 French Open runner-up in the second round - and she's been able to practice with Garbiñe Muguruza twice.
"I was so chuffed just to be able to hit with her and see how intense she was. It definitely made something click in my head. 'Wow, this is the level I need to be training at.' I need to be this intense if I want to achieve anything remotely near to what she has.
"I think that definitely was a small turning point in my head. I even got the opportunity to hit with her again. That made me feel really good that I produced in the first hit."
8. She credits being studious for her tactical acumen on court
Raducanu just finished school at Newstead Wood School in London and she credits her seven years there for developing her mind and social skills for tennis.
"I think staying in school has definitely helped me in terms of having another set of friends I can come into," Raducanu said. "It was a different way of life. It's a bit of an escape as well for me. To have another thing going alongside my tennis, it's kept my mind occupied.
"When you train, you only train a certain amount of hours a day. You've still got a lot of time to fill. It's definitely helped to keep my mind active. I find it's actually helped me with my on-court career as well in the way that I can absorb a lot of information. I feel that on court I'm more tactically astute than some others."
9. She's a high academic achiever
Raducanu just sat her last two A-levels in math and economics. Apparently, she has a reputation for expecting the best from herself, both on and off the court.
"Everyone thinks I'm absolutely fanatic about my school results," Raducanu said, laughing. "They think I have such an inflated ego about it.
"I think my parents just think I'm crazy. I won't accept anything less than an A star. I think that's what people around me think about me. I also feel like I have to live up to that expectation now. That's why I also work so hard to try and get those grades. I'm not sure what I'm going to come back with, but I did my part, I did my best.
Congratulations Emma! 🎾😭— Department for Education (@educationgovuk) July 3, 2021
Amazingly, it's only 2 months since she completed her A levels in maths and economics at @NewsteadWood.
She said, "I would say I have high standards of myself. That's helped me get to where I am in terms of tennis and also in terms of school results." https://t.co/ZcVtZFCkoW
10. She isn't taking anything for granted
After defeating Vondrousova in straight sets, Raducanu said she's been soaking in her first Wimbledon experience as if she were on holiday.
"I think for me, someone who has not been able to compete much, has always been sort of held back by something, I think that just to be able to be at The Championships, I feel like I'm on a holiday, like it's unbelievable," Raducanu said. "I just want to stay here for as long as I can.
"I think playing in front of a home crowd definitely helps. I mean, their support is so loud and they're so behind me. I'm really grateful. I've definitely got that in the back of my mind.
"Also I was just thinking to play every point like it was my last point, like it was match point, it was my last point here at Wimbledon. I think that also is a trick that I've been playing with myself."