Emma Raducanu and her parents

Who is Emma Raducanu?

Emma Raducanu, the British tennis player (20 years old, ranking 78 WTA) who amazed the whole world at the US Open, admitted to having a father not so easy to please. Although she rarely speaks about him, their relationship is very strong, and Ian Raducanu (originally Ion) is her biggest supporter. 

Raducanu was born in Toronto, Canada, and raised in London, where her parents moved when she was 2. Her father, Ion, is from Bucharest, Romania, and her mother, Renee Zhai, is from Shenyang, China. She stated that both of her parents “came from very academic families, from communist countries, so education was kind of their only option”. She speaks English, Mandarin and Romanian. Tennis was her biggest passion – she started playing it at age 5, but she also participated in other sports: basketball, golf, karting, motocross, skiing, horse riding and ballet. 

Although having a very active lifestyle, Emma was a good student as well: she attended Bickley Primary School, followed by Newstead Wood School, a selective grammar school in Orpington, where she graduated with an A* in mathematics and A in economics in her A-levels. In a press conference, she stated that her parents are very strict when it comes to education. 

Raducanu made her ITF debut in Liverpool, at 13, the earliest allowed age of entry, where she won the tournament and became the youngest-ever winner of an ITF Under-18 tournament. 

Emma Raducanu’s parents

Who are Emma Raducanu’s parents?

Her parents met in Canada, where they married and had Emma. The mother, from China, worked and still works in finance. The father, from Romania, now works in finance with his wife, but before that, he worked in construction. Ion Raducanu, now Ian, after he changed his name, was born in Bucharest, where his mother lives to this day. He graduated from the Faculty of Construction in the same city and then moved to Canada. He then switched to finance, having a very well-paid job, and giving Emma the opportunity to live a safe and happy life. Although a huge support to his daughter, Emma stated that he is extremely strict with her, both education and sport-wise. Therefore, when she became one of the most important tennis players in the world, which was only a few months after her A-levels, even her father was amazed by her super performance. “You are even stronger than your father thought,” Ian said to Emma, which calmed her down in that very stressful period of her life. 

Emma Raducanu’s father

Image source: The Sun

Their relationship is very strong, and they are close, but her father does not usually travel with her for the tennis matches, so when he is there, Emma feels very good: “I couldn’t spot my father in the stands. It’s nice to have him by my side at a tournament. He never travels abroad to see me play. It was nice to know he was watching me play, and it was really nice to have the support I had; it meant a lot to me to play in my father’s home country,” she said after playing in Transylvania Open. Emma loves Romania and has a special relationship with her grandmother that lives there, mamaie as she calls her. She is visiting Romania every year, where she gets to enjoy her favourite dishes, Romanian traditional cuisine, cooked by her grandmother: “My grandma, Mamiya, still lives in central Bucharest. I go back a couple of times a year, stay with her, and see her. It’s really nice. I love the food, to be honest. I mean, the food is unbelievable. And my grandma’s cooking is also something special. I do have ties to Bucharest.”

Even though he is not always there on the court with her, Emma’s father is one of the reasons she is where she is today. During the covid pandemic, when all the tennis courts were closed due to safety reasons and Emma couldn’t practice in a professional setting, her father was the one who kept her in shape. Their neighbours from the London borough of Bromley revealed that the athlete hit the ball with her father daily, in front of the house. Practically, Ian Raducanu was Emma’s sparring partner during that extremely difficult period: “We were lucky that she is so good at tennis that she managed to avoid hitting the cars parked on the street. She was there every day, training with her father, Ian. They are a wonderful family, and I am so proud and so excited to have them as our neighbours! The whole street is proud of her! We all hold our fists for him at every match”, Michelle Derham, 29 years old, lives a few houses from Raducanu. 

Emma Raducanu ended 2022 without a coach and was frustrated. After winning 17 matches and losing 19, she stated that she is extremely disappointed by the constant criticism from British media and the lies spread about her. After winning the US Open in 2021, Emma ended her collaboration with Andrew Richardson. She worked for a little while with Nigel Sears, followed by the German Torben Beltz, with whom she collaborated until April 2022. Dmitry Tursunov is the fourth coach who leaves Emma’s team in the last 16 months. Although some people say that the tennis player is the one who makes her coach’s life difficult, other voices say that the real problem is the father. 

Emma Raducanu’s mother

Image source: Daily Express

Emma and her mother are very close as well. She is also fluent in Mandarin, which she speaks with Dong Bei (north-east Chinese) accent. Raducanu spoke openly about her mixed heritage, and she visits China regularly as well. In interviews, Emma has paid tribute to her mum and that side of the family: “They are so mentally resilient – it’s like nothing can bring them down. I would say I take a big part of my inspiration from her. My mum has worked very hard.”

Like her father, her mother influenced her expectations. She instilled a lot of discipline and respect for other people into her daughter: “I think that having parents like I do, they always push me, they have high expectations, so I’ve always tried to live up to that. And I hope I did them proud this week, and I’m going to keep trying to go, keep going,” said Emma in an interview in July at a Wimbledon conference. 

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