Emma Raducanu is set to become a ‘billion-dollar girl’ and the ‘hottest property in British sport since Lewis Hamilton’s breakthrough’ if she continues to be successful, according to branding experts.
The 18-year-old, from Bromley, south-east London, made history today by ruthlessly winning her US Open semi-final in straight sets, defeating seventeenth seed Maria Sakkari 6-1, 6-4 in just 84 minutes for a place in her first major final.
Thanks to her triumphs so far, which has seen her become the first ever qualifier into a Grand Slam final, she’s already secured a cheque for a minimum of $1.25million (£900,000) – but popular culture and brand expert Nick Ede insists that’s just the start of Emma’s glittering success.
He told FEMAIL fans should expert Emma to become recognised globally and have the ‘star crossover power’ to become an A-list celebrity like Serena Williams; the US tennis champion boasts famous singers Beyoncé and Kelly Rowland as friends.
Tim Crow, a sports marketing consultant who advised Coca-Cola on football sponsorship for 20 years, told the Guardian: ‘I haven’t had this many calls from clients, major brands, who are interested in her since Lewis Hamilton broke through in Formula One.
‘If she wins [the final] she will become one of the hottest properties in British sport, if not the hottest.’
Elsewhere, PR expert Mark Borkowski told the publication he’d brand her the ‘billion-dollar girl’ – as long as she keeps winning.
Emma Raducanu’s (pictured) career is without a doubt going to get bigger and better – with the teenage tennis sensation set to become a ‘worldwide household celebrity’, according to a branding expert
The 18-year-old (pictured during her Vogue photoshoot), from Bromley, south-east London, made history today by ruthlessly winning her US Open semi-final in straight sets, defeating seventeenth seed Maria Sakkari 6-1, 6-4 in just 84 minutes for a place in her first major final
Tim added that because Emma’s multicultural heritage is ‘able to resonate in so many markets… she appeals so far beyond a typical white, British, middle-class female tennis player.’
Nick, meanwhile, said ‘brands would now throw themselves’ at the teenage tennis player after her historic US Open semi-final win – and wouldn’t be surprised to see Emma grace many glittering red carpet events, including the renowned Met Gala.
Emma burst on to the scene at this year’s Wimbledon, where she became the youngest British woman to reach the fourth round of the singles competition since 1959 after being handed a wildcard entry.
EMMA RADUCANU’S RUN TO THE US OPEN FINAL
Q1: 6-1, 6-2 – beats Bibiane Schoofs – QUALIFYING
Q2: 6-3, 7-5 – beats Mariam Bolkvadze – QUALIFYING
Q3: 6-1, 6-4 – beats Mayar Sherif – QUALIFYING
R1: 6-2, 6-3 – beats Stefanie Vogele
R2: 6-2, 6-4 – beats Zhang Shuai
R3: 6-0, 6-1 – beats Sara Sorribes Tormo
R4: 6-2, 6-1 – beats Shelby Rogers
QF: 6-3, 6-4 – beats Belinda Bencic
SF: 6-1, 6-4 – beats Maria Sakkari
And now, tennis fans have been heartened to see her fourth round defeat, where she retired with breathing difficulties and dizziness when trailing Ajla Tomljanovic 4-6, 0-3, hasn’t fazed her.
Emma’s incredible performances in New York and at the SW19 tournament have seen her go from 366th in the world rankings to the top 80, increased her Instagram following to a staggering 609,000, and secured her first Vogue photoshoot, which appears in next month’s issue.
As such, her brand appeal is only growing, with Nick noting: ‘Emma will become a household name not only in the UK but in the USA and worldwide, which is a real game-changer.’
He added: ‘At only 18 she is now going to sky rocket both in the sports world but also as a celebrity. She now has the star power of crossover athletes like Serena Williams and Andy Murray.
‘She will have brands throwing themselves at her and it’s now time for her to carefully decide which offers can be the most lucrative, brand appropriate, age appropriate and have the most longevity.
‘If a top fashion or cosmetics brand is looking to appeal to a younger demographic then she is the perfect choice to bring new fans. I don’t see her working with fast fashion but more established companies who have strong brand identity.
‘At her age she will no doubt be conscious of the environment so brands like Stella McCartney’s and Victoria Beckham’s would be a perfect choice.’
Nick continued: ‘I definitely see her walking the red carpet at the Met Gala and winning the Sports Personality of the Year Award.’
Thanks to her triumphs so far, which has seen her become the first ever qualifier into a Grand Slam final, Emma’s (pictured with Andy Murray) already secured a cheque for a minimum of $1.25million (£900,000) – but popular culture and brand expert Nick Ede insists that’s just the start of Emma’s glittering success
Emma attends the Andy Murray: Resurfacing world premiere at the Curzon Bloomsbury on November 25, 2019, in London, England
Meanwhile, Chris Southgate, Managing Director at CHS marketing agency, suggested Emma’s Vogue shoot could be the start of her transforming her brand from ‘sport icon’ into ‘celebrity’.
Chris said: ‘Her tremendous performance, both at Wimbledon and now the US open, means that she has the opportunity to become the next big celebrity tennis player – as well as a role model for all British sport.
Emma has secured her first Vogue photoshoot. See the full feature in the October issue of British Vogue available via digital download and on newsstands Friday September 10
‘No matter which [brand] direction she decides to embark on, the one safe bet is that she’s already well on her way to becoming a national treasure both on and off the court.’
Kubi Springer, brand expert and founder of www.shebuildsbrands.com, also claimed Emma will be the next ‘Serena Williams’.
‘Based on her Vogue piece, Emma would work well with young, up-and-coming designers and eco-friendly beauty brands. I also see her doing partnerships with tech firms, and new sports and tech apps.
‘…These deals could culminate in a million plus net worth. We will definitely see her on more red carpets, and this will increase her brand appeal.’
Last month Emma said the SW19 tournament was ‘an extremely positive experience’ from which she ‘learnt so much just about my game, and what it takes to perform at the top. It’s definitely shown me how much work I need to do physically.’
Emma won an army of fans at Wimbledon, admitting in her charmingly humble post-match interview on court that she never expected to make the second week. After her first round victory she gained 30,000 followers on Instagram, and her second win left her with 153,000.
Emma was left in a state of disbelief and ecstasy after she produced a stunning performance to reach the US Open final
Emma (pictured) won an army of fans at Wimbledon, admitting in her charmingly humble post-match interview on court that she never expected to make the second week
Raducanu pictured as a toddler; she moved with parents Ian and Renee to England in 2004
She’s impressive off the court too – last month she celebrated receiving an A* in Maths and an A in Economics in her A-Level results, having put her tennis career on hold during the pandemic to concentrate on her studies.
Raducanu said on court after her most recent victory: ‘Honestly the time here in New York has gone so fast. I’ve just been taking care of each day and three weeks later I’m in final. I can’t actually believe it.
‘Today I wasn’t thinking about anyone else except for myself. While I have the moment I want to thank my team and the LTA and everyone at home for all their support.
‘Since I’ve been here from the first round of the quallies I’ve had unbelievable support.’ As for her chances in the final? ‘Is there any expectation? I’m a qualifier so technically there’s no pressure on me,’ she added.
Born in Canada to a Romanian father and a Chinese mother, Emma moved to Britain at the age of two and grew up in London.
Born in Canada to a Romanian father and a Chinese mother, Emma moved to Britain at the age of two and grew up in London
Emma’s mother Reneeseen cheering and applauding her daughter in the crowd during her match on day 6 of Wimbledon in July
She first picked up a racket aged five and played at Bromley Tennis Academy from the age of 10.
During lockdown, she could be seen knocking tennis balls back and forth to her dad in the quiet cul-de-sac where the family live.
On her Instagram page, the rising star references her global roots listing London, where she lives now, Toronto, where she was born and the two cities where her parents are from Bucharest in Romania and Shenyang in China.
Her dual heritage remains important to her and she’s spoken fondly of relatives across the globe, saying: ‘My grandma, Mamiya, still lives in central Bucharest. I go back a couple times a year, stay with her, 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.’
Off court, the teenager speaks Mandarin and is a fan of Taiwanese television shows. Her dual heritage remains important to her and she’s spoken fondly of relatives across the globe
Emma attended Newstead School in Orpington, Kent, where she was described as a ‘model pupil’ by her teachers at the selective girls’ grammar school. She achieved three 9s and four 8s in her GCSEs.
Headteacher Alan Blount said: ‘From year 7 she was hardworking, diligent, and actually you wouldn’t have known that she was a blossoming tennis superstar alongside it.
‘Her parents have been behind her the whole way with tennis and with school and they’ve made sure that the focus on schooling didn’t drop.’
He added that her mother, Renee, and father, Ian, are always ‘supportive and completely in the zone’ at parents’ evenings.
‘They know the importance of education,’ he said. ‘They’re looking to make sure that Emma is achieving in all areas of her life, that’s the school and the sport, and that she’s also reading books and taking part in extracurricular [activities] at school. She is an absolute all-rounder.
Emma attended selective girls’ grammar school Newstead School in Orpington, Kent, where she was described as a ‘model pupil’ by her teachers. She achieved three 9s and four 8s in her GCSEs
‘She’s calm and level-headed in school and humble in that she’s out performing in these tournaments and then she’ll come back to school and be sat alongside her peers again and carry on and you just wouldn’t know that maybe last week she was in France.’
Emma’s maths teacher Sarah Sword, 48, who emailed her after her victory against Sorana Cirstea at Wimbledon, said: ‘She’s a really talented mathematician, she’s a really talented student. She’s very active in class in terms of participating in the lessons, asking questions, answering questions – and she has a very sharp mind. She is going to do brilliantly in her exams. There’s no doubt in my mind.
‘She has managed this amazing balance between her studies and pursuing her passion for tennis. She’s simply lovely.’
The rising star is coached by Murray’s father-in-law Nigel Sears, who said she was ‘born to play tennis’, adding: ‘I knew she was exceptional the first time I saw her.’
Champ in the making: Emma competing in a junior competition in France, left, and on her way to victory at Wimbledon on day 6
Emma, pictured with her team in a snap shared from New York, captioned: ‘Team!! We’re in the last eight of @USOpen’
‘It has not taken long for Emma Raducanu to show that Wimbledon was no one-off, and that she is the real thing,’ Boris Becker said recently.
‘She is someone with charisma who carries herself so impressively, and most importantly she looks like she is enjoying herself.’
And 2013 Wimbledon Champion Marion Bartoli told Pickswise that Emma is ‘very refreshing for the sport’.
‘It’s great for the UK especially to have some young and talented players coming through because it hasn’t been the case for quite a while,’ she added. ‘Emma has the potential to break into the top 20 and even further. This is very exciting for British tennis.’