THE EVENTS and tournament director at West Hants Tennis Club has praised US Open winner Emma Raducanu, having watched her play in Bournemouth at a young age.

The 18-year-old became the first British woman to win a Grand Slam singles title in 44 years when she beat Leylah Fernandez in the final on Saturday, September 11.

Just five years ago, the current British number one, who was 13 at the time, was featuring in the ITF under 18’s competition of the Nike Junior International at the tennis club in Roslin Road South, playing opponents five years older than her.

Sports manager Sasha Wood said: “I remember watching that tournament. She got through to the final as an unranked player where she played another Brit, Hannah Mccolgan, who was also unranked.

“I was very impressed with her, especially as she was so young and playing up two age groups.

“She was so talented even at that age.”

Raducanu lost the final 7-6, 4-6, 6-2, but showed real promise and flashes of brilliance all the way back in July 2016.

Bournemouth Echo: Emma Raducanu, pictured here with the event sponsor Alec McQuin from Rokill Rocare Group, who got to the final of the girls u18 ITF event played at West Hants Tennis Club in 2016 as part of the Nike Junior International Tour

Ms Wood said: “So, the final was very close, and you could tell there and then that she had something special and that she was going to go on to do amazing things.

“I was sat with the event sponsor Alec McQuin from Rokill Rocare Group, and I remember being sat on court one and thinking this girl is going places.”

Following Raducanu’s US Open success, Ms Wood said there had been a “buzz” around the club, with a resurgence in players wanting to take to the courts.

Bournemouth Echo: Great Britain\'s Emma Raducanu in action during the women\'s singles final on day twelve of the US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, Flushing Meadows- Corona Park, New York. Picture date: Saturday September 11, 2021.

“There must have been millions of people watching and it is good that Channel 4 had it on with no adverts,” she said. “You could see that she was drinking it in, encouraging the crowd and just having fun on the court.

“The crowd had a lot of affiliation to Fernandez as she is Canadian, so Emma was a bit of an underdog, but she did seem to relish that.

“Certainly, all the members have come back out onto the courts since the final and we hope it does encourage people to take up the sport.”

The club has set up an academy with Talbot Heath School to provide a gateway for girls into the sport and the opportunity to train with qualified coaches using high quality facilities.

British junior number one Jack Pinnington Jones, from Bournemouth, who has previously trained at West Hants Tennis Club, signed for Andy Murray’s 77 Sports Management in May, while former Talbot Heath student Erin Richardson is developing strongly overseas in California.

Bournemouth Echo:

The club hopes that Raducanu’s maiden Grand Slam will help to encourage other people to take up the sport.


“We just want to see more kids on the courts,” said Ms Wood.

“If that final was inspiring for any child or adult, then pick up a racket and head out to one of the park courts. You can get a membership for your household for £36 for a whole year.

“You can download an app and book a court and then you’re ready to go.

“We have coaching sessions going on at a lot of courts in the area, and a team of coaches head out top some of the schools in the area to run lunchtime sessions.”