Interest soars at city tennis clubs after Raducanu triumph
- Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021
Emma Raducanu's US Open victory has had a huge impact on Norwich tennis clubs with a surge in bookings following the match.
The 18-year-old became the only qualifier, and first British woman for 44 years, to win a Grand Slam singles title as she defeated Leylah Fernandez in New York.
And the full impact of the surprise success is being felt across the city with Norwich Parks Tennis seeing 70 members sign up in the 24 hours after Raducanu's feat.
"We would normally see 70 sign-ups in a month so we are all a bit bamboozled," said club director Chris Evans.
"It's arguably the greatest sporting achievement of all time. I think there definitely will be a massive knock-on effect.
"We have already had three local schools contact us asking if we would like to come in for sessions.
"There will be a tremendous boost and she is a real role model for young girls."
Mr Evans recalled Raducanu being defeated by a Norfolk player three-months-ago before the teenage sensation got a wildcard to play at Wimbledon in the summer.
"I can't even explain it," Mr Evans said.
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"To consider there are thousands of aspiring players like that but only one freak of nature who could turn up on that world stage. Nobody could see this coming.
"It's like an absolute dream. People within tennis can't believe it. None of us had really heard of Raducanu before Wimbledon.
"It's like a non-league football team winning the Champions League."
EA Tennis has multiple venues across the city including Eaton Park, Waterloo Park and the Sportspark at the University of East Anglia.
Another city tennis club benefitting from the weekend is Easton Tennis Centre which is based at Easton College with eight indoor courts and four clay courts.
Matt Breese, head of commercial operations at the club, said: "The phone has been warm with people ringing up and seeing what we have, as well as coming and getting involved with what we do.
"What an opportunity this is for the sport to grab hold of when trying to get young girls interested in picking up a racket."