Emma Raducanu's nan questioned whether she should quit after Wimbledon retirement

Emma Raducanu’s grandmother wanted the US Open champion to quit tennis after watching her struggle to breathe at Wimbledon. Raducanu reached the fourth round of the SW19 championships – her maiden Grand Slam appearance – but her fairytale run ended when she suffered from breathing difficulties in the second set against Ajla Tomljanovic and was forced to retire.

Names such as John McEnroe criticised the teenager for lacking the fortitude needed to survive in sport, but Niculina Raducanu was only focused on Emma’s health.

Known to Emma as ‘Mamiya’ – a Romanian term for grandma – Niculina is aware of the dedication and sacrifices the 18-year-old has had to make to become a Grand Slam champion.

After she forfeited the last-16 clash at Wimbledon in July, Niculina asked Emma’s parents if the budding star should continue with the sport.

“I asked her parents if she should quit tennis,” the 88-year-old told MailOnline. “Because what if something should happen to Emma?

JUST IN: Emma Raducanu makes surprising admission despite £1.8m US Open win

© GETTY Raducanu

“Her health is more important [than wealth or fame].

“The court she played on that day had a roof over it because it was raining, and she felt she couldn’t breathe.”

Niculina is undoubtedly delighted that her advice was not adhered to after Emma dramatically won the US Open, becoming the first qualifier in the sport’s history to triumph in a Grand Slam.

Niculina admitted she could not watch her granddaughter compete in the final due to nerves.


Queen ‘definitely up watching’ Emma Raducanu win: ‘Didn’t wait’

Emma Raducanu ‘can’t get tennis court’ after US Open win

Emma Raducanu says ‘something was off’ before US Open win

© EXPRESS Raducanu

“The night she won the US Open, I couldn’t watch because my heart couldn’t take it,” she revealed. “I said to myself: ‘This match is going to be a really tough one,’ so I decided not to watch it.

“I only found out the news the next day, and I was delighted she was strong and healthy, and that her mind was healthy also – especially after what happened the last time [at Wimbledon].

“When I talked to my son, I was happy for him. He would have been so disappointed if she’d have lost after all the work and resources they’d put into this.”

Niculina admitted that while she is immensely proud of her granddaughter’s achievement, she is yet to tell anyone that she is the grandmother of a Grand Slam champion as she is modest.

© GETTY Raducanu

She taught Emma to be kind, polite and nice to others while speaking well and these values have been clear for all to see as the tennis superstar has adapted brilliantly to her newfound fame.

Emma impressed on Good Morning America and dazzled at the exclusive Met Gala, but her ‘Mamiya’ Niculina simply hopes her granddaughter can remain stress-free and healthy throughout her burgeoning tennis career.

The win in just her second Grand Slam sent Raducanu flying up the world rankings to number 23, becoming British number one in the process.

Raducanu’s next Grand Slam appearance will come at the Australian Open in January 2022.

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