If elite sport didn’t invigorate and inspire the next generations, then, really, what would be the point? Sport needs inspiring role models, to continue the cycle and inspire new generations. In the shape of the new US Open champion Emma Raducanu, British tennis – out of nowhere – has its dream athlete.
WE NEED TO INCREASE FEMALE RETENTION IN SPORT
Aged just 18, the girl from Bromley is already an iconic figure, a national treasure just of out school. She has transcended tennis, and sport, in ways that no other woman has for at least a generation, since arguably Venus and Serena Williams.
While tennis is one of the few major sports to have elevated female athletes to the same heights as men, its reputation for being elitist still pervades in some quarters. Having relatable role models in sport is vital, particularly for female retention. By the age of 14, girls drop out of sports at twice the rate of boys, according to the Women’s Sports Foundation. In Raducanu, young sporting women and girls have been gifted an ideal role model – and a reason to keep going.
HELPING BREAK DOWN STIGMAS AROUND ANXIETY AND MENTAL HEALTH
Raducanu’s triumphs and propensity to inspire are multi-faceted. Her meteoric rise to the top has not only seen her win accolades for her breathtaking tennis – supreme, clean and brutal ball-striking combined with a fearless aggression and never-say-die spirit – but she has opened up spaces and attitudes around mental health and performance anxiety.
After the last 18 months, living with a global pandemic, it’s crucial that we continue to break down stigmas around these issues, and Raducanu’s forthright honesty and openness helps build a platform for others to have conversations that are difficult to begin.
She suggested her retirement during a fourth-round match at Wimbledon against Ajla Tomljanovic due to breathing difficulties was a fitness issue, but believes that adversity was an important step in her rise to the top.
I took away that it was for me more of a physical issue. To win a Grand Slam you need a lot of mental strength so I think the resilience part of it sort of speaks for itself. I needed to go through all of that to win a Slam. Physically I’ve still got a lot of work to do because I’m still new to the game and haven’t had time to really develop. On tour for the last four or five weeks I think naturally with each match and tournament I’ve played I’ve just increased my endurance a bit. EMMA RADUCANU
INSPIRING YOUNGSTERS TO TAKE UP TENNIS
Tennis clubs nationwide – worldwide even – will be abuzz with talk of Emma Raducanu. The most striking images we see from our affiliated tennis clubs are pictures of very young kids, with racquets almost bigger than themselves, beaming after a game, or whacking the ball over the net with smiles etched into their faces. Those smiles will be that bit wider this week.
As well as our pride in supplying on and off court tennis kit to a number of clubs in the UK – including Cromer Lawn Tennis & Squash Club and The Albert Bowling & Tennis Club – everyone at KUDOS is also extremely proud that around half of the kit we dispatch goes to women. We are determined to continue championing women’s sport, and winners like Emma Raducanu simply serve to make championing women’s sport even easier.
Three months ago Emma Raducanu sat her A-levels – and, naturally, passed with flying colours. Back in January, during the latest lockdown and when she was just a regular, unknown schoolgirl dreaming big, Emma tweeted asking if anyone knew whether or not A-levels were still going ahead. And that right there is a large part of her appeal – she feels like she is someone we could all know, someone we could all have been, and for younger people, someone they could all be.
Smart, engaging, unflappable – and a breathtakingly good tennis player – Emma Raducanu has the world at her feet, and at 18 finds herself as a role model for so many women and girls. Her stunning displays in New York have gifted the sport’s governing bodies an opportunity to get more kids involved in tennis. And her win can help change attitudes towards women and girls in sport, showing they belong as much as men and boys do and, with a bit of luck, finally putting to bed that tedious old insult about ‘playing sport like a girl’.
KUDOS SPORTS – A LEADING SUPPLIER OF CUSTOM TEAMWEAR
KUDOS supplies made-to-order teamwear to a range of sports clubs across the globe. We supply bespoke custom kit that is built for performance and worn with pride. Use our one minute kit designer to design your kit today.