Neighbour recalls watching tennis star Emma Raducanu practising in the street

A neighbour of Emma Raducanu’s family spoke of her pride at the teenager’s rise to stardom as she recalled watching her practising in the street during the pandemic.

Christine Whatling, 81, who lives in the same road as the family in Bromley, south-east London, said she believes the 18-year-old “will go far”.

“We’ve seen her playing tennis out there (in the street), especially during Covid, but we were a bit worried because the way she was whacking the ball… we were thinking ‘Somebody’s windows are going to go in a minute!’ or that it’s going to hit somebody’s car,” she told the PA news agency.

“Obviously since all this has happened we’re quite proud of her, really proud of her.

“I think she will go far, to be honest. I have actually watched her and she’s good, really good.

“We’re really excited because it’s the first time we’ve had somebody like that from here.”

The Duchess of Cambridge was also among those to congratulate Raducanu, who made history by becoming the first qualifier to reach a grand slam final.

Kate, a keen tennis fan and patron of the All England Lawn Tennis Club, wished the teenager “the best of luck” ahead of her bid to win the US Open on Saturday.

Her message, sent through the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s official Twitter account, said: “What an incredible achievement at this year’s #USOpen @EmmaRaducanu!”

Including a fingers-crossed emoji, it continued: “We will all be rooting for you tomorrow”, adding: “Wishing you the best of luck!”

The tweet was signed off “C”, the initial of the duchess’s full name, Catherine.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson also joined in the praise of the young tennis player on Twitter.

He tweeted: “Well done @EmmaRaducanu for a brilliant win at the #USOpen. The whole country will be cheering you on in the final.”