The new US Open champion honed her skills in activities from ballet to go-karting before concentrating on tennis

At Wimbledon two months ago, as Emma Raducanu was starting her dizzying ascent towards the higher echelons of women’s tennis, I asked one of her coaches at the Lawn Tennis Association, Matt James, about the factors that had helped her talent emerge. Surprisingly, he didn’t begin with her exemplary attitude, intelligence, or work ethic – that came later – but something else entirely.

“From my perspective one of the best things with Emma is that she was exposed to a lot of sports from a young age, and didn’t go too specific into tennis straight away,” he replied. “I see that on court. When she’s learning a new skill, or trying something a little bit different, she has the ability and coordination to pick things up very quickly, even if it’s quite a big technical change.”

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