If you woke up this morning surprised to see the headline ‘Emma Raducanu through to the US Open semi-final’ then chances are the headline above here is even more surprising.
Yes, Britain’s newest and most exciting tennis – née sporting – superstar was actually on a path to motorsport stardom instead before she changed tact to focus on the sport that has made her a household name in barely a few days.
It’s been a remarkable couple of months for the 18-year old, who after some impressive junior performances was given her big break with an entry into the Wimbledon main draw, where she subsequently powered onto the front page of the papers with a shock run to the fourth round.
However, she has gone above and beyond at the very next Grand Slam in New York, winning three qualifying matches to reach the main draw before surging into the semi-finals and swatting aside 17th seed Maria Sakaari and become only the fourth British woman to reach a Grand Slam final.
And all this after not losing a single set in only her second – repeat, her SECOND – ever Grand Slam outing.
Naturally, the media frenzy around Raducanu is discovering all about the teenager – born to Romanian and Chinese parents – with one of the most unexpected aspects being her passion for motorsport and how it was very nearly the direction she took for her career.
“I was racing go-karts for a year or two when I was younger – about eight – and then at 10 I transitioned into motocross,” she told Amazon Prime in an interview this week.
“I’m into motor sports but I couldn’t carry on with it as my tennis career progressed. It turned out pretty well.”
A little digging in her social media channels throws up this brilliant photo of her on her Kawasaki.
Having started Wimbledon ranked 336 in the world, she will end this week having skyrocketed to 31 in the world even if she loses to Layla Fernandez – another teenage upstart on an incredible run – in Saturday’s final.
Motorsport’s loss was definitely tennis’ gain!