Emma Raducanu

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Social media users in China are celebrating British tennis star Emma Raducanu – not just for her historic US Open win, but her Chinese heritage.

Raducanu was born in Canada to a Romanian father and Chinese mother, before moving to London aged two.

Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu

Many on Chinese site Weibo praised the 18-year-old, calling her a “Dongbei girl” – a reference to her mother’s ancestral home.

A video of her thanking her fans in Mandarin also went viral.

“She speaks just like a ‘Dong Bei (north-east Chinese) girl’. How amazing!” a Weibo comment read.

Raducanu has previously spoken openly about her mixed heritage in previous interviews, something Chinese netizens have taken pride in.

“She said she visits China regularly, and that one of her idols is Li Na. I’m so moved,” a Weibo user wrote, referencing a celebrated former Chinese tennis player.

Others likened her in looks to a Taiwanese pop star. “We must support the Rainie Yang of the tennis court,” another person said.

But some users chose to keep some distance: “She’s British – why are all of you now trying to claim her as your own?”

In interviews, Raducanu has paid tribute to her mum and that side of the family.

“They are so mentally resilient – it’s like nothing can bring them down. I would say I take a big part of my inspiration from her. My mum has worked very hard,” she said, adding that she learned about discipline and respect for other people from her.

The teenager, who visits her mother’s ancestral home of Shenyang during the holidays, has also said that she loves nothing more than binge-watching Taiwanese television shows.

On Saturday, Raducanu beat Canadian teen Leylah Fernandez in straight-sets at the US Open to become the first British woman in 44 years to win a Grand Slam final.

Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu

Given how Fernandez is also of mixed heritage – her father is Ecuadorian and mother Filipino – social media users in the Philippines were equally intrigued and expressed their pride.

One said on Facebook: “Nice to see the Philippines finally get someone in the tennis world to cheer for.”

While she has confessed in an interview to not knowing much about the Filipino culture, she said she loves Filipino cuisine.

“I don’t know much about the Filipino culture but I do know that my Lolo (grandfather) – he cooks amazing, so when I get back to Canada in Toronto when I visit, he’s gonna make really nice food, especially Filipino dishes because I do miss it,” she said in a post-game interview.

Her father and coach Jorge, a former footballer, also told reporters: “I truly appreciate the Filipino community backing up Leylah. She’s got Filipino blood in her. It’s so beautiful.”

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