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Emma Raducanu thanks fans in Mandarin, shows pride in heritage

The U.S. Open champion credits her Chinese background with helping her boost her self-confidence.
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Britain’s Emma Raducanu, who surprised the world with her U.S. Open win, is sharing her excitement with a special message in Mandarin.

After her historic victory, the teenage champion took to the U.S. Open’s Weibo account to thank her Chinese-speaking fans.

“Hi everyone, I want to say thank you, I hope you enjoy watching my tennis,” she said in Mandarin. “I am very happy now, but we won the game! Goodbye, I love you.”

Raducanu, 18, went from qualifier to champion after she won the women’s singles final at the U.S. Open in New York on Saturday. Born in Canada to a Chinese mother and Romanian father, she beat Canada's Leylah Fernandez, 19, who is Filipina and Ecuadorian.

Raducanu won the first set, 6-4, and the second set, 6-3, making her the first British woman to win the U.S. Open since 1968 and the youngest grand slam winner since Maria Sharapova won Wimbledon at age 17 in 2004.

Raducanu's victory trended on the Chinese social media platform Weibo. Her Mandarin message was viewed more than a million times, while one hashtag, "18-year-old ethnic Chinese young player wins US open championship," was viewed more than 200 million times as of Monday. And although Raducanu's Weibo account was only recently opened and has not yet been active, fan accounts and groups have already begun to form.

Some social media users in China say they're proud of Raducanu because of her Chinese heritage and noted that she spoke Mandarin with a northeastern accent. Others say her success had nothing to do with China since she is a British citizen.

Raducanu shared with British Vogue how she credits her heritage with boosting her self-confidence.

“My mum comes from a Chinese background. They have very good self-belief. It’s not necessarily about telling everyone how good you are, but it’s about believing it within yourself. I really respect that about the culture,” she said.

Her mother has also influenced her expectations, Raducanu said at a Wimbledon news conference in July.

"She's always instilled a lot of discipline and respect for other people into me, so I think that having parents like I do, they always push me, they have high expectations so I've always tried to live up to that. And I just hope I did them proud this week and I'm going to keep trying to go, keep going."

She also said how it's a "really such a coincidence" that her two favorite players, whom she models her game after, are former Chinese player Li Na and Romanian's Simona Halep.

"It’s definitely helped me, the mentality that both of them bring," she said. "I mean they both come from very hard-working countries."

Raducanu also recently said on NBC's "TODAY" show that she didn't believe she'd last in the U.S. Open, thinking she'd be going home a week after qualifying.

"Then three weeks later, the time has flown and I was holding the trophy at the end. But yeah, it was the best time of my life here," she said.

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