LONDON – The cheers from the enthusiastic British began to roll the moment Emma Raducanu dropped her bat to win after beating Canadian Leylah Fernandez at the US Open over the weekend.
Queen Elizabeth the second, Other sports stars and politicians joined the chorus of congratulations when Raducanu, 18, became the first British woman to win the US Open since 1968 on Saturday.
Your fairy tale has been repeated countless times.
How she reached a Grand Slam final within a few months from high school with top marks to the first qualifier in the professional era. And how she was born in Toronto, Canada to a Romanian father and a Chinese mother, moved to the UK at the age of 2 and started playing tennis at the age of 5.
But it wasn’t total love, and its victory highlighted Britain’s intricate relationship with diversity and immigration. Raducanu herself points out her global upbringing and background on Twitter and Instagram, where her biography doesn’t mention tennis and instead “london | Toronto | Bucharest | Shenyang. “
London Mayor Sadiq Khan quickly tweeted after her victory that Raducanu’s “history is London’s history”.
“We welcome and celebrate our diversity. And if you work hard and get a helping hand, you can achieve anything. ” he wrote on the social media platform.
London is the most diverse city in Britain and one of the most diverse in Europe. White Brits made up only 44.9 percent of the city’s population, according to government figures in the latest 2011 census, compared to more than 93 percent of the population in north-east England.
The admiration came from all corners of the political spectrum.
Right-wing and anti-immigrant politician Nigel Farage was quickly criticized after he tweeted that she was a “global megastar” and said her win was “really incredible”. Farage warns against immigrants, especially from Romania, coming to the UK
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Before the UK left the European Union and shortly before a change in the rules that allowed Bulgarian and Romanian citizens to live and work in the UK: a YouGov survey showed that the British were more concerned about an influx of immigrants than their French or German counterparts.
It’s a feeling that Jonathan Eyal, international director of UK defense and security think tank Royal United Services Institute, mocked in a post on Twitter after Raducanu’s victory.
“All these Romanian and Chinese migrants who come here and take our jobs away”, he tweeted.
UK diversity often encounters discrimination and racial abuse in real life and on social media.
More recently, following the European Championship final in July, three black players who missed their penalties have been exposed to a barrage of racial abuse on social media. That then led to a flurry of support for players on social media and in real life.
Raducanu’s background leads some immigrants to the UK, like Cambridge Councilor Alexandra Bulat, not only to celebrate their success, but to warn others not to get attached to it.
“Migrant people don’t need massive success stories to be accepted and have rights in the UK,” said Bulat, who moved to the UK from Romania nine years ago, in an email to NBC News. “To be British is a multicultural, multiethnic identity for many people. Emma and each of us have more to offer than our ethnic heritage. “
For her part, Raducanu is committed to both her British nationality and her international background. After her victory, she posted a photo of her holding both her trophy and a British flag. And in interviews she often talks about her parents and the countries in which they were born.
In the past, she has cited Chinese tennis star Li Na and Romanian player Simona Halep as inspiration for her own game, and after the tennis final, she addressed fans in a short video on the official US Open account on Weibo. a popular social media platform in China.
Britain wasn’t the only place where people rushed to claim the tennis star. In China, the hashtag “18-year-old ethnic Chinese young player wins US Open Championship” was viewed 200 million times on the Weibo platform, and social media users said they were proud of Raducanu because of its Chinese origins.
Jennifer Jett and Sophia Wang contributed.