Business Lessons from Emma Raducanu
This week we celebrate the incredible achievement of British tennis player Emma Raducanu.
Last weekend she won the US Open, her first Grand Slam tennis tournament. For an 18-year-old competing against some of the world’s best tennis players, it was an extraordinary achievement.
In winning in New York on Saturday evening, amongst other things, she replaced Johanna Konta as the British female number one. In addition, she became the youngest winner of a Grand Slam tournament since Maria Sharapova won Wimbledon in 2004.
But perhaps even more impressively, she is the first player ever – man or woman – to get through three qualifying rounds of a Grand Slam tournament before winning the entire tournament. All without dropping a single set.
Her natural talent and sheer determination have put her in the headlines as a remarkable young sports star destined for greatness, however until Wimbledon 2021 no one had really heard of Emma Raducanu.
But at Wimbledon this year she burst on to the tennis scene with some great performances, whilst wowing spectators at the same time. Equally well documented was her retirement during her fourth-round match due to medical reasons. At the time with the full glare of publicity upon her, she was heavily criticised, with the media in particular declaring that she was simply not up to the job of winning a Grand Slam event.
Despite her critics, Emma remained calm and down to earth, facing her critics head on by acknowledging the issues but also declaring it a true learning experience.
Although Emma was unknown to many before this year, she has been involved in tennis for many years, having played in tennis tournaments from the age of 8 years old. Sometimes she won and sometimes she didn’t, but all the time she was learning her trade, developing her skills and working hard under the supervision of her coaches and trainers.
Until this summer, when she burst onto the tennis scene at Wimbledon, then following it up with her incredible victory in the US Open last weekend. She was an overnight success. Except she wasn’t.
As Richard Branson said: “There is no such thing as a quick win. It takes years to become an overnight success”.
In Emma’s case it took at least 10 years of hard work, dedication and determination before she saw the big payoff.
As business owners, what can we learn from Emma Raducanu’s success at the US Open? There are several things we could learn from this remarkable young woman. Here’s some of them:
- Overcome adversity – Emma took a lot of stick when she withdrew from Wimbledon in the summer. But she was honest about what had happened, that the occasion and the publicity had simply became too much for her. But she faced it head on, learnt form the experience, and importantly kept going.
- Dedication and focus – Emma has been dedicated for years and you can see her focus when she is on court. She knows exactly what she wants, she knows exactly how she can achieve it – then she goes for it.
- Work hard – any successful sports person will tell you about the hard work and the sacrifices they make to succeed. To ensure success, they are simply prepared to do the things others aren’t in terms of hard work. Emma has bags of natural talent, but ultimately it is hard work that is key.
- Be ready when success comes – Benjamin Disraeli said the “secret of success was to be ready when your opportunity comes long”. For years, Emma had prepared, she’d worked hard, she had remained focused. And when opportunity came along last weekend, she grabbed her success with both hands.
Overcome adversity, have focus, be dedicated, work hard, and be ready when success comes along. Important lessons all business owners can learn from the world of tennis.
Congratulations Emma Raducanu, we salute you.