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Teenage tennis player Emma Raducanu has proved that prioritising your mental health will pay off.
Raducanu made history on Friday, September 10, after becoming the first British woman to reach a major tennis final in more than four decades.
She then proceeded to make history again yesterday, September 11, by taking home the Grand Slam title. Raducanu is now the first qualifier in the Open era to win a Slam; the youngest Briton to win a Grand Slam title; and the youngest women’s Slam champion since Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon in 2004, according to BBC Sport.
The 18-year-old has been beating her opponents for months now, despite ranking lower almost all of them.
She was ranked as 150th in the world, according to Sky News, while her opponent in Friday’s game, Maria Sakkari, ranked 12th.
Now, following her US Open win, the 18-year-old has jumped all the way to 23rd place.
The up-and-coming tennis star said after Friday’s match:
In moments like this you definitely can’t get ahead of yourself and you need stay present.
The time in New York has gone so quickly, I’ve been taking care of each day and three weeks later I’m in the final. I actually can’t believe it.
Raducanu also made sports history at this year’s Wimbledon tournament, where she became the youngest British woman in 42 years to reach the fourth round.
Despite her success, Raducanu was forced to withdraw from the competition after experiencing breathing difficulties during a game.
Witnesses of the tennis match said it was physically clear that the young professional was struggling to breathe and, after consulting with her trainer and doctor, she was deemed unfit to continue.
She later said the difficulties she faced were a result of things that had gone on that week and the ‘buzz’ that came with competing at Wimbledon. The teenager then branded it a ‘learning experience’.
While the likes of Piers Morgan criticised Raducanu for pulling out, the majority of people online shared their messages of support – something which she later thanked them for.
Addressing her Wimbledon experience, she wrote on Twitter the day after the match:
I wanted to let everyone know that I am feeling much better this morning. […] I was playing the best tennis of my life in front of an amazing crowd this week and I think the whole experience caught up with me. At the end of the first set, after some super intense rallies, I started to breathe heavily and felt dizzy.
The medical team advised me not to continue and although it felt like the hardest thing in the word to not be able to continue my Wimbledon on the court, I was not well enough to carry on.
Raducanu went on the promise that she would ‘come back stronger’, and yesterday’s achievement shows just that.
She joins the likes of fellow tennis player Naomi Osaka and gymnast Simone Biles in prioritising her mental health to later come back fighting.
The mind needs time to rest and heal, the same way a broken ankle would. However, everyone heals at different rates, and in different ways. Biles, Osaka and Raducanu are perfect examples of that.
If you’re experiencing distressing thoughts and feelings, the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is there to support you. They’re open from 5pm–midnight, 365 days a year. Their national number is 0800 58 58 58 and they also have a webchat service if you’re not comfortable talking on the phone
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