Emma Raducanu given heartwarming welcome on arrival in Austria for final 2021 tournament

Queen stayed up late to watch Emma Raducanu win says Levin

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It was a warm welcome in ice-cold conditions for Emma Raducanu as she arrived for the Upper Austria Ladies Linz tournament. The event will be the last of an incredible breakthrough season for the teenage star, who in September became the first qualifier in history to capture a Grand Slam by winning the US Open.

That followed a run to the last last 16 of Wimbledon in July, although remarkably it wasn’t until last week’s Transylvania Open that she registered her first WTA Tour win as she embarked on a run to the quarter-finals in Romania.

And now the British no 1 is bidding to round off 2021 in style, and is the the top seed in Linz despite the presence in the draw of of two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep.

Raducanu, 18, has a bye in the first round and is due to play her first match on Tuesday, where she’ll face the winner of a match between two qualifiers.

She may need the extra time to acclimatise however, after flying to Austria with her mum, Renee, and IMG agent Chris Helliar. The star is still travelling without a coach though after parting company with Andrew Richardson following her success at Flushing Meadows.

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The official tournament Twitter account, @WTALinz, posted pictures of Raducanu arriving, and she was certainly suitably dressed in a thick white coat and a wooly hat.

“Emma arriving in style! It‘s freezing in Austria,” read the tweet, along with images of Raducanu getting into a Porsche and being presented with flowers and a banner which read #WTALinz.

Her clothing choices went down well with tennis fans, @roddickrambling saying “I love her hat,” while @Emmagoatcanu added “Emma’s looking ridiculously cute in her bobble hat and puffy jacket.”

Raducanu’s remarkable rise this year has been reflected by her shooting up the world rankings. She made her Grand Slam debut at Wimbledon earlier this year, receiving a last-minute wildcard while ranked down at world No 338.

She arrived in New York in September outside the world’s top 150, but victory over fellow teenager Leylah Fernandez in the final left her inside the top 30.

She’s currently ranked no 21 ahead of the event in Linz, but knows a good run in Austria will move her into the top 20 for the first time in her career.

Her next goal after this event will be the Australian Open in Melbourne in January, which remarkably would represent just a third Grand Slam appearance.

On Thursday, her exploits this year were further recognised when she was given the honour of receiving an invitation to join the All England Club, without needing a Wimbledon title win. 

The 18-year-old will join the likes of former champions like Andy Murray, Serena Williams and Roger Federer as a member of the club that acts as the venue for Wimbledon each year.

She is also the bookies’ favourite to be crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year in December.

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