Ahead of her first appearance in Stuttgart’s Porsche Arena, the 19-year-old Briton speaks in an interview about how much she is looking forward to the tournament and about her love of Porsche and motorsport, and what it feels like to be a Porsche Brand Ambassador.
Emma, you’ve already been to Germany a number of times. What things can you remember?
Emma Raducanu: “I can still remember I splashed around in the fountains in front of Cologne Cathedral. We were visiting the Rhine and Moselle Valley. Later I won a junior event in Duren and then a tournament in Hamburg in 2017. So, I have some good memories in Germany.”
You will be making your debut at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. How much are you looking forward to it?
Raducanu: “I am excited to play my first ever WTA tournament on clay. It’s nice that it’s the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. I’ve been following the event since I was young and for me it was always the tournament where the winner gets a Porsche. It was unique and it has stayed on my mind. Since being on the Tour, I have heard so many good things about the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. I know it’s one of the most popular tournaments on the calendar which is no wonder – who doesn’t want to win a Porsche?”
With nine Top 10 players, the tournament has an extremely strong field. To what extent does such strong competition motivate you?
Raducanu: “It will be challenging but I have already won matches against some of these players in my short experience on tour. It would be very motivating to add to my wins against the best players in the world, especially on clay where I have little experience as there aren’t really any clay courts in the UK. This clay season with the French Open as the highlight will be an interesting challenge, but one I am looking forward to.”
If time allows, will you do a shopping tour around Stuttgart or visit the Porsche Museum?
Raducanu: “I think the Porsche Museum would definitely be above shopping in my priority list if there’s some spare time. Or even getting to the Porsche factory.”
You’re a big motorsport fan. What do you love about it?
Raducanu: “I think it is a very cool activity and I love the feeling of going fast and racing. The extreme accelerating and the hard braking, but I’m also interested in the mechanics and engineering.”
You came into contact with motorsport as a child.
Raducanu: “I started early as a 6-year-old girl going karting and it made me feel different from other girls and boys in a very special and positive way. Much cooler. I had so much fun once I started to get good and confident at it. Later motocross was a step up in challenge from go karting. But also lots of fun as let’s be honest, which kid doesn’t like getting dirty in the mud?”
Are there similarities between motorsport and tennis?
Raducanu: “Motorsport is about continual improvement. It’s what I love. And it bears similarities to tennis. On court, you also have to always be concentrated and have to react instinctively to new situations and find quick solutions. One invests lots of time and effort preparing and practicing for marginal gains. But the differences in motorsports are far more minmal than in tennis as we’re talking about milliseconds and seconds. And there’s another difference, the consequences in tennis are not so serious when you make a mistake.”
What’s it like on the road? What kind of driver are you?
Raducanu: “I would say I am a very safe and pretty decent driver who enjoys going fast when permitted. When I’m back home, I drive 3 hours a day to train. On my travels I don’t get to drive very often as I’m still too young for car rentals.”
Porsche competes primarily in endurance racing and Formula E. Which races would you like to experience live at the track?
Raducanu: “The long-distance races are like a long and tight 3-set match where in the end it’s down to concentration and skills. It’s also intersting for the public. Formula E is fascinating as well because it is an environmentally friendly innovation race series, and I know how much torque and acceleration their electric motors can generate. As the cars are not so different to each other, Formular E lends itself to more overtaking that other series. And that’s obviously one of the most exciting parts of motorsport.”
With which racing driver would you like to have a driving lesson and in which car?
Raducanu: “I’d like it to be in a 911 because it’s my favourite, or perhaps the super sporty 718 Cayman GT4. As for the driver, Daniel Ricciardo would be my favourite as I think his skills and laid-back style is more fun and conducive to learning and improving fast.”
Your favourite Porsche is the 911. Why?
Raducanu: “Two of my former coaches drove a 911. Whenever I would turn up to practice in the morning before school, I would see their Porsches, I’d go wow. I really like that car. I really want that car. And then growing up I would go to Brands Hatch and watch the Carrera Cup finals. Every generation of the 911 is so unique and so beautiful in its own distinct way. The car is a legend. A symbol for performance, image and style.”
You’ve already fulfilled many dreams on and off court. How do you stay motivated?
Raducanu: “I think new challenges will always present themselves and you’ll always be resetting goals. Personally I’m very focused on the improvements I can make in my game and that motivates me a lot.”
You recently became a Porsche Brand Ambassador. What’s it like for you?
Raducanu: “Being a Brand Ambassador for Porsche means a lot to me. Porsche is a brand that fascinated me as a kid. It’s really important for me to align with partners and brands that I really feel passionate about and that I identify with. Porsche is the perfect fit. I think the partnership is incredible and obviously I’m really excited to see what sort of exciting things we can do going forwards.”