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Name a more iconic duo.
It’s been an eventful month for the Duchess of Cambridge. Between preparing her three children for the new school term, launching her highly-anticipated Hold Still photography book, and abseiling down a cliff face with the Air Cadets (yep, that really happened), we can scarcely keep up.
In fact, you could say that nothing surprises us anymore when it comes to the Duchess of Cambridge’s schedule. Except, maybe, when we found out that she stopped by the National Tennis Centre earlier today to play a round of doubles with none other than U.S. Open winner Emma Raducanu.
Did someone say most iconic British duo of all time?
Donning a pleated tennis skirt and sneakers, Kate met with British tennis champs Raducanu, Joe Salisbury, Alfie Hewett, and Gordon Reid on the courts in southwest London on Friday afternoon, and as it happens, she’s actually pretty good.
After chatting with the young tennis stars, Kate and Emma teamed up for a round of doubles, and according to U.S. Open champ Emma, “her forehand is incredible”.
“I really enjoyed playing tennis against the Duchess of Cambridge today but I was actually very nervous!,” Raducanu told reporters. “I kept thinking don’t miss, don’t miss.”
And it appears that the admiration is mutual, as it would seem that the duchess is just as much a Raducanu fan girl as the rest of us.
Following the eighteen-year-old’s landmark win against Leylah Fernandez at the U.S. Open in New York earlier this month, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were quick to send their congratulations to the athlete, writing on Twitter: “Huge congratulations @EmmaRaducanu on your stunning performances and historic Grand Slam victory! Incredible –we are all so proud of you.”
It’s no secret that Kate is an avid follower of the sport, having been a mainstay in the royal box at Wimbledon since the early days of her relationship with Prince William.
As well as celebrating Raducanu’s homecoming, Kate, who is patron of the Lawn Tennis Association, also met with teenagers from across the UK as part of the LTA Youth Program. Aiming to encourage participation in the sport and inspire the next generation of players, the initiative was set up to help more children enjoy the benefits of playing and staying in tennis, regardless of age, gender, ability, disability or background.
“Her Royal Highness is passionate about supporting grassroots tennis and encouraging young people from all backgrounds to become involved in the sport,” the duchess’ office said.
Also featuring a live Q&A hosted by Clare Balding, the special ‘Homecoming’ event broadcast is available on-demand via BBC iPlayer, for anyone who fancies picking up a few tricks of the trade.
“One of the moments I’ve enjoyed the most since the US Open final, has been with everyone in the team that has supported me on tour,” Raducanu said during the event. “We went for a really nice meal and spoke until early hours in the morning reflecting on the time we’ve had together. We have come such a long way.”
The young tennis star also payed homage to her parents, saying, “[They] are the main reason why I am here playing tennis today after encouraging me to pursue the sport. Parents can sign up their kids to LTA Youth courses to get started in tennis.”
That is lovely.
Here’s hoping our new favourite sporting duo take to the courts together again soon.