Despite being one of the highest-earning sportswomen globally and having access to luxurious healthcare retreats, injured tennis sensation Emma Raducanu had a different idea for her recovery. Following multiple surgeries, she chose to recuperate in her grandmother’s modest flat, located in a gray Communist-era building in Romania.
After undergoing an operation on her right hand in mid-May, the US Open champion eagerly longed to visit her grandmother, Niculina Raducanu, whom she affectionately calls ‘Mamiya’ in Romanian. Niculina, who is 90 years old, shared with The Daily Mail how Emma came to stay at her humble third-floor flat on the outskirts of Bucharest after being discharged from the hospital.
“She [Emma] said that she only came to see me and that she didn’t want to talk to anyone else but me,” she said.
“Emma didn’t even want to visit any of her friends here… She was keen to see me because I also had just had [laser eye] surgery.”
During her stay, Niculina lovingly prepared vegetable soup for the 20-year-old tennis star, while Emma dealt with tense calls regarding the future of her team. The two spent quality time together, conversing in Romanian, going grocery shopping, and paying a visit to Emma’s grandfather Constantin’s grave.
“When she came, she had her arm put in a splint, because she wasn’t allowed to move it,” Niculina explained.
“We didn’t get the chance to do much. But she wanted to visit her grandfather’s grave, and we did that.”
Due to their respective recoveries, they found themselves spending most of their time indoors. Emma’s parents, Ian and Renee, also joined them, resulting in a cozy but crowded arrangement in the small flat, where Emma still has her own room.