A London council has rejected a proposal to honour Emma Raducanu. The US Open champion hails from Bromley in the South eastern section of the capital, and there was a possibility she would be given freedom of the borough following her success in New York.
This is the highest civic award a local authority is able to give and it is no surprise Raducanu had been considered for it after her incredible achievement.
But after a special meeting, it was concluded the Bromley council decided against bestowing the honour on the teen, as they do not want to “embarrass her”.
As an alternative, Conservative councillors voted in favour of monitoring “the ongoing dialogue between council officers, Emma and her family and will agree a suitable celebration of her victory”.
Tony Owen, Bromley’s deputy mayor, told The Standard: “We have written to the family and received a reply from her representative who said the family don’t really like a fuss.
“Clearly she has a great career ahead of her and we are very proud of her success. But we didn’t want to embarrass Emma. And we don’t want to embarrass ourselves, which it would be if she refused [the award.]”
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Mr Owen did not rule out the possibility of Raducanu receiving the award in the future, but at the moment they are searching for other ways to mark her success, such as erecting a mural.
On the other hand, Bromley’s Labour leader Angela Wilkins offered a different perspective on the matter.
She revealed councillors had told her they did not support the 18-year-old receiving the award because she is “only” ranked 24th in the world.
“I imagine Emma refusing to accept is highly unlikely to happen – even if she were to decline, at least we would have shown our support and recognition of her,” Wilkins said.
“Andy Murray was awarded the Freedom of the Borough by Stirling in 2012 but didn’t actually receive it until 2014, presumably because of his busy diary. Our motion did not assume any award ceremony.
“There simply was no good reason not to agree the award and thereby show our support and recognition of Emma’s achievements.
“If Emma wishes to attend an event to celebrate the award, this could be arranged at her convenience.”
Born in Toronto, Canada, Raducanu moved to England at the age of two and attended Bickley Primary School before going to Newstead Wood School in Orpington.
She made her tennis breakthrough after reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon this summer, before shocking the world at Flushing Meadows.
The British number one came through the qualifying rounds before storming through the draw with dropping a set.
She became the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam and the first British woman to win a major title since Virginia Wade in 1977.
The tennis star is next set to compete at the Transylvanian Open, starting on October 25.