The Duchess of Cambridge appeared in great spirits today as she enjoyed a game of doubles with US Open winner Emma Raducanu, after gushing that the teenage tennis sensation’s recent victory was ‘seriously impressive’.
Kate, 39, who has returned to work following her annual summer break, looked appropriately sporty in a blue tennis skirt and matching zip-up £90 tracksuit jacket from French sportswear brand Poivre Blanc for the visit at the National Tennis Centre in London.
Appearing as equally ready for their match, teammate Emma, 18, who became the first British woman to win a grand slam title for 44 years when she won the US Open earlier this month, just weeks after collecting her A-level results, donned a blue T-shirt and white shorts for the outing.
Kate and Emma were teamed up for their first shots before swapping to opposite sides of the court to play with other British US Open winners, Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid, who won the men’s wheelchair doubles, and men’s doubles champion Joe Salisbury.
The royal is patron of the Lawn Tennis Association’s (LTA), which organised the homecoming event today to celebrate the success of the UK’s stars at the recent grand slam, with a thirty-minute show of the action aired on BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport online.
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Doubles with the Duchess! Kate Middleton met with US Open winner Emma Raducanu today and even played a match with the teenage tennis sensation
Victory! The Duchess of Cambridge reacted with joy as she played with British US Open Champion Emma during the event
To celebrate the success of the British US Open champions, the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) is inviting the nation to come together for a special ‘Homecoming’ event. Pictured, Kate and Emma on the tennis court
The Duchess of Cambridge was beaming as she played a match with the US Open champions during the homecoming event
The Duchess of Cambridge beamed at Emma as they took to the court today for the homecoming event in London
Kate showed off her athletic prowess as she criss-crossed across the court during the session in the sunshine this morning
The royal, a keen tennis fan, also showed off her skills as she played alongside Joe Salisbury during the session
Before the thirty-minute show, which will be broadcast live today at 12:30pm on BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport online as well as the LTA’s social media channels, Emma (pictured left), 18, chatted with keen tennis fan Kate, who is patron of the LTA
The duchess joined the homecoming celebration, hosted by the LTA Youth programme, in which the four champions, as well as the royal, were on court alongside children taking part in the scheme.
The LTA youth initiative is an innovative programme aimed at inspiring the next generation of players aged 4-18, as well as helping more children enjoy the benefits of playing and staying in tennis, whatever their age, gender, ability or background.
Sitting down to meet with the US Open champions, Kate gushed: ‘Amazing guys, honestly. Congratulations. Seriously impressive. It’s been so nice for all of you to come back here in your home country to celebrate back home.’
Kate is a keen tennis supporter and congratulated Emma on her historic win at the US Open earlier this month in New York, after writing a personal Tweet of support in which she signed off with a ‘C’.
The royal mother-of-three is often seen at Wimbledon; this year she was all-smiles when watching the women’s final, which saw Australian contender Ash Barty win over Czech player Karolina Pliskova at Centre Court.
Alongside the tennis court appearances, the event included a live Q&A and a host of tennis activities – giving fans and players of all ages an opportunity to get to know their sporting heroes and hoping to inspire a new wave of players to start their tennis journey.
The Duchess of Cambridge wore a sporty tennis skirt for the occasion, which she wore with a zip-up jacket
Emma and Kate clearly enjoyed each other’s company as they took to the court at the National Tennis Centre in London
The Duchess of Cambridge and the teenager tennis sensation chatted happily together during their match
Oh dear! Kate looked less than impressed with herself during one portion of the match, and placed her hand on her head
Kate (pictured left), 39, who has returned to work following her annual summer break, looked appropriately sporty in a blue tennis skirt and matching zip-up jacket for the visit at the National Tennis Centre in London
Before the group picked up their rackets the duchess (pictured playing with Emma) told the champions: ‘Amazing guys, honestly, congratulations to all of you – it’s seriously impressive.’
The professional! Emma appeared to be taking the game seriously as she brandished her racket while playing with Kate
Sharing a smile: Kate couldn’t help but keep the grin on her face while playing with Emma, who looked equally pleased
Kate and Emma worked together against other players such as Britain’s tennis stars Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid, who won the men’s wheelchair doubles, and men’s doubles champion Joe Salisbury
Great team work! The royal mother-of-three shared a laugh with the British US Open champion as they played tennis together
The Duchess of Cambridge talks to British US Open champions Emma Raducanu and Gordon Reid as they return to the LTA’s National Tennis Centre for The Homecoming and to celebrate their success
Emma defeated Leylah Fernandez 6-4 6-3 at Arthur Ashe Stadium earlier this month to become Great Britain’s first female grand slam winner in 44 years.
It was only Raducanu’s second appearance at a major and the new world number 23 has made headlines across the globe, appeared on various TV channels in the United States and also attended the Met Gala last Monday in a monochrome Chanel ensemble.
After competing at Wimbledon this summer, Emma who is an LTA Youth Ambassador visited her old primary school in Bromley to inspire more young people to play the sport.
On visiting her primary school, Emma said: ‘Being back here does make me want to do more because seeing their inspired and excited faces when I walk in spurs me on. I can’t let them down and I want to keep pushing on in my own career. Hopefully they can get into tennis as well if they watch me.’
Emma (pictured) defeated Leylah Fernandez 6-4 6-3 at Arthur Ashe Stadium earlier this month to become Great Britain’s first female grand slam winner in 44 years
Teenage tennis sensation Emma and Joe Salisbury in action as they return to the LTA’s National Tennis Centre for the Homecoming today
What a pro! Emma made her tennis skills look effortless as she joined in the matches alongside the duchess and then tennis star Joe Salisbury
Playing doubles at the National Tennis Centre, Kate and Emma teamed up for their first matches, before swapping to opposite sides of the court. Pictured, Emma teamed up with Joe Salisbury
Can’t stop smiling! Emma appeared to be in a great mood and in top form as she attended the homecoming event in London
She added: ‘Tennis is an unbelievable sport, it gives you so many opportunities and is so fun. It would be great for more kids to pick up a racket and try it. LTA Youth courses are a perfect way for everyone to get started.’
In 2018, Emma joined the LTA’s Pro Scholarship Programme to give her the support that she needed including coaching, access to science and medical services and wildcards to tournaments.
Emma has been competing in LTA competitions since aged seven starting out as a regular on the circuit of local and regional LTA tournaments across the south of England.
The tennis star, who only completed her A-levels earlier in the summer, achieving A* in mathematics and an A in economics at Newstead Wood School in Orpington, has been on a whirlwind ride since her historic win.
Emma already has a clothing and shoe deal with Nike, a racquet tie-up with Wilson and she appears in the current edition of Vogue magazine. Her Instagram followers have also trebled since she started out as a US Open qualifier.
The duchess (pictured right) joined the homecoming celebration, hosted by the LTA Youth programme, in which four champions were on court alongside children taking part in the scheme
The Duchess of Cambridge meets British US Open Champions Emma Raducanu, Joe Salisbury (back row left) , Gordon Reid and Alfie Hewett (front row left)
The LTA youth initiative is an innovative programme aimed at inspiring the next generation of players aged 4-18, as well as helping more children enjoy the benefits of playing and staying in tennis, whatever their age, gender, ability, disability or background. Pictured, the duchess at the event