You don't have to be a tennis fan to know the name Emma Raducanu - the first British woman to win a major tennis tournament in 44 years and achieve the extraordinary feat at 18 years of age without losing a set in the tournament.
Sadly, I have already heard it suggested that she is only deemed British because of her success this week. Even more unfortunate was that the character who said this was unaware that she had moved to the UK at the age of two, attended UK state schools and holds full citizenship of both the UK and Canada. He would have been equally unaware that her Romanian grandmother taught her how to cook. Emma can speak Mandarin and holds a couple of As at A Level. Ignorance overlooks the talented young global citizen and instead asks, 'where are you really from?' Much work remains around some Jurassic attitudes, I'm afraid.
The concept of countries taking reflected glory in the endeavours of individual sportsmen and women is a debate for another time, but what all should celebrate is the power of youth. The capacity of an 18-year-old to step on a court, undoubtedly nervous inside but totally fearless in her tennis and in her aspect, is incredible to witness. As age and anxiety kick in, things will only get harder - as I'm sure some sage pundit will be quick to warn her.
In 1985 Boris Becker beat Kevin Curren to win Wimbledon at 17 years and 227 days old. A year later, he demolished the world number 1, Ivan Lendl, to retain his crown. A powerful, all-action player with a booming serve, he became the darling of the media and the sporting world. Fame and fortune followed before the almost inevitable fall from grace. Throughout his career, few people asked the German lad with boyish good looks where he was 'really from'.
Tennis has a habit of producing these wunderkinder. In 1989 Michael Chang beat Becker's record by winning the French Open at 17 years and 110 days. Born in Hoboken, New Jersey, you can bet a few asked him where he was 'really from'. His mother was born in India, and his father in China before moving to Taiwan. Michael Chang was a global citizen, US citizen, devout Christian, a trailblazer for Asian Americans, and a tennis player from the US. He made a difference in the same way Emma Radacanu has just done - this is what we should celebrate.
Tennis drives individuals to obsessive practice, and often parents confidently describe themselves as Tiger mums or the male equivalent. Then again, there isn't a male equivalent, is there? Is it somehow ok for fathers to obsessively drive their children to greatness (read Earl Woods and Emmanuel Agassi, who admitted to experimenting with his other children before getting it right with Andre) but not mothers? Another blog right there, perhaps?
I saw this drive in some young athletes I taught years ago. In understanding Radacanu's success, we should know that outrageous talent often falters unless the foundations of each skill are laboriously and slavishly learnt. With skills embedded in a maturing frame, it is truly extraordinary what can be achieved through the late teens and early twenties. You think you are indestructible, and that confidence reinforced with skill is what allows you to transcend your sport for a time.
Long term success is the goal of professional athletes, and it requires serious repetition. We crave that now for Emma - repeat, repeat, repeat. We hope she learns and develops into an all-around great, not because it is good for Britain but because she dreams of what she has striven for. We also crave that those ignorant enough to ask 'where are you really from' learn something about and from this wonderful young athlete.