Revealed: Injured Emma Raducanu flew to Romania to recover from surgery at her grandmother’s humble £70,000 Communist-era flat on the edge of Bucharest

emma fii


She is one of the highest-earning sportswomen in the world, with access to the best healthcare retreats money can buy.  But after undergoing multiple surgeries, there was only one place Emma Raducanu wanted to recuperate: her granny’s flat in a grey Communist-era block in Romania.

The US Open champion had been desperate to see Niculina Raducanu – who she calls ‘Mamiya’, an affectionate Romanian term for Granny – after an operation on her right hand in mid-May.


emma grandma

Niculina, 90, told the Mail about how her tennis star granddaughter came to stay at the humble £70,000 third-floor apartment on the edge of Bucharest after being discharged from 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.’  Niculina described how she made Emma, 20, vegetable soup as the tennis star fielded tense calls about the future of her team.

The pair also spent time together chatting in Romanian, buying groceries and visiting 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 said.

‘We didn’t get the chance to do much. But she wanted to visit her grandfather’s grave, and we did that.’  With both of them recovering from their respective surgeries, she said they were forced to spend most of their time together indoors.

Emma’s parents Ian and Renee were also visiting so the four of them crammed into the small flat where Emma still has her own room.  As a child, the former British No 1 would stay at the apartment at least twice a year.  Niculina, a retired teacher, said this trip was no different and she was keen to make her granddaughter hearty home-cooking while they practised speaking Romanian.

‘I was able to make her some food she wanted… She said she wanted to eat Romanian vegetable soup. We also went to the mall and we picked up some groceries that she wanted for her special diet.’  Niculina said Emma was able to visit an antique fair and go for dinner in the capital with her parents.  However, she said Emma had been largely preoccupied with trying to ‘find a solution’ for her team as it is likely to be several months before she can return to the courts.

‘She is not allowed to play at the moment,’ Niculina said. ‘I don’t know for how long. She said she will only be able to do endorsements for now.


‘Emma was very concerned with resolving the future of her team. She made a lot of calls on that matter. She wanted to find the best solution for her team while she is recuperating.’  Emma’s visit was cut short as she had to return home to have a cast from one of the earlier surgeries removed.  Just days later she announced on social media that she was parting ways with her latest coach Sebastina Sach due to the ‘unfortunate circumstances’.

Emma has suffered a string of defeats and injuries since her sensational triumph at Flushing Meadows in 2021.  But while her tennis has suffered, she has not been short of endorsements and is signed up by Tiffany, Dior and Porsche among other big names.  She is estimated to have made more than £22 million last year – making her the third highest-earning female athlete after fellow tennis stars Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka.


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