China has got its new tennis star, an 18-year-old US Open winner Emma Raducanu.
"Having a Chinese mom, she definitely instilled from a young age hard work, discipline," CNN News reported Raducanu as saying.
Raducanu further said that she took inspiration from now-retired Chinese tennis player Li Na, the former World No. 2, and "just the way she was such a fierce competitor."
Following her victory on Sunday, she addressed her fans in Mandarin. "Hello everyone, I'd like to say thank you," she said. "I hope you liked watching my tennis. I'm very, very happy right now ... Thank you, I love you!"
Raducanu immediately won over new fans in China, who praised her performance on the court as well as her pride in her heritage. Many also praised her Mandarin message, delighting in her "cute" northeastern accent -- her mother is originally from the city of Shenyang, in northeastern Liaoning province.
"Her grandma in Shenyang must be proud of her, and we people in Shenyang are also proud of her," said one user on the Chinese platform Weibo.
It is also said that her victory trended on Weibo; one hashtag, "18-year-old ethnic Chinese young player wins US open championship," has been viewed more than 200 million times, while the video of her Mandarin message has been viewed more than a million times.
Meanwhile, Chinese official media also celebrated her victory and highlighted her Chinese roots.
According to Global Times, Raducanu was "very interested in Chinese culture," and that she visited Shenyang often to see her grandmother and other relatives.
It also noted that Raducanu plays table tennis, and would sometimes practice at a local Shenyang table tennis gym while visiting.
"My mom's side of the family, when I go over to China, they are so mentally resilient," said Raducanu in a previous interview, according to state-owned China Daily. "It's like nothing can bring them down. I would say I take a big part of my inspiration from her."
Meanwhile, it can be seen that Tennis has gained popularity in China in the past decade, in no small part due to Li Na's success on the world stage. Li's victory at the 2011 French Open was watched by 116 million television viewers in China alone
The Women's Tennis Association hosted nine events in China in 2019, up from two in 2008.
By 2014, China had invested hundreds of millions of dollars to launch the Wuhan Open, a tennis tournament held in Li's hometown.
With Raducanu's win, it may inspire a new generation of Chinese tennis players.