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How Emma Raducanu jumped at the chance to catch up with her old tennis pal in New York

As their teenage daughter made history in the US Open, Emma Raducanu‘s parents had to make do with watching it all on TV.

America’s tough Covid travel rules meant Britain’s latest tennis superstar was robbed of the chance to celebrate with her family.

Yet it seems there was some support from back home in the Big Apple after all – for the Mail can reveal that Miss Raducanu was cheered on to victory by a friend she’s known since the age of six.

Former tennis protege Benjamin Heynold, 19, has been by Miss Raducanu’s side throughout her stunning – and swift – rise to global stardom, having moved to the US to study.

Following her victory at the Arthur Ashe Stadium on Saturday, Miss Raducanu, 18, posed with her old pal for a photo beneath a Manhattan billboard celebrating the city’s new Grand Slam star

Former tennis protege Benjamin Heynold, 19, has been by Miss Raducanu's side throughout her stunning – and swift – rise to global stardom, having moved to the US to study

Former tennis protege Benjamin Heynold, 19, has been by Miss Raducanu's side throughout her stunning – and swift – rise to global stardom, having moved to the US to study

Former tennis protege Benjamin Heynold, 19, has been by Miss Raducanu’s side throughout her stunning – and swift – rise to global stardom, having moved to the US to study

Emma Raducanu (back) and Ben Heynold (front) are pictured at the Royal Albert Hall

Emma Raducanu (back) and Ben Heynold (front) are pictured at the Royal Albert Hall

The taste of success: Miss Raducanu wields chopsticks as they share a meal together

The taste of success: Miss Raducanu wields chopsticks as they share a meal together

Game, suit and match: 19-year-old Heynold is pictured sporting more formal attire

Game, suit and match: 19-year-old Heynold is pictured sporting more formal attire

Miss Raducanu at the Met Gala in Chanel

Miss Raducanu at the Met Gala in Chanel

Miss Raducanu wore a monochrome Chanel ensemble to the 2021 Met Gala on Monday

Raducanu shares posts of her at the Met Gala

Emma Raducanu has shared two photographs of her at the Met Gala.

The young tennis sensation posted the pictures on Tuesday of her time during the event on Monday.

She wrote next to two pictures of her in a Chanel dress: ‘About last night…’

Emma Raducanu has shared two photographs of her at the Met Gala

Emma Raducanu has shared two photographs of her at the Met Gala

Emma Raducanu has shared two photographs of her at the Met Gala

Following her victory at the Arthur Ashe Stadium on Saturday, Miss Raducanu, 18, posed with her old pal for a photo beneath a Manhattan billboard celebrating the city’s new Grand Slam star.

Mr Heynold posted the image on social media along with a heartwarming picture of the pair as young children holding tennis medals.

The caption? ‘History.’

The friends met more than a decade ago through their mutual love of the sport, playing together in competitions across the country in the junior ranks and both making the Great Britain squad.

In 2017 the pair had their first taste of playing in front of a large crowd, taking part in a charity event at the Royal Albert Hall.

The day saw them pose for a photo with former British number one Greg Rusedski, who this week backed Miss Raducanu to win multiple Grand Slams.

While Miss Raducanu bagged her first trophy at the weekend, Mr Heynold appears to have pursued a different path.

Once tipped for sporting stardom himself, he is understood to have taken a step back from top-level tennis and is now studying in the US. 

That allowed him to be by his childhood friend’s side – unlike Miss Raducanu’s family back in Bromley.

While she grew up in south-east London, Mr Heynold – the son of a managing director at an international investment banking firm – was raised in a sprawling private estate near Chertsey, Surrey. 

He was educated at TASIS England – formerly known as The American School – where day fees for secondary school pupils start at around £20,000, rising to almost £50,000 for boarders.

Miss Raducanu has also found some time for an Old Etonian, too – for yesterday saw the Prime Minister speak to the tennis sensation for the first time following her stunning victory.

Boris Johnson congratulated Miss Raducanu in a phone call as she continued to soak up the atmosphere in New York following her debut at the Met Gala.

A Downing Street spokesman said the Prime Minister ‘praised her determination, skill and mental strength during a series of tough matches, and said the whole of the UK had united behind her success’.

They added: ‘Both the Prime Minister and Emma agreed on the importance of continuing to support grassroots tennis, and in encouraging young people to take up the game.’ 

The Met Gala was followed by a visit to the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday

The Met Gala was followed by a visit to the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday

Miss Raducanu spent part of Tuesday being given a tour of the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange

Miss Raducanu spent part of Tuesday being given a tour of the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange

Following her win, Miss Raducanu appeared on Good Morning America

Following her win, Miss Raducanu appeared on Good Morning America 

Miss Raducanu has been hailed by Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp as 'the talent of the century' following her US Open win on Saturday

Miss Raducanu has been hailed by Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp as ‘the talent of the century’ following her US Open win on Saturday

The British star waved the Union Jack as she held her trophy following her stunning win

The British star waved the Union Jack as she held her trophy following her stunning win

Miss Raducanu reacts after winning the US Open on Saturday - a feat she completed without losing a single set in the whole competition

Miss Raducanu reacts after winning the US Open on Saturday – a feat she completed without losing a single set in the whole competition

Miss Raducanu poses with the U.S. Open tennis championship trophy after her win

Miss Raducanu poses with the U.S. Open tennis championship trophy after her win

So who WAS the belle of the Ball? It’s advantage Emma Raducanu as she wears Chanel to mingle with showbiz elite at Met Gala in New York

Alison Boshoff and Jennifer Ruby

She’s expected to return to her family home today – that unremarkable three-bedroomed semi in Bromley.

But on Monday night, Emma Raducanu had her Cinderella moment at New York’s Met Gala, where she took her place among the A-list on the biggest night in fashion.

The 18-year-old burst into the fashion spotlight in a dazzling, midriff-baring, monochrome Chanel outfit designed by Virginie Viard – with a rope of pearls encircling her waist and more Tiffany diamonds sparkling in her ears at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Personally invited by Vogue chief Dame Anna Wintour, 71, she was seated on the $500,000 Chanel table with its celebrity ambassadors.

Dame Anna may be the most influential woman in fashion, but she’s also a huge tennis fan who has befriended Roger Federer.

Overnight tennis sensation Emma Raducanu (pictured wearing Chanel) had a Cinderella moment at the Met Gala on Monday night

Overnight tennis sensation Emma Raducanu (pictured wearing Chanel) had a Cinderella moment at the Met Gala on Monday night

And how she must have gnashed her teeth when Edward Enninful, the editor of British Vogue, snapped up an exclusive interview with Miss Raducanu for his October issue.

However, the Covid-delayed £20,000-a-ticket Met Gala Ball gave Dame Anna the perfect chance to stake her own claim to this most glamorous of young tennis champions.

It would seem a fair bet that Miss Raducanu will be gracing the pages of US Vogue soon. Other tennis stars present included Emma’s opponent in the final, Leylah Fernandez, and Naomi Osaka – who sported a bizarre multi-coloured ensemble.

Overnight tennis sensation Miss Raducanu was suddenly rubbing shoulders with global superstars.

Met Gala co-chair Naomi Osaka wore a Louis Vuitton look that paid tribute to her Japanese heritage

Met Gala co-chair Naomi Osaka wore a Louis Vuitton look that paid tribute to her Japanese heritage 

Co-chair Billie Eilish wore a voluminous Oscar de la Renta gown with her hair worn in a style reminiscent of bombshell Marilyn Monroe

Co-chair Billie Eilish wore a voluminous Oscar de la Renta gown with her hair worn in a style reminiscent of bombshell Marilyn Monroe

Some opted for truly outlandish looks, including Kim Kardashian, 40, who wore a black Balenciaga all-in-one outfit that covered every inch of skin. And Blondie veteran Debbie Harry, 76, arrived in a patriotic red, white and blue ensemble that mirrored a shabby American flag.

British actresses including Emily Blunt, Carey Mulligan and Sienna Miller also put their best fashion foot forward.

Miss Mulligan, 36, wore a hot pink Valentino gown while Miss Blunt, 38, was inspired by the Statue of Liberty in a crystal Miu Miu gown with a white cape draped over her shoulders.

Miss Miller, 39, paired a golden Gucci gown with a fur coat that trailed behind her.

British actress Carey Mulligan wore a hot pink Valentino gown with a matching cape

British actress Carey Mulligan wore a hot pink Valentino gown with a matching cape

Emily Blunt's look included a headpiece that took inspiration from the Statue of Liberty and a classic Heddy Lamarr costume from Ziegfeld Girl

Emily Blunt’s look included a headpiece that took inspiration from the Statue of Liberty and a classic Heddy Lamarr costume from Ziegfeld Girl

Sienna Miller channeled Old Hollywood glamour in a Gucci gown with a trailing faux fur coat

Sienna Miller channeled Old Hollywood glamour in a Gucci gown with a trailing faux fur coat

The theme for this year’s event was In America: A Lexicon of Fashion. Miss Raducanu’s cool and youthful ensemble from Chanel’s 2021/22 Cruise collection was matched with £33,000 marquise and pear-cut diamond Schlumberger Tiffany earrings, and three Tiffany rings: a £14,400 Victoria 18k rose gold and diamond ring; a T True narrow ring in 18k rose gold with pave diamonds, £3,600; and a Victoria ring in 18k rose gold with diamonds, £5,075.

She has worn their jewellery throughout the tournament.

Fashion watchers waited with baited breath for Rihanna, who was one of the last stars to arrive

Fashion watchers waited with baited breath for Rihanna, who was one of the last stars to arrive

Kim Kardashian wore a black Balenciaga all-in-one outfit that covered every inch of skin

Kim Kardashian wore a black Balenciaga all-in-one outfit that covered every inch of skin

But the key moments of the evening came when guests got up from their tables and mingled. 

On Monday, the teenage champ had a long chat with British Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton. It appears he congratulated her before discussing where she goes from here and her experiences so far.

Emma is a keen motor racing fan who did motocross and karting as a youngster and attended July’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Raducanu was seen chatting with fellow British sporting star Lewis Hamilton,  who wore Kenneth Nicholson

Raducanu was seen chatting with fellow British sporting star Lewis Hamilton,  who wore Kenneth Nicholson 

Jennifer Lopez wore a wild-west inspired look by Ralph Lauren, accessorised with silver jewellery

Jennifer Lopez wore a wild-west inspired look by Ralph Lauren, accessorised with silver jewellery

So who better than Hamilton, 36, whose sporting trajectory took him from Stevenage, Hertfordshire to Monaco, to advise new millionaire Miss Raducanu?

Representatives for Chanel yesterday declined to comment when asked if she was set to join their ranks as an ambassador.

Additional reporting: Daniel Bates in New York

Blondie veteran Debbie Harry arrived in a patriotic red, white and blue Zac Posen ensemble that mirrored a shabby American flag

Blondie veteran Debbie Harry arrived in a patriotic red, white and blue Zac Posen ensemble that mirrored a shabby American flag

Supermodel Iman wore a show stopping Dolce and Gabbana creation with a Harris Reed headpiece

Supermodel Iman wore a show stopping Dolce and Gabbana creation with a Harris Reed headpiece

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