The British royal and diehard tennis fan, 39, met with the 18-year-old athlete in South London on Thursday, September 23, for a homecoming event celebrating the teen’s 2021 U.S. Open win over Canada’s Leylah Fernandez.
It was Raducanu’s first major Grand Slam title — and it was a historic one at that. She became the first British woman to win a Grand Slam singles title in 44 years, and the first ever player to do so as a qualifier.
After her win, Kate sent a sweet message to the young star on Twitter, congratulating her on her “stunning performances and historic Grand Slam victory. Incredible – we are all so proud of you.”
The duchess donned a navy blue tennis outfit to team up with the rising star athlete for a match at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton. The duo took on fellow British U.S. Open winners, wheelchair doubles pair Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid, and Joe Salisbury, who took home this year’s men’s doubles title and mix doubles title.
Despite the tough competition, Kate, a Patron of the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), was able to hold her on the court against the pros.
“Her forehand was incredible,” Raducanu said after the match, according to Yahoo! Sports UK. “I was very impressed. It was a lot of fun to play tennis with the duchess.”
Salisbury, 29, also raved about the duchess’ athletic prowess.
“It was really good fun. I was very impressed by Kate’s level,” he told reporters on the scene, according to Yahoo! Sports UK. “She obviously loves it, and has played a lot before, but it was good fun to be on court with her. Her forehand was very good.”
During her afternoon visit to the court, Kate, who is a yearly staple at Wimbledon, also met with teenagers from across the U.K. who are part of the Lawn Tennis Association’s Youth Program, which aims to inspire the next generation of young players ages 4 to 18.
“Her Royal Highness is passionate about supporting grassroots tennis and encouraging young people from all backgrounds to become involved in the sport,” Kensington Palace said in a statement.
Check out the photos of a sporty Duchess Kate below.