Train driver asks passengers to update him on Emma Raducanu's progress

Train driver asks passengers to update him on Emma Raducanu's progress

September 11, 2021

Train driver, 41, who ‘discovered’ Emma Raducanu when she was aged eight asks passengers to update him on her progress during vital match

  • Emma Raducanu, 18, is taking on Leylah Fernandez, 19, at Flushing Meadows
  • Simon Dahdi, 41, claimed he spotted Raducanu’s potential when she was eight
  • He was working as a talent scout for the Lawn Tennis Association at the time
  • The train driver said he asked passengers for the score of one of her matches

A train driver who ‘discovered’ Emma Raducanu last night told how he begged passengers to update him on her progress during a vital match.

Simon Dahdi, 41, was working as a talent scout for the Lawn Tennis Association when he spotted Ms Raducanu’s world-beating potential. She was just eight years old.

Mr Dahdi, a driver for Thameslink, told The Mail on Sunday that he was forced to put out an announcement asking passengers to tell him the score during Ms Raducanu’s nail-biting third round match against Romanian Sorana Cirstea at Wimbledon in July.

Train driver Simon Dahdi was working as a talent scout for the Lawn Tennis Association when he spotted Emma Raducanu’s (pictured) world-beating potential when she was eight years old

Mr Dahdi, from Orpington, Kent, who quit tennis in 2016, said: ‘I got to Blackfriars Station [in Central London]. She was in the third round at Wimbledon. But I couldn’t drive with my phone switched on.

‘I turned my phone on when I got to Blackfriars and saw that they changed ends. She was winning 6-3. I was like, ‘Wow! She’s got a chance to get to the fourth round!’ I couldn’t believe it. Then I switched off my phone again.

‘After a few stops I thought, ‘I need to know what’s going on.’ ‘ So he made an announcement.

‘I said, ‘If anyone is watching a bit of Wimbledon, there’s a girl called Emma Raducanu who is a great player from Bromley and if you can tell me what the score is, that would be great’.

Mr Dahdi (pictured), a Thameslink driver, said he put out an announcement asking passengers to tell him the score during Ms Raducanu’s match against Romanian Sorana in July

‘So at different stops, people were coming up to the front of the train and telling me the score.’

As he drove into Bickley, a male passenger told him his former protege had won. ‘I said, ‘Crikey!’ I was so happy,’ he recalled.

Ms Raducanu would lose her next match, but her potential was clear.

Mr Dahdi spotted Ms Raducanu at the Parklangley Club in Beckenham, Kent, and watched her play from the age of eight to ten. 

He never had any doubt she was destined for greatness. ‘It was obvious how talented she was,’ he said.

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