LONDON, UK — Nike’s new campaign for Wimbledon shows the real person behind tennis star Emma Raducanu — for the very first time she opens up and reflects on her journey so far. Cutting through her carefully controlled media image, the film gets way past the wins and losses. Instead, it follows the usually shy Raducanu to her hometown of Bromley, the court where she trained as a child and took part in a surprising longtime hobby: motocross. It presents Raducanu on her own terms, having realized that success isn’t always only about pushing harder: for her, winning also means embracing adversity and prioritizing self-care – finding time to let go.
At just 18 years old, Emma Raducanu became the first British woman to win a Grand Slam singles title. And she did so just three months after having had to pull out of Wimbledon 2021 suffering breathing difficulties. It was an origin story of inspiring proportions, making Raducanu a tennis legend straight out of the gates of her nascent career. But the blinding spotlight has also fixed her in the public eye, and built up further pressure ahead of this year’s Wimbledon, reinforcing Raducanu’s media-shyness.
That’s what makes this snapshot of her life and career particularly rare. As a longform piece with intimate dashcam footage and visits to Raducanu’s childhood haunts, it gives the star a platform to tell her own story in a very human way – for the very first time. Appropriately for a film about a Gen Z icon, it ditches glitz for authenticity and a reflective focus on wellbeing and mental health. Cutting through the spin, it gets to the heart of things: a genuine window into what makes the star tick, and how she keeps a handle on it all.
For the first time, Raducanu acknowledges in the film the panic attack that led to her Wimbledon withdrawal and explains how she harnessed the emotional fallout to go on and win the US Open. The film shows how she is learning to move beyond her intensive training schedule – finding joy and energy in family, driving, and… motocross. Never seen before, we witness this thrill-seeking side, as well as an open discussion of what qualities drove her to this point. Unsurprisingly, Raducanu shows she has been a perfectionist since childhood – for better and worse.
“I’ve grown and learned that perfectionism isn’t the destination,” said Raducanu in the film. “Perfection just doesn’t exist.” While that determination has always supercharged her training, Raducanu acknowledges how putting too much pressure on herself can be detrimental – increasing the stress that may have contributed to her having to pull out of last year’s Wimbledon. This year, she’s taking no chances. As Raducanu now understands, it’s equally vital to maintain a connection to her home and family, from Bromley to China, with whom she feels most authentically herself.
The campaign was conceived and produced by creative agency Soursop, a next-gen creative consultancy that specializes in connecting to audiences emotionally through powerful narratives — and the project was led by creative director Fran Marchesi and co-founder and ECD Ravi Amaratunga Hitchcock. The film is directed by team Pip & Lib.
“Getting so close and personal with Emma was a real privilege,” says Ravi Amaratunga Hitchcock, co-founder and executive creative director at Soursop. “At this pivotal moment in her career, she’s having to make a lot of decisions under pressure and in the limelight. So it’s inspiring to see her taking control of her own career with so much wisdom for her age: focusing on her own wellbeing and the important things in her life. We wanted to give her the freedom to do that her own way in this film: letting her lead, only following her where she feels comfortable going. That shows the power of longform and this new approach to marketing: alone, we never could have dreamed up taking the UK tennis champ to a motocross track, but the results speak for themselves – and Emma made that happen.”
The 4-minute mini-documentary, “What you Working on: Emma Raducanu” is supported by a 360 editorial campaign with a suite of editorial photography and videos for Nike and Raducanu’s digital and social platforms. It will run globally.