Meet Lily Miyazaki, the maths genius hoping to be this year’s Emma Raducanu at the US Open
- Lily Miyazaki made it through US Open qualifying to get into the main draw
- Emma Raducanu went through the same process before winning in 2021
- Miyazaki hopes to follow in Raducanu’s footsteps at Flushing Meadows this year
Lily Miyazaki is not just a qualifier for the US Open, she is probably the most qualified player at the whole tournament.
The 27-year-old British No 7 spent five years at university in Oklahoma, where she gained a full maths degree and then took a Masters in Information Technology Management.
On Monday she kicks off the British challenge at Flushing Meadows against Russia’s Margarita Betova, while the rest of her colleagues all wait until day two.
On Saturday, Miyazaki emulated Emma Raducanu from two years ago in coming through the qualifiers, although it would be extraordinary if the comparison stretched for a further fortnight.
Her academics, and the timing of the pandemic once she finished her education, mean she has been a late developer in making her first Grand Slam on merit. Born in Tokyo, Miyazaki moved to London aged 10 when her father’s job in finance brought him there, while her mother is a former concert pianist.
Lily Miyazaki (pictured) has come through qualifying to make the US Open main draw
Emma Raducanu also went through qualifying before winning the US Open in 2021
With Japan not allowing dual nationality, it was not until 18 months ago that she took up full British citizenship.
Now ranked 199, it was a particularly good effort to qualify as she did not play any warm-up events in the US, flying in purely to play the preliminaries after opting to play smaller post-Wimbledon events in England. Her only previous main draw appearance at a major was at Wimbledon last year as a wildcard.
‘I wouldn’t say I expected myself to qualify, but I’ve always felt like I’ve had the level,’ said Miyazaki, who has an interesting backhand which she hits with an extremely compact swing. ‘I feel like I’m on schedule, given when I started. I feel like I belong here, qualifying has given me a lot of confidence.’
Miyazaki shares a coach, Craig Veal, with another British debutante in the main draw, Jodie Burrage. Now inside the top 100, the 24-year-old has also made it on merit into the main draw of a major for the first time.
Miyazaki is joined in the main draw by close friend Jodie Burrage (pictured), and the pair will be hoping for deep runs at Flushing Meadows
The two of them are good friends and Burrage’s delight at her stablemate qualifying was evident. These are busy times in the Burrage household, because her partner Ben White, the Scotland scrum half, is preparing for the rugby World Cup.
‘It’s carnage right now. It’s obviously really good, but I wish he could be here and he wishes I could be there,’ Burrage said, ahead of her first round against another Russian, Anna Blinkova.
‘He’s got a World Cup coming up and me being here at a Slam it’s pretty good, we’re both very excited.’ Burrage has emerged as the closest challenger to British No 1 Katie Boulter in Raducanu’s absence and believes that being in a relationship with another sports professional has been beneficial.
‘There is definitely a crossover on the mental side in dealing with being a professional athlete. I don’t think people really understand until its actually you out there,’ she said. ‘Speaking to him every day, he understands the pressure.’