One of the freshest and most exciting newsmakers at the US Open has a sister. And together, they have three junior singles titles in Slams.
Agnieszska Radwanska, who defeated defending champion Maria Sharapova in the third round of the US Open on Saturday, and Urszula, the 2007 Wimbledon girls' champion, are coached by their father Robert, and despite their vivacious demeanors and glistening braces, tennis is a family business, and Sunday was a work day.
Less than 24 hours after Agnieszka ousted Sharapova, Robert Radwanska was in the stands supporting Urszula in what is likely her last junior Slam. Even Agnieszka stopped by to watch her little sister, the No. 2 seed, close out her opening-round match, 6-4, 6-1, before heading off to play mixed doubles.
“I hope for both, 10-year careers in top 50 or top 20,” said Robert Radwanska. Though he won’t make bold predictions, he never doubted their talent.
“The best way to raise children is through sports,” said Mr. Radwanska, who earned his university degree in physical education. So he sunk his life savings into their careers – even when the long Polish winters forced them to use indoor facilities at a cost of $100 per day in a country where the average monthly income is $500. When the savings ran out, his father assisted.
The Radwanskas didn’t see a return in the form of a sponsor for 10 years – when Agnieszka won the Wimbledon junior title in 2005 and signed with the software company Prokom.
Agnieszka went on to win the 2006 French Open junior title, and her professional success has recently enabled the family to move into a new apartment in an upscale neighborhood back home in Krakow, Poland – one large enough to comfortably store more than 300 trophies the girls have won in their 18 and 16 years. But the sisters still don’t have an agent or a clothing sponsor.
The promised Louis Vuitton bags haven’t materialized yet, either. The sisters had made a joking bet that if Agnieszka beat Sharapova, they would splurge.
“The shop closed at 7, and we got back to the hotel at 7:10,” Urzsula said. So they celebrated Agnieszka’s monumental victory by watching a little TV in their mid-town Manhattan hotel.
“There was nothing else to do,” Urzsula added.