10 best sports debuts as Brit teen Emma Raducanu reaches US Open quarter-finals

First impressions matter – especially when you only get one chance to make them.

Emma Raducanu made a great first impression at Wimbledon, and the 18-year-old burst onto British TV screens as she wowed audiences with a run to the last 16.

And Raducanu has been equally impressive with her debut stateside at the US Open, and the Brit has gone one better to the quarters.

However, not all first impressions have been great, and Jonathan Woodgate's debut at Real Madrid lives long in the memory for all the wrong reasons.

And Daily Star Sport looks at the ten best sporting debuts.

Emma Raducanu – US Open (2021)

Raducanu faces her toughest challenge yet on Wednesday evening, and the 18-year-old is set to square off with the Olympic champion Belinda Bencic.

The Brit had to overcome three qualifiers before she was able to enter the first round at Flushing Meadows.

And Raducanu has reached the second week at the US Open with four emphatic performances that have yet to see her drop a set.

Her more impressive performance so far came against the American Shelby Rogers, and after starting 2-0 down, Raducanu rallied to thrash Rogers 6-2 6-1.

Tadej Pogacar – Tour de France (2020)

Tadej Pogacar arrived at his debut Tour de France as an outsider who could win the best young rider's jersey.

The 21-year-old Slovenian faced probably the best team ever assembled for the Grande Boucle in the form of Primoz Roglic's Jumbo-Visma.

And with almost three weeks raced, and just shy of 3,000km in their legs, Roglic led the race, and his sports director proudly declared he had a '90-95% chance of winning'.

However, on the final day, Pogacar produced the best ride the Tour has ever seen, and he went home with the overall win, the king of the mountains jersey, the best young riders jersey, and three-stage wins.

Have we missed anyone from out list? Let us know in the comments section

Marcus Rashford – Manchester United (2016)

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When Anthony Martial was ruled injured in Manchester United's warm-up against FC Midtjylland in the Europa League, United had to call upon an unknown Marcus Rashford.

United were down 2-1 on aggregate after the Danish side had beaten the Red Devils at Old Trafford.

However, Rashford was on target twice for Louis van Gaal's side as United ran out 5-1 winners.

Rashford's performance earned him a spot in the squad over the weekend, where he found the net again.

Marcus Mariota – NFL (2015)

Marcus Mariota arrived in the NFL in 2015 as the reigning Heisman Trophy winner and a heap of expectations.

The Hawaiian went second overall in the draft when he was selected by the Tennessee Titans.

And the Tennessee crowd didn't have to wait long to see what the hype was all about.


Mariota became the first player in NFL history to throw four touchdowns in the first half, he threw more touchdowns than incompletions, and he ended the clash with a perfect passing rating.

Sergio Aguero – Manchester City (2011)

Sergio Aguero'sManchester City debut came in the opening clash of the 2011/12 Premier League campaign.

Roberto Mancini's side welcomed Swansea to the Etihad Stadium, and the Citizens led 1-0 when Aguero was introduced to a standing ovation.

Aguero was quickly on the scoresheet with a simple far-post tap-in before an audacious flick set up David Silva to add a third.

The Argentine was on the scoresheet again in added time when he let fly from 25-yards-out, beating an outstretched Michel Vorm.

Rafael Nadal – French Open (2005)

An 18-year-old Rafael Nadal arrived at his first Roland Garros in 2005, having just broken into the world's top 50.

Nadal wouldn't turn 19 until midway through the tournament, but his age didn't stop him from being named as the favourite despite never competing in the French Open before.

By the time the Spaniard has reached the final, he had dumped Roger Federer out of the tournament.

Nadal's victory in the final against the Argentinian Mariano Puerta saw him bestowed as the 'King of the Clay'.

Wayne Rooney – Manchester United (2004)

Wayne Rooney had already been turning heads for Everton when he signed for Manchester United.

However, it was at Old Trafford that the young Englishman would make his maiden appearance in the Champions League, and for United

Rooney had been off with an injury since his last competitive game at Euro 2004, and it had been almost 100 days since his last competitive game when he lined up against Fenerbahce.

The United legend bagged a hat-trick as United put the Turkish giants to the sword in an emphatic performance.

Paula Radcliffe – London Marathon (2002)

After finding success in cross-country, British distance runner Paula Radcliffe set her sights on the marathon.

Her debut marathon was her home race, in London, and Radcliffe won the event setting a course record in the process.

Incredibly, Radcliffe expressed her annoyance at not beating the world record once she had finished.

However, she didn't have to wait long for that record to tumble, and at the 2003 London Marathon, she beat it by over a minute.

Boris Becker – Wimbledon (1985)

In 1985 Boris Becker was a fry cry from the tennis legend who is fondly remembered today.

An unknown, unseeded, 17-year-old Becker arrived at Wimbledon to become the youngest men's singles champion in history.

Becker overcame the South African Kevin Curry in the final to produce one of the all-time sporting shocks.

The German defended his title in 1986 before adding a third to his name in 1989.

Eddy Merckx – Tour de France (1969)

Before Pogacar took home three jerseys in 2020, and again in 2021, there was only one man that achieved that accomplishment in history.

Eddy Merckx, known as 'The Cannibal' for his appetite to win, is widely regarded as the finest cyclist in history.

Merckx won six stages on his way to overall victory, and his margin of almost 18 minutes remains the largest winning gap post Second World War.

The Belgian went on to add another four Tour de France titles to his palmarès before his retirement.

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