EMMA RADUCANU appeared to be enjoying some chemistry with a French motorbiking legend, which has set alight the curiosity of Instagram fans.
Tennis ace Emma Raducanu, 19, and French biker Fabio Quartararo, who is just four years her senior, have been kindling a friendship on social media recently – and eagle-eyed fans who discovered their connection are hoping it might lead to something more. It is believed the pair may have connected over their shared love of biking, something which Emma had developed a passion for while growing up.
Wimbledon champ Emma received a lobster emoji from Fabio on one of her posts, leaving fans to query whether he might have been “fishing” for her attention.
The biking star is flagged by some as a strong contender to win the world MotoGP championship.
Meanwhile, Emma raced motorbikes and go-karts as a child ahd has described herself in the past in a true “adrenalin junkie”, so it’s clear that she and Fabio have something in common.
It was quite intimidating in the beginning to get out of my shell and actually begin to really enjoy what I was doing because I was so scared
Yet the subject of speculation is whether their chats might already have blossomed into a romance.
Emma told the world that her childhood had involved motorbiking and dirt biking via her Romanian father, who gave her the encouragement that it was okay not to conform to traditional gender roles.
“He’s all about being different and not caring what other people may have thought,” she told Vogue magazine about his role in her passion.
“When I was younger, I was the only girl in my group karting or doing motocross, and I thought it was pretty cool.”
Motorsports only took a back seat in her life when she began to achieve success in competitive tennis and had to centre it on her calendar.
However, she has firmly insisted she still intends to get her motorbiking license.
Earlier this year, she also got atop a dirt bike on the Canada Heights track in Kent for an advertising campaign.
She was representing Nike, with whom she has a £100,000 sponsorship deal.
The motocross fanatic filmed her progress on the bike using a selfie stick, and the subsequent photos went viral.
Now, with a biking pro like Fabio there for her, her hobby no doubt has the potential to blossom even further.
“The whole squad I was in was all boys,” she explained.
“It was quite intimidating in the beginning to get out of my shell and actually begin to really enjoy what I was doing because I was so scared.”
Despite her career’s challenges, Emma has many admirers and supporters in her corner, receiving unexpected tweets of support from rocker Liam Gallagher and even astronaut Tim Peake.
Romantically, she had previously been linked to YouTuber and Strictly Come Dancing star HRVY.
However, despite him gushing publicly that she was “amazing”, the Wimbledon champ unfollowed him on Instagram a mere matter of weeks later.
Now the face of Porsche, with a well-publicised appetite for supercars, Emma’s thrill-seeking hobbies continue.
Last week, she suffered a temporary setback when she was forced to withdraw from the Italian Open in Rome last week with a back injury, just hours into her match with Bianca Andreescu.
She hopes to be back out on the court in the months to come.