Video report by ITV News Correspondent Martha Fairlie
US Open tennis champion Emma Raducanu praised the "inspirational" Duchess of Cambridge "incredible forehand" during a friendly - but "competitive" - game on Friday as the British tennis sensation was officially welcomed home.
Tennis fan Kate congratulated Raducanu on her “seriously impressive” historic win in New York earlier this month that ended the nation’s 44-year wait for a women’s Grand Slam champion.
The duchess practiced doubles with the 18-year-old star at the National Tennis Centre in south-west London. They played alongside Joe Salisbury, the US Open mixed and men’s doubles champion, and wheelchair players Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid – who successfully defended their US Open doubles title.
The Duchess of Cambridge holds her own against US Open champion Emma Raducanu as they trade shots
Before the group picked up their racquets the duchess, a keen tennis fan, player and patron of the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), told the champions: “Amazing guys, honestly, congratulations to all of you – it’s seriously impressive.”
Speaking to ITV News after their game, Raducanu said: "It was brilliant. Her forehand was incredible, I was very, very impressed.
"It was a lot of fun to play tennis the duchess and the other winners too."
She said her and the duchess had caught up "about the US Open and everything all of us have managed to achieve" as they knocked up.
After knocking up, the game took on a competitive edge.
"We were definitely ramping it up after the warm up, everyone has definitely got the competitiveness in them," Raducanu said.
"Her forehand is incredible" - Emma Raducanu praises Kate's tennis skills
The 18-year-old executed a sensational performance against Canada's Leylah Fernandez, becoming the first qualifier to win a grand slam singles title in the Open Era and all without dropping a set.
Raducanu is also the first woman ever to win a title in as few as two tournaments, and the youngest since Maria Sharapova triumphed at Wimbledon in 2004.
Raducanu is the first British woman to win the US Open since 1968 following her 6-4 6-3 victory.
She has split from coach Andrew Richardson following the triumph and is seeking an experienced mentor to help guide her through her next steps on tour.
Richardson previously coached the 18-year-old at Bromley Tennis Centre and was chosen to accompany Raducanu on her US trip because of their familiarity with one another.
“At this stage in my career, and playing the top players in the world, I realised I really need someone right now that has had that WTA Tour experience at the high levels, which means that I’m looking for someone who has been at that level and knows what it takes," she said.
The teenager's life has changed enormously in just a few short months but she said she was staying focused on her tennis.
Raducanu told ITV News she was "just trying to adjust" but training remained her priority.
"I had a full day training yesterday and that's exactly where I want to be. All the opportunities I receive are extremely cool, but I really want to be, and where my head is at, is on the tennis court."
Asked what tips Kate had given her about being thrust into the spotlight, she said the Duchess of Cambridge was "an extremely great role model.
"I think she's an inspiration to the whole country, the way she handles herself is extremely inspirational and I think I can learn a lot from her."
Raducanu is hoping her success will encourage more young people - especially girls - to take her the sport "At a young age I could have easily been like 'oh I don't like tennis because all of these boys are here and I'm the only girl' and I just want to show that you can come through that as a young girl, you can do great things even if you lose to boys sometimes."
Raducanu is now back in training and is mulling over where to return to the tour, with the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells – one of the biggest events on the WTA Tour – due to begin on October 6.