Sunday, September 12, 2021 8:58 am
By Nehru Odeh
Emma Raducanu has won the US Open. She achieved this feat by defeating Leylah Annie Fernandez in two sets, 6-4, 6-3.
In a fiercely intense match that was dubbed the first all teenage tennis final, since Serena Williams v Martina Hingis in 1999 Raducanu, 18, defeated Fernandez of Canada, 19, without dropping a set.
Still, the remarkable thing about the teenager’s victory is that she has killed many birds with one stone by breaking many records with this win.
Not only is she the first Briton to win a grand slam title in 44 years, she is the first female tennis player to win a grand slam at 18 since Maria Sharapova in 2004. And she just completed her A ‘levels this summer
Her professional career only began three months ago and she has never been a direct entrant to a grand slam main draw.
She has yet to play a tour-level set match and has not ever won a match at a WTA tour event. To cap it all, she is the first qualifier, man or woman, to win a grand slam title
“First of all, I really want to congratulate Leylah and her team, she played some incredible tennis and has beaten some of the top players in the world,” Raducanu said in her victory speech.
“The level was extremely high and I hope we play each other in many more tournaments and hopefully finals. As for this three weeks in New York, I would say having such a supportive team, the LTA, my agent, and everyone back home watching on TV, thank you so much for your support over the years.
“Thank you for making me feel so at home from my first qualifying match, you have spurred me on in some difficult moments and I hope me and Leylah put on a good match today. Leylah is always going to play great tennis and fight, that is why she is in the final, I knew I would have to dig deep.
“I fell somehow and thought that would throw me off balance – I was praying not for a double fault! We got through it and focused on the process and mindset, that really helped in those tough times.
“It shows the future of women’s tennis and depth of the game is so great, every player in the draw has a shot at winning any tournament, I hope the next generation can follow in the steps of some of the legends, for example Billie Jean right here. It means so much to have Virginia Wade here and also Tim Henman, British icons and for me to follow in their footsteps… it gave me the belief I could do it.”
Fernandez said: “It is incredible. I have no idea what to say. Today is going to be hard but Emma played amazing. Congratulations. I am very proud of myself and having the New York crowd has been amazing. Thank you so much New York. Thank you everyone.
“I know on this day it was especially hard for New York and everyone around the US. I hope I can be as strong and resilient as New York has been the last 20 years. I love you New York and hope to see you next year.”
It is surely only the start for the British teenager.