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247 News Around The World
Emma’s joy tinged with sadness: British Grand Slam winner Raducanu, 18, says she ‘wished her parents were there’ to watch her win US Open after Covid rules kept them in UK… but reveals ‘we don’t talk so much about tennis’
- Emma Raducanu admitted she wished her parents were with her to watch her win the US Open final
- Raducanu, 18, beat 19-year-old Canadian Leylah Fernandez 6-4, 6-3, at Flushing Meadows on Saturday night
- She told reporters she doesn’t talk much about tennis with her mother and ‘tough to please’ father
British tennis superstar Emma Raducanu has admitted that she wished her parents were in New York to watch her win the astonishing US Open final on Saturday after draconian Covid rules kept them in Britain in a candid post-match press conference.
The 18-year-old from Kent, who became Britain’s first female Grand Slam champion in 44 years after beating Canadian rival Lelyah Fernandez in straight sets at Flushing Meadows, revealed she doesn’t talk much about tennis with her parents.
Raducanu also said her ‘tough to please’ father told her ‘you’re even better than I thought’ after becoming the first Briton to win a major since Virginia Wade at Wimbledon in 1977 and the first qualifier to triumph in a Grand Slam, in either the men’s or women’s game.
She told reporters: ‘I speak to my parents, we don’t really talk so much about tennis but they just really want to know how I am in these moments and, you know, to not have them here with me, I would have loved them to be here and we can all celebrate together or they could be with me and experience the same things but you know, they’re watching from home very proud.
‘My dad said to me ‘you’re even better than your dad thought’ so that was reassuring. My dad’s definitely very tough to please but I managed to today.’
Raducanu’s parents Ian and Renee Raducanu have been hugely influential in their daughter’s remarkable journey. Romanian Ian and Renee, who is Chinese, were living in Toronto, Canada, when only child Emma was born, and the family moved to the UK when she was two.
Both work in finance and home is in a cul-de-sac in Bromley, south-east London, where Emma and her dad would hit tennis balls together in the street during the Covid lockdowns. However, they weren’t able to travel to the US to attend the tournament because of Covid rules.
In an interview with the BBC after posing for photos outside Arthur Ashe Stadium, Raducanu also said it ‘meant everything’ to get a letter from the Queen congratulating the teenager on her astonishing victory on Saturday and revealed she is planning on framing the note.
‘It meant everything to get a message from Her Majesty. She’s such a great inspiration and role model for the whole country so to have a note from her… ‘I was extremely honoured and very very grateful that she took notice of my tennis,’ she said.
‘I can’t believe it. I’m maybe going to frame that letter or something.’
A message from the Queen at Balmoral to the teenager read: ‘I send my congratulations to you on your success in winning the United States Open Tennis Championships. It is a remarkable achievement at such a young age, and is testament to your hard work and dedication.
‘I have no doubt your outstanding performance, and that of your opponent, Leylah Fernandez, will inspire the next generation of tennis players. I send my warmest good wishes to you and your many supporters.’
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also hailed Raducanu’s ‘stunning performances and historic Grand Slam victory’, while Prime Minister Boris Johnson said ‘we are all hugely proud of you’ as he praised the Briton’s ‘extraordinary skill, poise and guts’.
Life will never be the same again for the teenager, who was born in Canada and moved to London when she was just two, as she claims a £1.8million cheque – more than her entire career winnings to date – and soars up the rankings from 150 to 23.
British tennis superstar Emma Raducanu has admitted that she wished her parents were in New York to watch her win the astonishing US Open final on Saturday after draconian Covid rules kept them in Britain in a candid post-match press conference
Raducanu’s parents Ian (top right) and Renee Raducanu (bottom left) have been hugely influential in their daughter’s remarkable journey (pictured at Wimbledon). Romanian Ian and Renee, who is Chinese, were living in Toronto, Canada, when only child Emma was born, and the family moved to the UK when she was two
Raducanu poses with the trophy after defeating Leylah Annie Fernandez during the Women’s Singles final match
Raducanu said it ‘meant everything’ to get a letter from the Queen congratulating the teenager on her astonishing US Open championship victory on Saturday and revealed she is planning on framing the note
Raducanu looks overjoyed as she holds her first major trophy aloft. Speaking afterwards, Raducanu appeared totally stunned, saying: ‘I’m still just so shocked, still in the moment. I can’t believe I came through that last service game. It honestly means absolutely everything to hold this trophy. I just don’t want to let go’
Raducanu plants a kiss on the coveted US Open trophy as the adoring fans at Flushing Meadows applaud and cheer the young Briton who has made history – not just as the first Brit to win a major in 44 years, but as the first qualifier to claim a major title, in either the men’s or the women’s game
Raducanu gives the trophy a hug after knocking aside her Canadian opposition in straight sets
Raducanu poses beside the runner-up Fernandez. The pair shared a hug despite some late drama in the final game as the Canadian became upset about a Raducanu time-out for a grazed knee
Raducanu holds her new trophy in an embrace (left) and posing for photos after her sensational, historic victory
Emma Raducanu is handed the US Open trophy by American former No. 1 Billie Jean King at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York
Emma Raducanu holds her head in her hands after beating Leyla Fernandez in the Arthur Ashe Stadium in front of 24,000. Life will never be the same again for the teenager as she claims a £1.8 million cheque – more than her entire career winnings to date – as well as moving up in the rankings from 150 to 23.
Raducanu and Fernandez, players who have known each other since they were 12, embrace on the court after the final
Emma Raducanu fell to the ground and put her hands over her face after beating the Canadian 6-4, 6-3, in front of 24,000 at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York.
The 18-year-old drops to the ground after beating the Canadian 6-4, 6-3 at the Arthur Ashe
Raducanu opened up her knee in the final game with the scored tied up at 40-40, prompting furious complaints from Fernandez who believed she was playing for time
The crowd erupts in jubilation at Raducanu’s old tennis club in Beckenham. Suzanne Williams (centre) her former coach raises her arms into the air
Joyous crowds at Raducanu’s former tennis club in Beckenham
‘I’m still just so shocked, still in the moment,’ a stunned Raducanu said after the historic match. ‘I can’t believe I came through that last service game. It honestly means absolutely everything to hold this trophy. I just don’t want to let go.’
Tennis pundits heralded the victory as a landmark victory for the sport. Wimbledon champion Chris Evert said: ‘It’s a miracle. This is a kid no one had ever heard of until a couple of weeks ago. Now she’s the biggest name in sport. She’s stolen all our hearts.’
After her victory, Raducanu planted a kiss on the silver trophy and beamed at the adoring 24,000 fans inside the Arthur Ashe. The Briton said: ‘Thank you to everyone here in New York for making me feel so at home from my first qualifying match all the way through to the finals. Leylah’s always going to play great tennis and always going to fight… I knew I had to dig deep.
‘I think it shows that the future of women’s tennis – and just the depth of the game right now – is so great. I think every single player in the women’s draw definitely has a shot of winning at any tournament.
‘I hope that the next generation can follow in the steps of some of the greatest legends’, she added, naming Billie Jean King, who presented her with the trophy.
The first set was a nail-biter, with the games toing and froing from deuce to advantage and back to deuce again as the teenagers played fearless high-speed rallies from the baseline.
But in the second set, Fernandez’s wayward serving let her down and Raducanu was able to turn the screw as she was handed freebies from the double faults.
The final game was fraught with controversy as Raducanu took time out for treatment after grazing her knee with the score poised at 30-40.
Fernandez furiously remonstrated with the umpire, complaining that the Briton was slowing the game down while she was on a roll.
Raducanu was unfazed as she returned to the court with a patch over her knee and the game continued to yet another deuce before the Brit lashed down a ferocious ace on her third match point.
Britain’s Billie Jean King Cup captain Anne Keothavong described Raducanu’s victory as one of the greatest sporting achievements ever.
‘It still feels so surreal – that was just an incredible performance from Emma, and from Leylah,’ she said.
‘A really high-quality tennis match from two teenagers, but honestly I never thought I would see a British female lift a grand slam trophy in my lifetime. I can’t put it into words how huge this is.
‘This is perhaps one of the greatest sporting achievements ever. I am so happy for her and the way she has done it, to not drop a set in the whole tournament, it is not normal and is unheard of.’
Raducanu reached the fourth round at Wimbledon in only her second WTA tournament but stepped up her level in New York.
Keothavong added: ‘She has shown us all she is made for the big stage. It is just an unbelievable achievement and her life will be very different from now onwards. She has the ability to be right up there at the top of the women’s game and dominate. Really, the future is looking more than bright.’
Back in Beckenham at Raducanu’s old tennis club the atmosphere was electric throughout as a crowd gathered for a live screening of the match.
Those watching were optimistic, with cheers and applause erupting every time Raducanu won a point, and even louder when she took the lead.
Harry Bushnell, who coached Raducanu from the age of six to 10, said: ‘I think it’s a testament to her because she’s such a pleasant person, on and off the court, and I think that’s why so many people are getting behind her and certainly here at the club.
‘Parklangley club will always be behind her every step of the way.’
Raducanu, 18, is the first qualifier to reach a slam final and is bidding to become the first British woman to win one of the sport’s biggest trophies since Virginia Wade in 1977.
Suzanne Williams, her former strength and conditioning coach, said: ‘It’s absolutely incredible just to see her develop and become this player when I knew her when she was so young, from eight to 12 years old.
‘Of course you could see there was some incredible potential there but to see her on the screen in this environment is incredible.’
She added: ‘The sky is the limit, she’s still not reached her full potential, she didn’t play for months because of her A-Levels so she’s got so much left in the tank.’
Speaking just before walking on court, Raducanu said: ‘The time has flown here in New York. I’ve just been taking it one match at a time and it has got me to the final.
Raducanu rises to get herself over the top of a high ball to knock a return back to Fernandez
Raducanu sprints across the court to return a shot from the Canadian Fernandez during the first set of the final at the Arthur Ashe Stadium
Raducanu rues a missed point in the hard-fought first set against her Canadian opponent
Raducanu gives a shout after winning a point (left) and leaping into the air to fire off a serve
Leylah Fernandez, of Canada, returns a shot to Emma Raducanu, of Britain, during the women’s singles final of the US Open
Fernandez strikes a two-handed forearm shot back to her opponent
Raducanu clenches her fist after taking a point in the first set of the final of the US Open
Suzanne Williams, Strength and Conditioning coach for Emma Raducanu aged 8-12 at the Parklangley Club in Beckenham, where Emma trained from age 6 get ready to watch her in the US Open Final
Raducanu yells after a point as she gives herself a morale boost after claiming another point against the Canadian
Raducanu returns a shot from Fernandez as they get underway in the US Open final
Raducanu gets herself set up to lash a backhand back to her opponent
Raducanu looks up to the stands as she walks out with her bag over her shoulders for the final
Raducanu and her opponent walk out to rapturous applause at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing Meadows
Former British professional tennis player, Viginia Wade, left, waits for play between Emma Raducanu, of Britain, and Leylah Fernandez, of Canada. Raducau is hoping to make history as the first British woman to win a major since Ms Wade at Wimbledon 44 years ago.
Fernandez of Canada waves to the fans as she takes to the court ahead of the final clash
The American fans go wild for Raducanu as she walks out onto the court at Arthur Ashe Stadium
Raducanu walks out onto the court at Arthur Ashe on Saturday afternoon hoping to make it a fairytale in New York.
‘I’m going to go out there and enjoy it today. It’s so exciting in my second grand slam to be in the final. I can’t really believe it but I can’t wait to get stuck in. I’m sure the crowd will be great so it will be a really positive experience.’
Those at the club in Beckenham hailed Raducanu as an inspiration to the younger players and beyond.
Ms Williams said: ‘For girls to know that it is in their reach because they’re at the same place she was, it doesn’t feel too far removed from them, it’s just incredible for them to get this role model.’
Speaking about other children playing at the club, she said: ‘They are just pushing themselves a lot harder and want to do a lot more, they are trying to do a few more things at the gym, it’s really exciting.’
Not since Ms Wade lifted her most famous title at Wimbledon in 1977 has a British woman reaches these heights.
That the player to achieve the feat is an 18-year-old taking her first real steps in the professional game makes this one of the most extraordinary stories in all sport.
Ms Wade – who was in New York to watch the match tonight – called Raducanu the ‘real thing’.
She told ITV this week: ‘I can’t tell you how exciting it is.
‘We’ve been waiting such a long time for a British player on the women’s side to really come through. Every time you watch her you think she’s going to win every point out there. You don’t even get that nervous. It was remarkable.
‘I’m sure she is the real thing, you don’t get someone head and shoulders above that often and I think she’s one of those.
‘She’s stopping all her opponents in their tracks and she’s got an incredible future ahead of her. If it doesn’t happen on Saturday (win a grand slam) it’s going to happen sooner or later because she is really good.’
Fernandez is just two months older than Raducanu and the pair have known each other since they competed at under-12 level.
‘We first encountered each other because I was born in Toronto and she was Canadian, so we kind of made a little relationship back then,’ said Raducanu, who won their only previous meeting in the girls’ singles at Wimbledon three years ago.
‘Obviously since then we’ve both come very far in our games and as people. I’m sure it’s going to be extremely different to when we last encountered each other. But we’re both playing good tennis so it will be a good match.’
The pair share an immigrant background. Raducanu, who moved to the UK when she was two, has a Romanian father and Chinese mother while Fernandez has Ecuadorian, Peruvian and Filipino heritage.
The Canadian is coached by her father Jorge, who believes the final is a significant moment for the women’s game.
The former footballer said before the match: ‘I see they’re both bringing a type of game that is not common right now on the circuit.
‘I see that they bring a flair that is very unique for them. I’m glad that they’re touching the Asian community. I think that’s a huge opportunity in the women’s game.
‘I think it’s just positive for the game. Obviously I want Leylah to win. That goes without saying. But I just think that the match-up and what we’re seeing, those two ladies are touching a lot of young girls.
‘I’m getting messages about, ‘Please pass this to Leylah’, little girls saying, ‘You’re making us believe’. This can only be good for the tennis game and the WTA altogether.’
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