Teenager Emma Raducanu is loving life as queen of Queens

Emma Raducanu vowed to keep her free-swinging and carefree approach to tennis after pulling off one of the great sporting feats with victory at the US Open.

Sunday, 12th September 2021, 12:24 pm

Winning grand slam titles is supposed to be hard – just ask Andy Murray – but his 18-year-old compatriot did not so much clear all the usual hurdles as sidestep them altogether, going home with the trophy in just her second major tournament.

That was an unprecedented feat, as was the fact she won 10 matches at the tournament after coming through qualifying, all of them in straight sets.

Raducanu’s 6-4 6-3 victory over fellow teenager Leylah Fernandez in the final made her the first British woman since Virginia Wade, who was watching from the stands, 44 years ago to win a slam singles title, and the first in New York since Wade in 1968.

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Emma Raducanu after her US Open triumph

Raducanu is yet to win a match on the WTA Tour and little over three months ago she was a full-time schoolgirl completing her A-levels, with competitive tennis having taken a back seat for more than a year.

But the teenager’s extraordinary talent was evident from an early age and she showed in her run to the fourth round of Wimbledon this summer that a big future lay ahead.

Raducanu said: “I’ve always dreamed of winning a grand slam. You say, ‘I want to win a grand slam’, but to have the belief I did, and actually executing, winning a grand slam, I can’t believe it.

“I first started when I was a little girl but I think the biggest thing that you have visions of, for me it was just winning, the winning moment, and going to celebrate with your team in the box.

“That’s been playing in my head a couple of nights. I’ve fallen asleep to that.”

Raducanu’s run has been marked by her calmness, which included shutting out the excitement and hype her achievements have generated back home.

The teenager has been inundated with congratulatory messages, including from the Queen, but she said: “I still haven’t checked my phone.

“I have absolutely no idea what’s going on outside of the little world that we’re in here.

“We’ve just been in the quiet room, just enjoying the moment, taking it all in. I think today we just really need to shut out from everything, just enjoy it as a team, because it was a team effort.

“I have no idea when I’m going home. I have no idea what I’m doing tomorrow. I definitely think it’s the time to just switch off from any future thoughts or any plans, any schedule. I’ve got absolutely no clue. Right now, no care in the world, I’m just loving life.”