September 12, (THEWILL) – The life of the latest tennis superstar and emerging global sweetheart, the US Open champion Emma Raducanu, will never be the same again.
The 18-year-old wrote herself into the history books after securing a straight sets 6-4 6-3 victory over fellow teenager and Canadian Lelyah Fernandez on Saturday to end Britain’s 44-year wait for a female Grand Slam champion.
Her string of accomplishments after 10 sensational matches in the last tennis major of the year was only topped by the fact that Queen Elizabeth addressed a letter of congratulations to Raducanu.
Bursting with the excitement for having had the privilege to be directly addressed by Her Majesty, the teenager claimed she plans on framing the letter because it literally “meant everything” to be a recipient of a letter from the Queen, who Raducanu said is “a great inspiration and role model for the whole country.”
The Queen’s letter 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.”
In addition to the Queen’s were messages from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who hailed the teenager’s “stunning performances and historic Grand Slam victory,” while the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “we are all hugely proud of you” and praised Raducanu’s “extraordinary skill, poise and guts.”
Raducanu has now gone from obscurity to the limelight through the exquisitely stunning tennis she played from her qualifier through to winning the final at Flushing Meadows.
The records the A-levels student from Kent set were astounding. Her victory made her the first Briton to win a major since Virginia Wade, who was there courtside in person to watch the final for herself, did so at Wimbledon in 1977. Raducanu was also the first ever qualifier to triumph in a Grand Slam, in either the men’s or women’s game in the history of the competition, just as she is the first British US Open champion in 53 years.
She was never taken to a tie-break and never lost a set from start to finish. For this outstanding performance, she earned for herself a huge jump in ranking, going from 150th place to 23rd whilst taking home a £1.8million cheque, more than her entire career winnings put together.
The astronomical difference all of these will make in her life going forward cannot now be deciphered. Raducanu herself was still trying to fathom it all long after she had triumphed over her Canadian opponent.
She said: “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.”
However, she is full of gratitude and is optimistic. Holding on to the trophy, she 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.”