It’s fair to say that until June of this year Emma Raducanu was just another teenager with potential among so many other young women trying to succeed on the world circuit. When Wimbledon started, the 18-year-old Brit, who was born in Canada and has a Romanian father and a Chinese mother, was the worst-ranked tennis player in the bracket and needed an invitation from the organization to be among the 128 participants.
Since then, Raducanu’s life has been quite emotional. First, it shocked the world by reaching the round of 16 at Wimbledon. Then, on July 5th, he felt ill on the court and withdrew from the match against Australian Ajla Tomljanovic. Now, just over a month later, the young woman has the US Open trophy in her hands and has written her name in the record book with a handful of scary marks. So let’s look at some facts and facts about the newest slam champion on the women’s circuit.
1. From quali to title
Raducanu is the first person to win a slam title after qualifying. Before her, no one had even reached the final. What’s more: the British not only won the ten matches she needed to win, but she did it without losing sets. In his campaign, he surpassed, in sequence, Bibiane Schoofs (6/1 and 6/2), Mariam Bolkvadze (6/3 and 7/5), Mayar Sherif (6/1 and 6/4), Stefanie Voegele (6/ 2 and 6/3), Shuai Zhang (6/2 and 6/4), Sara Sorribes Tormo (6/0 and 6/1), Shelby Rogers (6/2 and 6//1), Belinda Bencic (6/3 and 6/4), Maria Sakkari (6/1 and 6/4) and Leylah Fernandez (6/4 and 6/3).
2. An unprecedented ending without key heads
Saturday’s decision was the first of the Open Era (from 1968) without a seed. Raducanu, number 150 in the world until this Sunday, entered via qualifying. Leylah Fernandez was 73rd on the WTA list. It was also just the ninth slam final between two teenage girls in the Open Era and the first since the 1999 US Open, when Serena Williams, then 17, beat Martina Hingis, 18, 6/3 and 7/6(4 ).
3. Youngest British
Among the four Brits who reached slam finals in the Open Era, Raducanu was the youngest. The others were Virginia Wade in 1968, Ann Jones in 1969, and Sue Barker in 1976.
4. Giant leap in ranking
Number 150 in the world when the US Open started, Raducanu will appear this Monday as 23rd in the world rankings. She takes the #1 position in Britain, surpassing Johanna Konta, who spent 310 weeks as the UK’s highest-ranked tennis player.
5. From zero to millionaire in three months
Even before Wimbledon, Raducanu had made only about $40,000 in all the professional tournaments he’d played in. In the grass slam, the teenager won US$ 254,000 with her campaign until the last eight. Now, with the US Open title, Emma can officially consider herself a millionaire. She receives US$ 2.5 million for the achievement in New York. The value is equivalent to about eight times what the young woman had added in her entire career until the end of August.
6. 275,000 followers in one day
On the eve of the US Open final, Raducanu had 725,000 followers on Instagram. After the title, on Saturday night, the number was already over one million. Before Wimbledon, there were about 2,000.
7. Congratulations from the Queen
Emma even received a letter signed by Queen Elizabeth after the final. “I congratulate you on your success in winning the US Open. It is a memorable achievement at such a young age and is a testament to your hard work and dedication. I have no doubt that your extraordinary performance, like that of your opponent, Leyla Fernandez, will inspire the next generation of tennis players. I send warm congratulations to you and your many supporters.”
8. 44 years fast
Raducanu is the first British woman to win a slam in singles since 1977, when Virginia Wade was Wimbledon champion. A 44-year fast comes to an end.
9. List beside Guga
Raducanu joins the tiny group of tennis players who won their first WTA (or ATP) level title in a slam. The list has Swedish Mats Wilander, Latvian Jelena Ostapenko, Polish Iga Swiatek and… yes, Brazilian Gustavo Kuerten.
10. School is fundamental
In 2018, Raducanu was number 20 in the world as a juvenile and competed in six slams for tennis players up to 18 years old. His best results came at Wimbledon and the US Open, where he reached the quarterfinals. The young woman, however, never left her studies aside. She recently finished high school and now says that staying in school helped a lot.
“I think staying in high school definitely helped me in terms of having another group of friends that I can look for. It was a different life. It’s like an escape for me. Having something other than tennis kept my mind busy,” he said at Wimbledon.
“When you train, you only have a certain amount of time a day for that. You walk around and have a lot of time to fill. [A escola] helped keep my mind active. I think it helped me on court also in the way I absorb a lot of information. I think on court I’m tactically smarter than some others.”…
11. Passion for disposable cameras
In a recent interview with the LTA, young Emma said that she has a habit of traveling with disposable cameras (yes, film ones that need to be developed!). She says when she comes back from her travels, it’s like living a new journey wherever she’s been. “They’re a bit old school too, so I like them a lot.”
12. Federation helps
Emma’s development as a tennis player is part of the LTA (Lawn Tennis Association), the British tennis federation. Today, she is part of the LTA’s Pro Scholarship Program, a program that provides medical, financial and psychological support, as well as access to the facilities of the country’s National Training Center. The benefit is granted to the best Britons between 16 and 24 years old. There, planning is more than filling out an application form.
13. From abandonment in London to conquest in NY
At Wimbledon, playing in a Quad 1 full of excited British fans in the round of 16, Raducanu had trouble controlling his breathing, asked for medical attention and withdrew from the match without the audience receiving an explanation as to why he had withdrawn.
The next day, Emma recorded an interview that aired on the official Wimbledon channel and the BBC, explaining what happened. As for the reasons, she said she didn’t know exactly what they were, but gave a good guess: “I don’t know what caused it. I think it was a combination of everything that happened behind the scenes over the past week and the buildup of excitement, the buzz. it’s a big learning experience for me, a big step forward and next time I’ll be better prepared.”
Judging by what happened in New York, Raducanu was right.
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