|US Open 2021|
|Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Date: 30 August-12 September|
|Coverage: Daily radio commentaries on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra/BBC Sport website and app, with selected live text commentaries and match reports on the website and app|
Emma Raducanu says she does not want to let go of the US Open trophy after her fairytale in New York culminated in the ultimate happy ending.
The 18-year-old is the first British woman to win a Grand Slam singles title in 44 years and did not drop a set.
She’s also the first qualifier to win a major championship.
“Holding this trophy means everything to me, and I don’t want to let go right now,” she told former British number one Tim Henman on Amazon Prime.
“I had strange feelings yesterday that I couldn’t put my finger on – I think that’s normal.” When I returned, it was back to business as usual, one point at a time.
“I had to fight hard for that first set and maintain my lead in the second.” “I came out with some clutch serves at key moments.”
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Her sensational run at Flushing Meadows has captured the public’s attention, and she hopes her victory inspires others to dream big.
“I’ve always wanted to win a Grand Slam.” You simply say these things. “But I can’t believe I had the belief I did and actually won,” she said.
“I started when I was a little girl, but I think the most important thing you have visions of is winning and going to celebrate with your team, trying to work your way up to the box.”
“That’s been going through my head for a couple of nights now.” I’ve dozed off to that.”
‘I’m just taking a swing.’
Raducanu’s victory over Canada’s Leylah Fernandez caps an incredible rise for the Romanian, who only made her WTA main draw debut in June.
She was competing in her second Grand Slam, having advanced to the fourth round of Wimbledon as a wildcard earlier this year.
Raducanu is the youngest female major champion since Maria Sharapova won Wimbledon in 2004 and the youngest British woman to win a Slam.
“It shows the future of women’s tennis and the depth of the game is so great – every player in the draw has a chance to win any tournament,” she said during her on-court interview.
“I hope the next generation can follow in the footsteps of legends like Billie Jean [King] right here.”
She recovered from a bad fall at 5-3 while serving for the match, saving two break points from Fernandez before converting her third championship point.
“I fell and thought it would throw me off balance – I was praying not to make a double mistake!” Raducanu stated this.
“The level was extremely high, and I hope to see you in many more tournaments, and hopefully finals.”
Raducanu won the title after 10 matches, including three qualifying rounds, and beating Olympic champion Belinda Bencic and in-form Maria Sakkari in the quarter and semi-finals, respectively.
“I don’t feel any absolute pressure.” “I’m still only 18 years old, and I’m just swinging at anything that comes my way,” she explained.
“That’s how I approached every match here in America.” Yeah, it got me this trophy, so I’m not going to change anything.”
‘I love you, New York’
Fernandez, who turned 19 on Monday, has had an incredible run in New York, defeating defending champion Naomi Osaka, 2016 champion Angelique Kerber, and second seed Aryna Sabalenka in recent days.
She has been tenacious throughout, winning crucial tie-breaks in four of her last five Flushing Meadows matches.
Because of her engaging personality and brave strokeplay, the teenager quickly became a crowd favourite.
“Today will be difficult, but Emma performed admirably. Sincere congratulations, “She stated.
“I’m very proud of myself, and having the audience has been fantastic. Thank you kindly, New York. Thank you very much to everyone.”
After answering questions, Fernandez requested the microphone to address the New York audience on the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
She lauded the city’s fortitude, saying: “I hope to be as strong and resilient as New York has been over the last two decades. New York, I adore you and hope to see you again next year.”
Fernandez and Raducanu were both born after the attacks, and Fernandez asked her parents about their memories of the day on the morning of the match.
“Obviously, I don’t know much about what happened, but from what little information I do have, I know that New York has suffered a lot in recent years,” she said.
“Just having them [New Yorkers] here happy and lively, just going back to the way they were, having my back during these difficult times has made me stronger and believe in myself.”