Emma Raducanu relied on ironclad concentration and a sense of purpose as the British teen blocked out distracting memories from Wimbledon to win an historic US Open title.
The 18-year-old who will rise instantly into the tennis elite after her 6-4, 6-3 defeat of Canadian Leylah Fernandez in Saturday’s final is the talk of world sport after charging to the Grand Slam trophy from an unprecedented qualifying state and winning 10 straight matches without losing a set. .
“The the biggest triumph for me is how I managed to just not think of absolutely anything else except for my game plan, what I’m going to execute,” .the new No. 27 said.
“I didn’t really think anything other than what was going on on the tennis court. All the outside stuff, I just completely zoned in and focused on my craft.”
Raducanu reportedly left her phone in the custody of her support team during much of her three- week run in New York, wisely refusing to let outside distractions corrupt her tennis.
“When I was on the court, it was just business as usual, focusing on the plays. That’s the biggest thing that I’m proud of. I think that’s definitely the biggest thing that’s probably helped me to win this title.”
The teenager who three months ago was just another schoolgirl taking her A levels, played her first WTA match last June – a loss in Birmingham – and reached the Wimbledon fourth round.
But breathing difficulties likely caused by psychological factors and the overwhelming sense of occasion forced her to retire at 0-3 in the second set, being walked off court by trainers.
But that setback was buried in the unexpected New York explosion of form for the London player who received a personal note of congratulations from the Queen released at 11:30 p.m. London time after her Open victory.
“The atmosphere was absolutely incredible today,” Raducanu said. “The amount of fans and spectators in the crowd, I was very
surprised by the turnout, to be honest (in the 23,500-capacity Ashe stadium)
“But I was really loving just playing in front of crowds and fans again.”
She added: “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 the biggest thing for me was just winning,: the winning moment.
“Going to celebrate with your team in the box, trying to find your way up to the box, just seeing them after the match. That’s been playing in my head, like,
a couple nights. Like I’ve fallen asleep to that.”
Main photo:- Emma Raducanu shows off the trophy in South Plaza – by Rhea Nall/USTA