Emma Raducanu has reflected on her startling US Open run after she became the first British woman in 44 years to win a grand slam title, defeating Leylah Annie Fernandez 6-4, 6-3 at Flushing Meadows.
“I really want to congratulate Leylah and her team on an incredible fortnight,” the 18-year-old said during the trophy ceremony. “She played some incredible tennis and beat some of the top players in the world. It was an incredibly difficult match but I thought the level was extremely high. I hope we play each other in many more tournaments and hopefully finals.
“As for the three weeks I’ve spent in New York. I would say that having such a supportive team as I have over there, my coach [Andrew Richardson], Will [Herbert, her physio], the LTA, my agent. Everyone in that team, and everyone who isn’t here but watching on TV, thank you so much for all your support over the years.”
Raducanu, who also became the first ever qualifier in the Open era to win a grand slam title, reflected on the dramatic final game after she grazed her left knee while serving for the match and was forced to take a medical timeout when break point down. The grand slam rulebook mandates that players must receive treatment if they are openly bleeding.
“Leylah is always going to play great tennis and always going to fight. That’s just the competitor she is and that’s why she’s here in the final. I knew that I’d have to dig deep and I fell somehow. I thought that would throw myself off balance because I would have to serve.
“I was just praying not to double fault, really. We got through by just staying in the moment, focusing on what I have to do, my process and my mindset really helped in those tough moments.”
After her speech, Fernandez, 19, returned to the microphone with a final word towards the crowd after competing in New York on the 20th anniversary of 9/11. “I know on this day it’s especially hard for New York and everyone around the United States. I just want to say that I hope I can be as strong and resilient as New York has been the last 20 years,” she said.