US Open 2021 - 'I don't think we'll see this again' - Emma Raducanu feat 'unique', says Alex Corretja
Britain's Emma Raducanu, the first qualifier in the Open era to reach a Grand Slam final, was utterly inspired as she beat Canada's Leylah Fernandez in straight sets to win her first major title at the US Open. The two teenagers put on a show to remember with incredible performances on the biggest of stages in the sport, and it was Raducanu who came out on top for a famous triumph.
'She looked so comfortable in the biggest moments' - Wilander in awe of Raducanu
Emma Raducanu made history as she was crowned the 2021 US Open champion to become the first British woman to clinch a Grand Slam singles title for 44 years, and Eurosport's Alex Corretja doubts we will see the likes of this again.
Raducanu, the first qualifier in the Open era to reach a Grand Slam final, was not remotely fazed by the big occasion and held her composure, despite late drama, to make history in becoming the first British woman to win the US Open singles title for 53 years.
The sheer improbability of the teenager's achievement in raising the trophy as a qualifier at Flushing Meadows was hard to grasp for everyone, and Eurosport experts Corretja, Mats Wilander and Barbara Schett all expressed their disbelief.
"She handled it very well," Corretja told Eurosport. "What she did is unique, we’ve never had it before. She was very aggressive from the beginning and then she dealt very well with the pressure as well, serving for the match, a lot of nerves. At the end she showed she was ready and made it 10 matches in a row.
"We don’t need to compare her with other players. Everyone has their own process. The style of Raducanu's game suits the hard courts, because she is very low and can hit the ball through the courts. She is playing just perfectly because her backhand worked well, her forehand, her return, her footwork, everything, and especially her mind.
"The fact she played the week before the Open and played the finals in Chicago gave her a lot of confidence. She went into New York going step by step, but only one player in the second round of the qualifiers got to five games in a set.
I don’t think we will see this again from a player from the qualifiers, not losing games, sets. That’s something superior that Emma did very well. It’s such great news for tennis, women’s tennis and sports in general.
"She was so far down in the rankings but has raced through. The fact that she is very young shows she is fearless and just goes for it. Today it’s not just like she went on the court, she knew the tactics and did it perfectly."
Emma Raducanu of Great Britain celebrates with the championship trophy after defeating Leylah Annie Fernandez of Canada during their Women's Singles final match on Day Thirteen of the 2021 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center
Image credit: Getty Images
Wilander added: "Goosebumps being here and hearing the crowd - rooting for both players because the crowd couldn’t pick one side or another, and it’s unfortunate when you have a loser in a match like this.
"[Raducanu] is way beyond her years as a tennis player, and mentally, she is not 18 up there. I think she is more like 32, and will win way more because of the calmness she showed in the interviews and in her victory speech, I really do.
"I have never heard a crowd in a Grand Slam being this loud, this appreciative of the players and the players responding. This was an epic of a US Open. It was a great comeback of the US Open; it was just an amazing two weeks."
Schett said: "Emma Raducanu has done it. She is the US Open champion 2021 and the youngest champion since Maria Sharapova won Wimbledon in 2004. And she is the first qualifier to have done it. It’s amazing how she kept it together.
"She is having good times not only in matches, but she felt so comfortable in the trophy ceremony. Now she has that big smile we all love so much on her face once again.
"Her life will definitely change, and we will see so many more victories from her, that’s for sure."
Emma Raducanu of Great Britain celebrates winning match point to defeat Leylah Annie Fernandez of Canada during the second set of their Women's Singles final match on Day Thirteen of the 2021 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center