US Open 2021 - 'It means so much' - Britain's Emma Raducanu stunned by Grand Slam glory in New York
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.
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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.
"First of all, I really want to congratulate Leylah and her team, she played some incredible tennis and has beaten some of the top players in the world," Raducanu said in her victory speech.
"The level was extremely high and I hope we play each other in many more tournaments and hopefully finals. As for this three weeks in New York, I would say having such a supportive team, the LTA, my agent, and everyone back home watching on TV, thank you so much for your support over the years.
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
"Thank you for making me feel so at home from my first qualifying match, you have spurred me on in some difficult moments and I hope me and Leylah put on a good match today.
"Leylah is always going to play great tennis and fight, that is why she is in the final, I knew I would have to dig deep.
"I fell somehow and thought that would throw me off balance - I was praying not for a double fault! We got through it and focused on the process and mindset, that really helped in those tough times.
"It shows the future of women's tennis and depth of the game is so great, every player in the draw has a shot at winning any tournament, I hope the next generation can follow in the steps of some of the legends, for example Billie Jean right here.
"It means so much to have Virginia Wade here and also Tim Henman, British icons and for me to follow in their footsteps... it gave me the belief I could do it."
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
Image credit: Getty Images
Fernandez said: "It is incredible. I have no idea what to say. Today is going to be hard but Emma played amazing.
"Congratulations. I am very proud of myself and having the New York crowd has been amazing. Thank you so much New York. Thank you everyone.
"I know on this day it was especially hard for New York and everyone around the US. I hope I can be as strong and resilient as New York has been the last 20 years. I love you New York and hope to see you next year."
It is surely only the start for the British teenager - and for Fernandez - in what is already a distinguished career as she celebrated a quite astonishing journey from qualifier to Grand Slam champion.