“An absolute dream” US Open winner Raducanu can’t believe she is already a Grand Slam champion

18-year-old Emma Raducanu had to win three matches to qualify for the US Open main draw. On Saturday, she defeated Leylah Fernandez to win her first Grand Slam singles title and become one of the most unexpected Grand Slam champions

Emma Raducanu of Great Britain celebrates with the championship trophy after her match on day thirteen of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

British teen Emma Raducanu, aged 18, described winning the US Open as “an absolute dream” and added that she would have never believed it if anyone would have told her before Wimbledon that she would become a Grand Slam champion this soon.

On Saturday, Raducanu defeated fellow teen Leylah Fernandez 6-4, 6-3 to win the US Open and become the first qualifier, male or female, in the history of tennis to win a Grand Slam title. She also created a series of other-firsts to create perhaps the most unexpected winner’s storyline in tennis history.

“It’s an absolute dream. You just have visions of yourself going up to the box, hugging everyone, celebrating. That’s something that you always think of, you always work for. For that moment to actually happen, I’m just so grateful for my team that are here with me, the team that are back home, the LTA, every single person who supported me along this journey.”

Raducanu’s dream vision

Like every aspiring tennis professional, Raducanu said she had dreamt about winning a Grand Slam title ever since she was a young girl.

“The visions I had (about winning a Grand Slam), they were from pretty early on, I would say. I’ve always dreamed of winning a Grand Slam. You just say these things. 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 I think the biggest thing that you have visions of is, for me it was just winning, the winning moment, and 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 (smiling).”

“Everything came together today” – Raducanu on her incredible run

Even though she had dreams to win a Grand Slam since she was a kid, nobody, not even, Raducanu herself, would have expected her Grand Slam success to come this soon. However, the Brit put her success down to her hard work over the past few months.

“I wouldn’t have believed it at all, because at the beginning of the grass courts, I was coming fresh off my exams,” Raducanu said when asked if she would have believed someone who told her she would win a Major a few months earlier. “I had three weeks to practice before my first tournament. I just built up every single match, every single win. I thought Wimbledon was such an incredible experience. Fourth round, second week, I couldn’t believe it.

I thought Wimbledon was such an incredible experience. Fourth round, second week, I couldn’t believe it.

Emma Raducanu

“But I was still hungry. I was working hard after the grass. I didn’t have much time off. Then straight back out here on the States. With each match and tournament and week, I think I’ve really built in terms of confidence, in terms of my game, in terms of my ball striking. Everything came together today.”

The Brit, who was playing in only her second Grand Slam main draw as a professional and will climb from No 150 to No 23 in the rankings, added that she was proud of being able to remain focused on her match and not get carried away with the hype and hoopla that has surrounded her run.

I managed to just not think of absolutely anything else except for my game plan.

Emma Raducanu

“I think 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. 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. When I was on the tennis 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.”

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