Emma Raducanu completed her stunning fairy tale in New York on Saturday night, winning the US Open in a nailbiting final and making history as the first British woman to take a tennis Grand Slam title in 44 years.
The 18-year-old – who was sitting her A-levels earlier this year – was dubbed a ‘bloody marvel’; after injuring her knee in a fall; but rose to serve an ace to seal a 6-4, 6-3 victory over rival Leylah Fernandez.
”If you believe in yourself then anything is possible,” the teenager declared moments before stepping on to the court for the biggest match of her young life.
Falling to the ground at the end of a tense 1 hour 51-minute match; Raducanu cried tears of joy as she won the tournament without dropping a single set.
”It’s a miracle,” said former Wimbledon champion Chris Evert. ”This is a kid no one had ever heard of until a couple of weeks ago. Now she’s the biggest name in sport. She’s stolen all our hearts.”
After her victory, Raducanu flashed her trademark huge grin.
She said: ”Thank you to everyone here in New York for making me feel so at home; from my first qualifying match all the way through to the finals. Leylah’s always going to play great tennis and always going to fight… I knew I had to dig deep.
”I think it shows that the future of women’s tennis – and just the depth of the game right now – is so great. I think every single player in the women’s draw definitely has a shot of winning at any tournament.
”And I hope that the next generation can follow in the steps of some of the greatest legends,” she added; naming Billie Jean King, who presented her with the trophy.
As jubilant Britons celebrated the teen being anointed the new Queen of the court; the 23,771-strong crowd in New York’s packed Arthur Ashe Stadium roared their approval and gave the new champ a standing ovation.
But missing from Emma’s big day were her parents Renee and Ian as draconian Covid restrictions had kept them out of America.
As well as the trophy, Emma will pocket £1.8 million in winnings. But she had to forgo the traditional post-match champagne as she is under 21, the legal age to drink alcohol in the US.
Emma is now tipped to earn up to £100 million from sponsorship deals; is favourite to be named BBC Sports Personality of the Year and may even be honoured by the Queen.
The teen rose brilliantly to the biggest game of her life despite having dropped out of Wimbledon during the quarter-finals in July after suffering a panic attack on court. But all that was forgotten yesterday as she stormed to victory.
Raducanu said she hoped her historic win would inspire others.
;’It means a lot to me that one day a little girl or boy might pick up a racket because they watched me play tennis.”