US Open women’s champion, Emma Raducanu of Great Britain, said after defeating 19-year-old Leylah Fernandez of Canada 6-4, 6-3 in an all-teenage final on Sunday (IST) that she had visions that she was “hugging everyone” and “celebrating” a couple of days back.
“It’s an absolute dream,” Raducanu said in her victory press conference. “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.
“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. I’ve fallen asleep to that,” the 18-year-old player who has had a perfect three weeks in New York told wtatennis.com.
Raducanu first made it through three rounds of qualifying without the loss of a set and was equally composed in her main-draw debut, where she also did not drop a set in seven matches.
“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. I think to pull off some of the shots I did in the big moments when I really needed it was just an accumulation of everything I’ve learnt in the past five weeks,” said Raducanu.
The 18-year-old dropped her racquet and fell to the court at Arthur Ashe Stadium the moment she hit the winnign shot and hands over her face, she sobbed, trying to fathom what had just been achieved.
Raducanu became the first qualifier in the history of the Open Era to win a major title and the first woman to win a major title in her second Grand Slam event. By comparison, Chris Evert and Venus Williams both got to the final in their third major — but lost.
Raducanu was ranked No.150 among WTA players coming in and followinf the US Open triumph, she’ll be an amazing No.23.
“I think what I did very well this tournament was press in the moments that I really needed to. I guess that’s why I didn’t drop a set on paper, even though all of the matches were extremely challenging,” she said.
Looking back on the ace that won her trophy, Raducanu said, “I don’t think I made one serve that wide in the whole match, to be honest. I was like, ‘If I’m going to make it, this is going to be the time.’ I literally drove my legs up to that ball toss like never before. I landed it. Just disbelief, trying to take everything in, all the moment.”
On the match, Raducanu said, “I knew that I’d have to dig deep. We got through it, I think just staying in the moment, focusing on what I had to do and my process and the mindset really helped in those tough times.”
Radacanu had reached the fourth round at Wimbledon but had to retire when she had difficulty breathing. In just over two months, she has mastered her nerves, and navigated a tough path by winning three qualifying matches and seven in the main draw. Her opponents included Shelby Rogers — who had just upset world No.1 Ashleigh Barty of Australia — Olympic gold medallist Belinda Bencic of Switzerland and Maria Sakkari of Greece in the semifinals.
Raducanu said she was just trying to embrace the moment and let the feeling sink in.
“I have no idea what I’m doing tomorrow. I’m just really trying to embrace the moment, really take it all in. I definitely think it’s the time to just switch off from any future thoughts or any plans, any schedule. I’ve got absolutely no clue. Right now, no care in the world, I’m just loving life.”