Raducanu stormed to US Open glory without dropping a single set; the 18-year lost just 34 games across the entire tournament to become Britain's first female Grand Slam champion for 44 years
Monday 13 September 2021 16:36, UK
Emma Raducanu has been hailed as a "global superstar" following her sensational US Open victory at Flushing Meadows.
Raducanu recorded a stunning 6-4 6-3 success over fellow teenager Leylah Fernandez in a thrilling final on Saturday night to become the first qualifier - male or female - to win a Grand Slam title.
The 18-year-old is the first British woman to win a Grand Slam title since Virginia Wade lifted the Wimbledon title in 1977, and Wade was in attendance as Raducanu completed one of the most remarkable stories in sporting history.
It has been an unprecedented rise to prominence for Raducanu. She was sitting her A Levels in maths and economics only a couple of months ago; now she is a major champion and one of the most recognisable faces in the sport.
The Orpington-based teenager was featuring in just her fourth WTA Tour level event, but having begun her campaign in qualifying on August 25, she reeled off ten consecutive victories without relinquishing a solitary set.
Great Britain's Billie Jean King Cup captain Anne Keothavong believes there are no weaknesses in Raducanu's game, and insists she can build a legacy over the coming years.
"She has the potential to go on and achieve even greater things. We've known for a long time what an unbelievable talent she is," Keothavong told Sky Sports.
"She has got everything. When you watch her out there on the tennis court, it is hard to find any weaknesses in her game, but we've got to remember that she is yet to play a full year on the tour.
"Her life will be turned upside down now. This summer - everything has been new, everything has been fresh. She has been able to embrace everything that has come her way.
"It is so important now that she has good people around her to help her on this journey and advise and support her in a way that will allow her to develop as a tennis player to become even better than she already is."
Raducanu's victory has torn up the record books. She made her breakthrough as a rank outsider at Wimbledon, reaching the last 16 until she was forced to retire with breathing difficulties.
She was a 500/1 outsider ahead of the US Open, and although she is yet to win a match on the WTA Tour, her maiden Grand Slam title has catapulted her from 150th to 23rd in the WTA rankings.
"It changes her life completely. From being in qualifying at the very start of the tournament to actually winning a Grand Slam - what's lovely about it all is that she plays with a smile, she's got the joy, she is determined," said former British No 1 Jo Durie.
"Who knows how far she can go? She's won one Grand Slam. She could win more. I think she already is a global superstar.
"She has caught the imagination of everybody. The JET [Junior Elite Tennis] academy are already inspired. They have seen her; she is only 18 and they're thinking: 'If she can do that, can I do that?'
"The buzz around tennis at the moment is just enormous. I love it because obviously I love tennis, I love being in tennis, I love talking about tennis, and it is worldwide."
Annabel Croft - another former British No 1 - has drawn comparisons between Raducanu and a young Andy Murray, and she believes the 18-year-old's Flushing Meadows fairytale could be the start of a "very special" career.
"The fact that no qualifier had ever won a Grand Slam title before, it is just an extraordinary story and I think we're all trying to come to terms with it," Croft told Sky Sports.
"I feel like we're seeing somebody at the very beginning of what might end up being a very, very special career.
"It was extremely clinical. You watched her never feeling any doubt. There was never any hesitation in her shot-making, she seemed so clear-thinking in her tactics.
"I think it was her poise, her composure, her calmness, her joy. I think psychologically she is very strong on the court as well, it reminded me a lot of when Andy Murray first burst out on to the scene."