18-Year-Old Emma Raducanu Wins First Grand Slam Title

Samantha Elkins, News Editor

On Saturday, Sept. 11, Emma Raducanu won the U.S. Open at Arthur Ashe Stadium, making history while doing so. 

Raducanu entered the competition as a qualifier, meaning she had to win 3 matches in qualifying tournaments in order to receive a ticket to the Grand Slam because her ranking remained too low.  Raducanu became the first qualifier in men’s or women’s tennis to make it to the finals in a Grand Slam tournament. 

As of last month, according to the WTA, Raducanu ranked 150 globally; she now ranks 23. 

“It’s pretty inspiring; you know you want to reach your goals, and the fact that players my age are doing that [is] kind of raising the bar,” Miami Palmetto Senior High senior and tennis player Shiloh Markus said. 

Born in Canada, Raducanu moved to Britain with her family at two years old. Her win gave Britain its first Grand Slam in 44 years. Besides winning the $2.5 million in prize money, Raducanu simultaneously accomplished her dream of winning a Grand Slam. 

In the finals, she went head to head against 19-year-old Leylah Fernandez of Canada. The final score was 6-4, 6-3. Raducanu also won against Fernandez in the second round of Wimbledon’s junior tournament in 2018. Raducanu retired in the fourth round of the 2018 Wimbledon tournament due to difficulty breathing.

Her success drew worldwide attention, as she won consecutive straight-set victories. This means Raducanu did not lose a single set throughout the tournament, which has not been accomplished by anyone since Serena Williams in 2014. 

“Staying positive during a match will hopefully produce a positive outcome and you have to be open minded because anybody could beat anybody on any given day,” Palmetto tennis team coach Kelly Gibson said. 

Some believe Raducanu’s background in a multitude of sports contributed to her tennis skills. Experts also believe her underdog status and freedom to play pressure-free from expectations may have aided her this year. 

“[Younger tennis players’] bodies can recover faster because they are younger and they may not be as burnt out. They may be able to be excited to play in a situation they’ve never been in, so they have nothing to lose,” Gibson said.

This year’s U.S. Open consisted of an all-teenage final, making the future of tennis appear bright. 

“Obviously, she is a player that is here to stay and she is mentally tough. She’s able to compete at a higher level even being so young. She doesn’t give up very easily; she’s very determined;” Gibson said.

As a result of her Grand Slam win, Raducanu received an invitation to the 2021 Met Gala and a congratulations from Queen Elizabeth II.