When the stars are shining on you, everything goes right. In 18-year-old Emma Raducanu’s case, it was the whole galaxy that was shining on her at the US Open. The British player became the first person (male or female) to win a grand slam from the qualifying rounds. Even more astonishingly, she did so without dropping a set.
Being in her first final, there would have been some nerves. She could have felt the weight of the outside world on her shoulders but she managed to zone in and kept playing every ball on its merit. “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 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,” she said at the press conference after the match.
Obviously, it’s just one grand slam and we should not call her a future legend already. She’s just won a cheque worth $2.5 million. Fame can be tough to handle for someone so young. That said, we hope that she has her head firmly on her shoulders.
A lot of responsibility now lies on coach Andrew Robertson who needs to make sure that she stays disciplined even when brands are making a beeline for her.
Robertson has done a fantastic job so far. In an interview with BBC, he spoke about Raducanu’s unreal mental toughness. “For me, the biggest strength she has is the mind. I think everything starts with the mind and the strength she has shown throughout the trip; and the resilience she showed. Her ability to deal with adversity and compete is where it all starts. I've known her from a young age, and she's always had that. I'm not sure it can be coached. I think a lot of it is parenting, and her parents should take a lot of credit for the person Emma is. The mental strength she has is truly special,” he said.
At one point, it looked like the dream had been cut short. In the second set, when she was serving for the match, she suffered an injury in her leg. In pain, she asked for a medical time-out. To have come so close to victory and lose would be heartbreaking. With emotions running high, Raducanu decided to keep fighting. She produced some scintillating tennis and won the game 6-4, 6-3.
Right now, Raducanu has admitted to feeling no pressure. She has put future plans on hold and is just enjoying herself like any other 18-year-old.
At Urruda, we’re big fans of her game and hope that she has a glittering career filled with several grand slam titles. Even if she doesn’t, it’s okay. She has already created a unique record that will probably never be broken.