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British teenager Emma Raducanu, who stunned the tennis world with her improbable US Open success, said on Monday during a whirlwind media tour that her accomplishment took her by surprise and also satisfied her hard-to-please parents.
The 18-year-old beat Canada’s Leylah Fernandez, 19, on Saturday to become the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam title after a fairytale run she never thought possible when she arrived in New York.
“Three weeks ago, I thought that I would not last the whole trip. I thought that I’d be home in a week after qualifying,” Raducanu said on NBC’s “Today” morning show.
Raducanu, whose appearance at the US Open was her second Grand Slam tournament won 10 successive matches at Flushing Meadows — including three in qualifying just to reach the main draw — without dropping a set.
The triumph, which vaulted Raducanu 127 spots up the world rankings to number 23, also went a long way in pleasing her Chinese mother Renee and Romanian father Ian.
“They were pretty tough on me when I was young, but they kind of showed the way. I think now it’s helping on the biggest stages in the world,” Raducanu said during an appearance on the ABC News Good Morning America programme.
“It was really nice to talk to them after I won. They were just so happy and proud of me. They are my toughest critics and very, very hard to please, but I got them with this one.”
The teenager posted a photo on her Instagram account on Monday showing her on the New York City streets with a big smile motioning towards a Nike advert add depicting herself celebrating.
Raducanu, who can count Britain’s Queen Elizabeth and tennis greats Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King among those who congratulated her after the win, said she will not let her US Open trophy out of sight on her flight home.
“That’s coming with me right by my side. I’m not trusting it in any sort of other luggage that I’m getting checked in. I can’t believe I get to bring it home,” said Raducanu.
“I got to see my name engraved on the wall with the past champions. I thought that was pretty special to be on the same board as them.”
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Published by Arena Holdings and distributed with the Financial Mail on the last Thursday of every month except December and January.