British teenager Emma Raducanu, who stunned the tennis world with her unlikely title in the US Open, said on Monday that the achievement not only took her by surprise, but also pleased her demanding parents.
The 18-year-old beat 19-year-old Canadian Leylah Fernandez on Saturday to become the first tennis player to emerge from qualifying to win a Grand Slam title after a fairytale campaign she never dreamed was possible when arrived in New York.
“Three weeks ago, I thought I wouldn’t last the entire trip. I thought I’d be home a week after qualifying,” Raducanu said on NBC’s “Today” morning show.
Raducanu, whose participation in the US Open marked only the second Grand Slam tournament of his career, won 10 consecutive matches at Flushing Meadows — including three in qualifying to get into the main draw — without losing a set.
The title, which raised Raducanu 127 places in the world rankings to number 23, also did much to please his mother, Chinese Renee, and his father, Romanian Ian.
“They were very picky on me when I was younger, but they kind of led the way and I think it’s helping out on the biggest stages in the world now,” Raducanu said during his appearance on ABC News’ “Good Morning America.”
“It was great talking to them after I won. They were very happy and proud of me and they are my toughest critics, and very, very hard to please, but I won them over.”
The teenager posted a photo to her Instagram account on Monday, showing her on the streets of New York with a big smile pointing to a Nike ad she was celebrating.
Raducanu, who had Queen Elizabeth and tennis greats Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King among those who congratulated her on her victory, said she will not let her US Open trophy out of sight on the flight home.
“Go with me right beside me,” he said.
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