BarcelonaThe sport is still able to surprise. To create such beautiful stories, which seem to be written by a writer of those who illuminates the dreams of teenagers. At 18 years old, the British Emma Raducanu has become the first player, whether female or male, able to win a Grand Slam tournament after playing all the previous stages. That is, those matches played on courts with just 10 spectators, under a leniency sun, where dozens of players dream of being able to qualify for the final phase of a tournament like the US Open.
It looks like a fairy tale. The script for a Hollywood movie of those you know is not possible. Raducanu did not start his professional career until three months ago, when he did the selectivity and his parents allowed him to dedicate himself 100% to this sport so magical, but also so hard. The daughter of a Romanian and a Chinese woman who met in Canada, where they worked in the banking sector, Raducanu arrived in New York three weeks ago without imagining that she would be proclaimed champion by defeating 19-year-old Leylah Annie Fernandez 6- 4 and 6-3. In this age of statistics, those that explain Raducanu’s triumph leave you frozen. The young Londoner has won the Grand Slam without losing a set, playing more matches than any other champion and has just been crowned in her second participation in one of the four big tournaments. At Wimbledon he had an invitation to be in the preliminaries and he had already reached the fourth round, starting to get attention. But it is one thing to overcome a few turns and a very different one to win. Never before had a woman been champion on the second attempt, on the circuit. And by the way, it has raised the morale of the parents of tennis, the British, who have been waiting for a hero for years. If Scot Andy Murray won three Grand Slams from 2012 to 2016, now Raducanu is the first Briton to win a Grand Slam from Virginia Wade to Wimbledon in 1977. In addition, Raducanu becomes one of the youngest champions in the history of the tournament, although Maria Xarapova and Serena Williams did it younger than her.
The final had a poster that was hard to improve on, as it was amazing. If Raducanu has not yet turned 19, Leylah Fernández has made them during the tournament. It was a final similar to that of 1999, when 17-year-old Serena Williams defeated 18-year-old Martina Hingis. In fact, the two have been facing each other for years. The first time they faced off, they were 12 years old. Now, now of age, they have played an emotional final where Raducanu has imposed his game, more solvent, although Fernandez has reacted again and again, alternating mistakes with winning shots. Whenever Raducanu seemed ready to win the first set, the Canadian reacted. In the end, the Briton took the first set at the fourth opportunity.
The second, on the other hand, seemed destined to be easy for a Raducanu that has come to be 5-2 ahead. But again, Fernandez has fought for his dream. The daughter of a Filipino mother and an Ecuadorian footballer who ended up playing in smaller clubs in Canada, Fernández has never received the support of the Canadian Federation, which has never bet on her. With a father passionate about sports who analyzed how he could videos of rivals to help her, Fernandez has made her way almost alone, as the first coaches told her she had no future as she was very young. And with a giant heart, he has come to have a breaking ball to place 5-4. And just then, the doctor has entered the track, as Raducanu’s knee was bleeding after falling into a slip a few points earlier. The Canadian did not like to see the game stop for five minutes just when he was playing better. And in fact, once Raducanu has returned to the track, in two minutes he has finished the job, taking the second set and with it, the final. The last point by the way, has been one ace.
Raducanu, who ranked 366th in the world rankings two months ago and had bought tickets back to London after the first week of the tournament, is already the 23rd best player in the WTA. Now, a whole country is watching her. That girl who started playing in London dreaming of being like Simona Hapel, Romanian like her father, and Li Na, Chinese like her mother, has become the protagonist of one of those milestones that puts you in the shoes of hen. Such a special triumph, that one of the first congratulations he has received has been that of the Queen of England, with a statement: “An extraordinary triumph at this age, will be a triumph that will serve as an example for new generations and shows your ability to work hard “.