The 2018 U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu is already the youngest winner of a Grand Slam title in 39 years.
She beat veteran Shuai Zhang at this week’s BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California to become the youngest U.S. Open champion since 18-year-old Martina Hingis won the Australian Open in 1994.
Raducanu became just the second 18-year-old winner of a Grand Slam since Victoria Azarenka beat Serena Williams at the 2009 Australian Open.
13-year-old Shelby Rogers won the 2015 French Open junior title.
“It’s crazy. What is she doing? It’s crazy, but I feel so proud,” Roger Federer told reporters after Raducanu’s win.
Roger Federer, who was the youngest player to win the U.S. Open in 2000 aged 19, also congratulated the wannabe tennis star.
“Congratulations to you for doing it. I think it was a crazy tournament. Everything went your way,” the 19-time Grand Slam winner told a media conference.
“It’s great to see a kid with that much talent coming up. I’ve been there and now I am well aware of how hard you have to work.”
Tennis legend John McEnroe, a 53-year-old commentator for Fox Sports, called the win “crazy.”
“It is crazy. It’s a stretch but now what if she goes on to win all four Grand Slams? That’s the early ’90s all over again,” McEnroe, the 1984 U.S. Open champion, said.
“That could be kind of embarrassing for anyone at the highest level if a kid winning two Slams at 18, 19 is really not that common,” McEnroe said.
Raducanu’s victory on Sunday was something that many players had never seen before.
The Romanian-born Italian shot the highest No. 2 ranking for a player under 21 after the women’s season-opening Australian Open in January, which Raducanu won as a wild card entry.
Her meteoric rise from a junior player ranked 142nd to a Grand Slam champion would seem a far cry from where Raducanu began her career.
Achileas du Toit, one of her coaches, said Raducanu was a family ballboy and team masseur for her parents while still living with her family in Romania.
The Romanian Tennis Federation has been a success story, with its tennis academies and coaching programs helping Romanian players, among the world’s top 20 best, rise rapidly.
France’s Joan Duru also won a women’s singles match at the U.S. Open as a wild card.
But ranked as low as 101 before the Australian Open, Raducanu is likely to jump well past that this year.
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