Raducanu completes her fairytale of New York
Sensation: Emma Raducanu
E. Raducanu bt L. Fernandez 6-4 6-3
Arthur Ashe Stadium
Emma Raducanu completed her New York fairytale with a stunning victory in the US Open that could make her one of the world’s highest paid sportswomen.
The 18-year-old from Kent became the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam tournament – and did so without losing a set in 10 matches.
Her 6-4 6-3 triumph over Leylah Fernandez, 19, in just under two hours also saw her become the youngest Brit to capture a Grand Slam title. The win landed her a cheque for £1.8m and kick-started a scramble among sponsors to back the new sporting sensation.
Raducanu’s earnings potential will now sky rocket with sponsors already queuing up to be associated with one of the hottest properties in sport. She will be due a huge bonus from Nike – one of her two current sponsors, along with racquet maker Wilson, but high-end brands, banks and insurers are also keen to share the glory.
Estimates of her earning power can only be compared with Naomi Osaka who was the highest earning player in tennis last year, banking $60m of which $55m came from sponsors including Google and Mastercard.
The marketing specialist Mark Borkowski, who has worked with Michael Jackson, Joan Rivers and Led Zeppelin, among others, reckoned that Raducanu could become Britain’s first billion-dollar sport star.
Aside from her beaming smile and vulnerability she has a few strings to her bow that make her eminently marketable to an international customer base. She was born in Canada to parents from Romania and China and can speak Mandarin, thereby opening the doors to the world’s second biggest economy.
Channel Four, which secured a last minute deal to show the final live on Saturday night, was rewarded with some of its best viewing figures – again highlighting Raducanu’s pulling power.
Raducanu’s remarkable win in the battle of the teenagers brought the Royal seal of approval with the Queen leading the congratulations.
“I send my congratulations to you on your success in winning the United States Open Tennis Championships,” said a personal message from the monarch, which was on the Royal Family website.
“It is a remarkable achievement at such a young age, and is testament to your hard work and dedication. I have no doubt your outstanding performance, and that of your opponent Leylah Fernandez, will inspire the next generation of tennis players.
“I send my warmest good wishes to you and your many supporters.”
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon hailed Raducanu as “a star, a role model and a champion”.
The last British woman to win a Grand Slam was Virginia Wade at Wimbledon in 1977.
Raducanu’s win sees her become Britain’s No.1 and rise to No. 23 in the world having started the tournament ranked 150th.
Britain’s Billie Jean King Cup captain Anne Keothavong described Raducanu’s victory as one of the greatest sporting achievements ever.
“It still feels so surreal – that was just an incredible performance from Emma, and from Leylah,” she said.
“A really high-quality tennis match from two teenagers, but honestly I never thought I would see a British female lift a grand slam trophy in my lifetime. I can’t put it into words how huge this is.
‘This is perhaps one of the greatest sporting achievements ever. I am so happy for her and the way she has done it, to not drop a set in the whole tournament, it is not normal and is unheard of.”
Raducanu has been installed as the 8/15 favourite to lift the BBC Sports Personality of the Year after being priced by bookmakers BetVictor at 200/1 before the tournament.
Live coverage on Channel 4 peaked with 9.2m viewers – more than the highest peak from this year’s Wimbledon (7.9m)
- Channel 4’s coverage reached 12.6m viewers, including 1.5m 16-34s (3 minute reach)
- Coverage of the match itself (9.15pm-11.15pm) averaged 7.4m / 48.2%. Almost SEVEN times the slot average.
- With a huge 18.0% share across the day, it was Channel 4’s best day since the 2012 London Paralympics (29.08.12, which just clinched it with a 19.6% share)
- Channel 4’s total coverage (build-up / match / trophy ceremony) from 8pm – 11.45pm averaged 5.9m / 39.9% share of viewing, SIX TIMES the slot average
- Channel 4 won the slot across the whole coverage
Channel 4’s Chief Content Officer Ian Katz said: “We’re delighted that Channel 4, in partnership with Amazon Prime Video, could enable more than 9m people to enjoy one of the most thrilling and historic nights of British sport in a generation.
“Moments like this are what Channel 4 was made for – it’s a perfect example of the kind of nimble, uncommercial, but profoundly valuable public service broadcasting that a purpose- driven Channel 4 can deliver.”
The historic win came the day after Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares were defeated in the men’s doubles final.
Briton Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram defeated Murray and his Brazilian partner 3-6 6-2 6-2.
“We are really proud of the way we competed and fought our way to the final,” said Murray.
It is a second Grand Slam title for Salisbury and Ram after taking the Australian Open title in 2020.