US Open 2021 led by teenagers Fernandez and Raducanu highlighted women’s depth of field
US Open champion Emma Raducanu feels her run to the 2021 Flushing Meadows final with Canadian Leylah Fernandez made a statement on behalf of the next generation and underscored the depth of women’s tennis.
Born just months apart in 2002, teenagers Raducanu and Fernandez emerged from obscurity last year at Flushing Meadows to contest the first Grand Slam final between unranked players.
« I think the message is how strong the next generation is, » Raducanu, now 19 and ranked 11th in the world, told reporters on Friday. « I mean, we’re both very young. We’re going to be in this sport for a long time.
« Just the depth of the women’s game too, I think it’s so deep that we’re both capable of doing that. I was ranked 150. I don’t know what Leylah was ranked before the tournament. Yeah, the women’s field is really, really strong. »
Last year, Raducanu became the first qualifier to win a major title, and she believes the pair’s impressive hard-court runs have given hope to many players outside of the big names in the sport.
« I also think that since then qualifying is seen as a good thing. I don’t think it’s seen as ‘Oh you’re in qualifying,' » Raducanu told reporters before the start of the main draw. US Open. since Monday.
« But I also think a lot of other players on the pitch believe, like, ‘I can do it too.’ Maybe before there was this stigma, only the best players could do it. I think what we’ve achieved shows that anything really can happen. »
Raducanu said memories of her nervousness on the morning of the 2021 finals came flooding back to her when she returned to Flushing Meadows for her title defense.
« I think defending a title is just something the press makes up. I just take it one game at a time, » she said, adding that she has no injury concerns.
« Like I said last year, I’m just going to do it my way. »