Emma Raducanu has just won the US Open tennis tournament at the age of 18. She is the first tennis player in history – men and women alike – to have won the final of a Grand Slam tournament by coming out of the qualifying selection. Ten matches were needed instead of seven for a player who had directly entered the final competition. In her quest for the Grail, she will have lost no set. Her victory was totally unexpected as she was ranked 150th in the world at the start of the tournament; its course was clear, akin to a prolonged state of grace.
Emma Raducanu has another peculiarity, she is British. She is the first Briton to win a Grand Slam tournament since Virginia Wade’s victory in Wimbledon 44 years ago. The latter was also present during the final in the stands of Flushing Meadows.
Emma is British to the fingertips, as was and still is Virginia in a more traditional style. But she was born in Canada – as Leylah Fernandez, her brillant opponent of the same age in the final – and not in the United Kingdom, where her father of Romanian origin and her mother of Chinese origin settled when she was only 3 years old. Emma went to a Grammar School where she is considered to have been an excellent student especially in scientific subjects and her language is refined, guarded and modest as shown by her intervention during the award ceremony.
The purity of Emma’s tennis serve projects the breath of enchanting horizons, a gust of absolute freshness, grace and charm; the sudden emergence of Leylah and Emma, two pure talents, fills us with optimism.