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Hail Emma

A fact little commented on before or after this wonderful victory is the joy it has brought the nation.

We always like a British champion winning on foreign soil: think Ken Buchanan, Justin Rose winning the US Open and, before him, Tony Jacklin and the British Lions.

First the stats.

Emma Raducanu is the first British ladies champ for 44 years and she won the title without losing a set, without a tie break and as a qualifier.

Second her game.

Although described as balletic it is based on power and pace. She is a tall girl and can volley overhead but she prefers the wide angle serve and drive into the corner.

Third, the personality.

Underneath the charm and courtesy she is ruthlessly determined.

She  had to be as her opponent Leylah Fernandez could guts it out.

Fernandez was never on top but did recover from losing positions.

This is the thrill of tennis – two players locked in combat in a confined space where the match ebbs and flows.

Although Fernandez got back into the game she never could set up winning momentum.

There is another aspect here which I found interesting.

The final was prefaced by a group of ex-ladies winners who had lifted the profile of the women’s game.

Emma will be claimed by the activists but her journey from a 5 year old who only came to England aged two from Toronto through her Parkingley tennis club in Bromley where I once coached her to champion was not blocked by any prejudice.

She has nothing to prove nor to complain about. She is the Queen of New York. Of the last 65 men’s titles, 56 were won by 3 players (Nadal, Federer or Djokovic) so the woman’s field is more open but with the likes of Naomi Osaka, Ashleigh Barty and Coco Gauff.

And now Emma Raducanu.

Her future?

She  has a winner’s cheque for £2.5m and could make another £100m.  She appeared not to be in any relationship but focuses on her tennis.

Apparently she retuned to her hotel room every night. One could imagine her skyping her parents and beloved Rumanian gran.

She has a good team around her but was alone and the crowd was with Fernandez.

She conducted her post-match interviews with grace and humility. It was always ‘”we” not “I”.

Notwithstanding her humility there was that feeling of incredulity that she is where she is.

Like many I watched on Amazon Prime, with my husband.

He is not a tennis fan, preferring to see if possible his beloved Manchester United.  When at one point a woman stood up to cheer on the Canadian he was on his feet with the words

“Sit down, you c-nt. Go Emma! “

When she fell and cut her leg just before her winning ace he paced the TV room excitedly.

The only calm one was our Emma, a true and worthy champion.

About Abbie Boraston-Green

After her promising tennis career was cut short by a shoulder injury, Abbie went first into coaching and then a promotional position with the Lawn Tennis Association. She and her husband Paul live in Warlingham with their two children, where Abbie now works part-time for a national breast cancer charity. More Posts

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