'They did a stunning job': Wade praises both finalists for handling such a momentous occasion
Virginia Wade hailed Emma Raducanu as “one of a kind” as the teenager comes to terms with her historic US Open victory.
The 18-year-old executed a sensational performance against Canada's Leylah Fernandez, becoming the first qualifier to win a grand slam singles title in the Open Era and all without dropping a set.
Among the series of records broken by Raducanu, she also became the first woman ever to win a title in as few as two tournaments and the youngest since Maria Sharapova triumphed at Wimbledon in 2004.
To top it off, she is the first British woman to win the US Open since 1968 following her 6-4 6-3 victory, which has even drawn praise from the Queen.
Wade was the last to bring the famous trophy back to Britain and was there to watch Raducanu at Flushing Meadows on Saturday – and give the teen a hug.
“Let’s face it, Emma is one of a kind,” she told ITV News, adding that her achievement can only mean good things for the sport and will inspire other youngsters.
“As an 18-year-old you dream of being the youngest, the first one to win this that or the other and, for her, it’s happened. That’s hard to come by and Emma is just unbelievable.”
She described the “spectacular” moment the two teenagers walked out onto the court to loud cheers from the crowd and that “everyone had loved both of these players.”
“Emma just played well from start to finish,” she added.
“And they must have been terrified, to be frank, because it is such a big occasion, there was so much more going on with the particular day being 9/11.
“And just all the incredible attention that these two players got. They did a stunning job and it ended up being pretty decisive but well, well, well deserved.”
The 18-year-old fell to the court in disbelief before climbing into the stands to celebrate with her team, who had arrived in New York simply targeting a place in the main draw.
The teenager will take home prize money of £1.8 million – more than eight times her current career earnings – as well as 2,000 ranking points, which will move her up from her current standing of 150 to 23.
Speaking after her victory, Raducanu, who only finished her A-levels earlier this summer said she could not believe what she had achieved.
“I’ve always dreamed of winning a grand slam," the teenager said in a press conference.
'It isn’t a straight progression from here'
And Wade, who was full of praise and said Raducanu already seems so “together”, added the young star will need to manage the highs and lows that come her way.
“You have to understand that it isn’t a straight progression from here and it’s now always going to be perfect,” she said.
“You’re going to have ups and downs so you’re going to have to cope with those and there are a lot of other very good players around so you have to keep reassessing your goals.
“You’ve got to constantly be looking at what your immediate goals are and it’s pretty challenging when you’ve reached one of your dreams in step one.”