Original article from Kent Live
Emma Raducanu’s supporters said “the sky is the limit” for the US Open winner as they gathered to watch the match at her home club.
Raducanu played at Parklangley Club in Beckenham, south-east London, from the age of six, and the viewing party was crammed with friends and admirers.
She won 6-4 6-3 against Leylah Fernandez, a 19-year-old Canadian who was also not expected to make it to the final.
Those watching were justifiably optimistic, with cheers and applause erupting every time Raducanu won a point, and even louder when she took the lead.
Harry Bushnell, who coached Raducanu from the age of six to 10, said: “I think it’s a testament to her because she’s such a pleasant person, on and off the court, and I think that’s why so many people are getting behind her and certainly here at the club. Parklangley club will always be behind her every step of the way.”
Raducanu, 18, is the first qualifier to reach a slam final and has now become the first British woman to win one of the sport’s biggest trophies since Virginia Wade in 1977.
Suzanne Williams, her former strength and conditioning coach, said: “It’s absolutely incredible just to see her develop and become this player when I knew her when she was so young, from eight to 12 years old. Of course you could see there was some incredible potential there but to see her on the screen in this environment is incredible.”
She added: “The sky is the limit, she’s still not reached her full potential, she didn’t play for months because of her A-Levels so she’s got so much left in the tank.”
Speaking just before walking on court, Raducanu said: “The time has flown here in New York. I’ve just been taking it one match at a time and it has got me to the final. I’m going to go out there and enjoy it today.
"It’s so exciting in my second grand slam to be in the final. I can’t really believe it but I can’t wait to get stuck in. I’m sure the crowd will be great so it will be a really positive experience.”
Those at the club in Beckenham hailed Raducanu as an inspiration to the younger players and beyond.
Ms Williams said: “For girls to know that it is in their reach because they’re at the same place she was, it doesn’t feel too far removed from them, it’s just incredible for them to get this role model.”
Speaking about other children playing at the club, she said: “They are just pushing themselves a lot harder and want to do a lot more, they are trying to do a few more things at the gym, it’s really exciting.”
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