Teenager’s victory came out of nowhere so it needs perspective – we cannot expect her to keep doing this in majors
So: that happened. As Emma Raducanu emerged from Arthur Ashe Stadium clutching the US Open trophy to her chest, the blood on her knee still visible from where she had fallen, it was possible to feel a little dazed, a little concussed, to feel the edges of the night dissolving a little. In this new unreality an 18-year-old qualifier from Bromley is tennis’s newest star, a figure of adulation and idolisation well beyond the wet island for whom she has just claimed a first grand slam women’s title in 44 years.
You could lose yourself in the records and the milestones: the first qualifier to win a major title in the Open era, the youngest slam winner since Maria Sharapova, the first woman to win a major at only her second attempt. You could seek out historical context. But comparing Raducanu to the 17-year-old Boris Becker winning Wimbledon in 1985 doesn’t quite work, because Becker was a top-20 player at the time.