Queen Elizabeth has released a rare personal statement after British teenage tennis star Emma Raducanu’s historic US Open victory.
The 18-year-old has sent the UK into meltdown after she became the first British woman to win a grand slam since 1977 when she defeated 19-year-old Leylah Fernandez in a drama-charged women’s final this morning in New York.
The 95-year-old led the flood of praise and joyous reaction to the nation’s 44-year wait for a female slam champion coming to an end.
Her statement, issued through the Royal Family’s digital channels, was followed by messages from Kate Middleton and Prince William.
The Monarch’s message was signed off with an understated “Elizabeth R”.
“I send my congratulations to you on your success in winning the United States Open Tennis Championships,” she said in the brief note.
“It is a remarkable achievement at such a young age, and is testament to your hard work and dedication. I have no doubt your outstanding performance, and that of your opponent Leylah Fernandez, will inspire the next generation of tennis players.
“I send my warmest good wishes to you and your many supporters.”
A tweet from the official account of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also congratulated the teenager and her opponent on their “amazing achievements” at the tournament.
It read: “Huge congratulations @EmmaRaducanu on your stunning performances and historic Grand Slam victory! Incredible – we are all so proud of you.
“@leylahfernandez well done on your amazing achievements at this year’s #USOpen, it’s been a pleasure to watch. C”.
Piers Morgan, Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford, TV legend Stephen Fry and football icon Gary Lineker were just some of the others to praise the teenager’s history-making performance, The Sun reports.
Fry said “What a glorious day for two remarkable young women.
“Yes, it may be ‘only’ sport, but in that ‘only’ there can be found so much of human joy, despair, glory, disappointment, wonder and hope.
“A brief flicker of light in a dark world.”
British tennis icon Tim Henman was courtside and was full of emotion after Raducanu’s win.
He said: “It’s an absolute joke, I’m shaking and my legs are like jelly.
“I can’t believe how resilient she was and the quality of tennis. These champions find a way to get it done.
“She executed at such a high level. On the day Raducanu was too good.
“She made it look ridiculously easy but she has the mental toughness in spades.”
Raducanu's extraordinary win
In one of the craziest two weeks ever put together by a player in tennis, Raducanu won 20 consecutive sets of tennis, beginning with three wins in qualifying for the main draw.
The final was the first time teenagers have met in a Grand Slam final since 17-year-old Serena Williams beat Martina Hingis, 18, at the 1999 US Open.
Despite the enormity of the occasion, Raducanu said during her trophy presentation she was never flustered.
“When I came on court, I felt completely at home,” she said.
“I felt like business as usual, I was just focusing on one point at a time. I had to cling on really hard.”
The world No 150 will now jump into the top 25 of the WTA Tour rankings and has collected the staggering payday of $3.4 million.
She is also the first British woman to win a Grand Slam title since Virginia Wade at Wimbledon in 1977.
Raducanu is the youngest US Open champion since Williams in 1999 and the first US Open women’s champion not to drop a set since Williams in 2014.
Raducanu had the fewest Slam starts of any women’s Slam winner, reaching the fourth round in July at Wimbledon in her only prior Slam appearance while Fernandez had won only four matches in six prior Slam appearances.
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