Leylah Fernandez hints at reason for Emma Raducanu rise after losing to Brit at US Open
US Open champion Emma Raducanu ready to return to action at Indian Wells
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Leylah Fernandez has given her verdict on the recent teenage success seen in tennis, fronted by Emma Raducanu. The Canadian contested the first all-teenage women’s singles final at the US Open since 1999 when she faced the 18-year-old Brit in the championship match last month. Both players are now competing in Indian Wells for the first time in their respective careers, having climbed into the world’s top 30.
Fernandez entered the US Open as an 18-year-old ranked No.73 in the world, and went on a stunning run beating the likes of Naomi Osaka, Angie Kerber, Elina Svitolina and Aryna Sabalenka to make her first-ever Grand Slam final.
The Canadian turned 19 during her fairy-tale fortnight, and is now ranked 28 in the world.
Meanwhile, Raducanu became the first qualifier in history to win a Major title and failed to drop a set en-route to victory, entering the event in New York as the world No.150 and leaving as world No.23, having since climbed two more places to 21.
Their championship match was the first all-teenage final in 22 years, when a then-18-year-old Serena Williams won her first of 23 Grand Slam singles titles by defeating Martina Hingis, then 19.
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It wasn’t just the WTA teenagers who made waves in Flushing Meadows either, as 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz, who has been likened to Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, beat third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas en route to his first-ever Grand Slam quarter-final.
After the recent success experienced by young players at the top level, Fernandez has now revealed the reason she and her fellow teenagers have been so unstoppable, and what drove her and Raducanu to reach the US Open final aged just 18 and 19, as the pair prepare to make their respective debuts at the WTA 1000 event in Indian Wells.
“I think we’re just all so hungry to do something on tour,” the Canadian explained.
“I know through my own experience that I’ve always wanted to do something special on court, be able to play against these champions, these legends, and just to put on a good show for everybody.”
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Both Fernandez and Raducanu have found themselves seeded at the tournament often dubbed the ‘fifth Grand Slam’, just weeks after they were both ranked outside of the world’s top 70.
It means they each have a bye directly into the second round of the event, with the Canadian set to face the winner of a clash between Alize Cornet and qualifier Elena-Gabriela Ruse, while the Brit meets the victor of a match between Maria Camila Osorio Serrano and Aliaksandra Sasnovich.
Speaking on their drive to achieve the biggest feats in tennis, the 19-year-old continued: “We just want to be on court, have fun and compete as well as we can and I think the result, it’s on our side.
“Teenagers right now are doing so well, we’re just hungry to do something for the ATP, for the WTA, we just want to bring something extra special on tour.”
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Meanwhile, Raducanu opened up on the whirlwind few weeks she has experienced since winning the US Open, as she prepares for her first-ever attempt to lift the trophy in Indian Wells.
“I am very excited to be here. It’s my first time playing in Indian Wells. It’s a beautiful place, I just can’t wait to get started,” she said.
“I’d say it’s been a very cool three weeks. I mean I got to experience some great things that I probably never would have got to do before.
“After that I just went straight back to training and focusing on this competition and the upcoming ones that I’ve got lined up.”
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