Yes it has come to this. 18 yr old Raducunu is meeting 19 yr old Leylah in the women’s open final today. It is the first time after 1989 that 2 unseeded ladies are contesting the final. So how did they get there and who are they ..
Raducunu is from Great Britain and just 3 weeks ago she was seeded 150 in the world (yes you can read it again) – 150. She came into the open not expecting to go beyond maybe the 3rd round but here she is – in the most important match of her life and she is just 18. She has stormed through the field, including her three qualifying matches, and has yet to drop a set.
Its the first time after 44 years that a lady from GBR has made the US open final and the first teen after 2004 (Maria Sharapova) who has made it to the US open final. Raducunu is pure brute power, she just attacks the ball from the baseline and never gives up – all important attributes for any tennis player you would say but then again not everyone demonstrates it. We are so excited to see this player take shape.
Leylah is from Canada (ranked 73 in the world but not for long) and she is so important that the PM of Canada, Justin Trudeau has himself tweeted all the best to her. Her journey over the last 2 weeks has been defeating No 1 Osaka, Kerber, World no 5 Svitolina and world no 2 Sabalenka. Clearly she is a giant slayer already and what has worked for her also is her fearless play and never quit attitude. In fact her moment of reckoning was when in school, a teacher told her to forget tennis and just concentrate on studies and that day, she decided that she was going to make a mark in this sport. For her nothing is impossible and Gen Z is not just coming, but they’ve arrived, and they know they belong here.
Despite the uncharted territory for both players in their young careers, there have been few signs of nerves or pressure and no one is really surprised by their composure or confidence. They are hardly the first teenagers to achieve such success on one of the sport’s biggest stages. Tennis was dominated by young players in previous eras — Hingis (1997), Seles (1990) and Tracy Austin (1979) all won major titles as 16-year-olds — but with the extended athletic careers seen today across sports and the sheer dominance of Serene Williams for more than two decades, it has been tougher for the youth to break through.
This also could change all too soon.
All the best to the best teen !