Celebrities stand behind British tennis sensation Emma Raducanu as the US Open final approaches.
The 18-year-old from south London takes on 19-year-old opponent Leylah Fernandez to win her first Grand Slam final after reaching the top of the competition in a fairytale winning streak.
The player who started Wimbledon in 338th place has already earned at least £ 900,000 (1.25 million US dollars) in the nine games won here and now has the chance to secure a place in sports history. Amazingly, she still has to drop one set.
The debutante is the first ever qualifier to reach the New York finals after playing nine games without losing a set on her dazzling path to world fame.
TV presenters Kirstie Allsopp, Nick Knowles and Ant and Dec ran the shows of support for the British teenager ahead of today’s game with London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
British celebrities have cheered Emma Raducanu, 18, as the US Open finals begin tonight where she faces Leylah Fernandez, 19
Emma is the first ever qualifier to reach the finals in New York after playing nine games without losing a set on her dazzling path to world fame
Ant and Dec sent an enthusiastic message on Twitter in which they said: “After a previously unpleasant day of sports, I can say … GOOD LUCK! We cheer you on. ‘
TV presenter Kirstie Allsopp wrote on Twitter: “Reach out to @ channel4 to find something to inspire your teenagers.”
TV presenter Nick Knowles wrote: “If you don’t see the finals of the US Tennis Open (unexpectedly live on Ch4 via Prime), you are missing out on a special sporting moment.
“Whatever happens in the next few hours, a star was born. Hoping you would play your game the way you want it, Emma. We’re proud,” he added.
TV presenters Ant and Dec said they would work to see Emma bring the title home before tonight’s game (pictured at the National Television Awards on Thursday).
Johanna Konta, 30, who had to retire from Wimbledon this year when one of her team members tested positive for Covid-19, cheered both Emma and her opponent and celebrated the promising future of tennis.
‘It’s really exciting to see the next generation come through this year. Good luck @EmmaRaducanu and @leylahfernandez, ”she wrote.
Former Health Secretary Matt Hancock also posted encouraging news on Twitter: “Good luck to @EmmaRaducanu in the US Open finals tonight. Whatever the end result, you have made yourself and the country proud. ‘
Army veteran and Strictly Come Dancing alum JJ Chalmers also cheered Emma on Twitter today, saying the game would be a “piece of history”.
“Tonight is not just a belt for a match, but a piece of history, and now we can not only hear it freely on @ 5livesport, but also watch it on @ channel4 #PublicService Broadcast in top form on the pitch from 2100 onwards. Good luck # EmmaRaducanu, ”he said.
The Mayor of London also had words of support for Emma before the final.
“I wish @EmmaRaducanu the best of luck with the #USOpenFinal tonight. We couldn’t be more proud of you. ‘
And Labor Party leader Keir Starmer wrote: All the best to @EmmaRaducanu ahead of today’s #USOpen final. You have already made history as the first qualifier to reach a Grand Slam final.
“I couldn’t be happier for you and all of those who have supported you along the way. You made us all so proud. Good luck, ”he added.
Pictured TV presenter Nick Knowles said that people who did not watch the game “were missing a special athletic moment”.
Army veteran, presenter, and Invictus Games competitor JJ Chalmers was also among the celebrities wishing Emma the best of luck today
SNP leader Nicolas Sturgeon, London Mayor Sadiq Khan and JJ Chalmers were the first British celebrities to send their good wishes to Emma
ITV weatherman Alex Beresford wrote: “This is a GAME! Come on @EmmaRaducanu. ‘
Andy Murray’s mother, Judy Murray, praised Channel 4 for bringing “visibility” to women’s sport and dubbed both Raducanu and Fernandez “teen sensations.”
Meanwhile, SNP boss Nicola Sturgeon wrote: “Good luck @EmmaRaducanu.”
London Middleweight bronze medalist Anthony Ogogo said, “Come on, girls.”
Writer Jason Vale, also known as the Juice Master, said, “We all have your back, but above all we enjoy the moment and drink it.
Actress and presenter Natalie Anderson recorded the moment the finale began: “Eeeeek! Good luck @EmmaRaducanu. ‘
British Got Talent 2020 finalist Damien O’Brien said: “Emma Raducanu is amazing !! #US Open
GB News host Alastair Stewart said, “I cracked it! @EmmaRaducanu plays chess disguised as tennis. ‘
Retailers John Lewis and Chrystal Palace FC also wished Emma luck.
Former British number one Johanna Konta (30), pictured during this year’s Miami Open, wished Emma and her rival luck and praised the future of tennis
Olympic golfer Justin Rose and TV host and actor Greg Scott also wished Emma the best of luck, saying she was already a winner
“Anyone else nervous ?! We all stand behind you Emma Raducanu. Imagine the club we will make if you win, ”they wrote.
In the meantime, the football club wrote: “Of everyone on your local team, we are right behind you. Bring it home tonight.
And singer Miles Kanes wrote: “Come on, Emma Raducanu! You have that, buzz for this finale.
Chris Wood, the drummer for the pop band Bastille, was also among the audience.
“I’ve found my place on the train. Come on @EmmaRaducanu, “he said.
Emma will try to write the happiest ending to her New York fairy tale when she takes on Leylah Fernandez in the US Open final on Saturday night.
“Let’s go Emma Raducanu! The nation is behind you, ”wrote author and Celebrity MasterChef winner Emma Kennedy.
Former Team GB rower Steve Redgrave wrote: “We wish Emma all the best tonight, it promises to be an extraordinary final and I’m looking forward to seeing it.”
Lord Ashcroft was among the people watching Emma in the stadium. He said, “To take a seat for the US Open Women’s Final between @emmaraducanu and @leylahfernandez … Emma will be a finalist in many more Grand Slams in her career …. ‘
Winter Olympics and Alpine Sky Racer Chemmy Alcott wrote: “So tense. So epic. We all stand behind you @emmaraducanu. ‘
England cricket team captain Heather Knight said, “What a game it was! Come on @EmmaRaducanu.
BBC breakfast host Holly Hamilton shared an excited baby gif when the tennis sensation won her first set.
Since Virginia Wade won her most famous title at Wimbledon in 1977, no British woman had even reached a single Grand Slam final.
That the player who achieves the feat is an 18 year old taking her first real steps in professional sport makes this one of the most extraordinary stories in all of the sport.
At stake is a £ 1.8 million price check – more than eight times Raducanu’s current career income – as well as 2,000 ranking points that would lift the teenager from her current rank of 150 to 23.
Even defeat would send Raducanu up to 32nd place on the ladder, which would lead them to be seeded for their debut at the Australian Open in January.
EMMA RADUCANUS RUN TO US OPEN FINAL
Q1: 6-1, 6-2 – beats Bibiane Schoofs – QUALIFICATION
Q2: 6-3, 7-5 – beats Mariam Bolkvadze – QUALIFICATION
Q3: 6-1, 6-4 – beats Mayar Sherif – QUALIFICATION
R1: 6-2, 6-3 – beats Stefanie Vogele
R2: 6-2, 6-4 beats Zhang Shuai
R3: 6-0, 6-1 – beats Sara Sorribes Tormo
R4: 6-2, 6-1 – beats Shelby Rogers
QF: 6-3, 6-4 – beats Belinda Bencic
SF: 6-1, 6-4 – suggests Maria Sakkari
Fernandez had a similar seismic impact at Flushing Meadows, with her incredible run that included victories over defending champion Naomi Osaka, another former Angelique Kerber winner, fifth seed Elina Svitolina and second placed Aryna Sabalenka.
The Canadian is only two months older than Raducanu and the two have known each other since they took part in the U12 level.
“We first met because I was born in Toronto and she was Canadian, so we had a little relationship at the time,” said Raducanu, who won her only girl singles match at Wimbledon three years ago.
“Since then, we’ve both come a long way in our games and as humans, of course. I am sure it will be very different from when we last met. But we both play good tennis, so it will be a good game. ‘
The couple has a migration background. Raducanu, who moved to the UK when she was two, has a Romanian father and a Chinese mother, while Fernandez has Ecuadorian, Peruvian and Filipino roots.
The Canadian is coached by her father Jorge, who sees the final as a significant moment for women’s football.
The former soccer player said: “I see both of them bring a type of game that is currently not common on the racetrack.
“I see that they bring a flair that is unique to them. I’m glad you touch the Asian community. I think this is a huge opportunity in women’s football.
“I think it’s just positive for the game. Of course I want Leylah to win. This is of course. But I just think that the match and what we see these two ladies touch a lot of young girls.
“I get messages about, ‘Please give this to Leylah”, little girls say, “You make us believe”. That can only be good for the tennis game and the WTA as a whole.’