Teenagers occasionally win Grand Slam titles – Raducanu is the third in the past three years, after Bianca Andreescu and Iga Swiatek – but what makes this story unprecedented is the Brit’s sheer lack of experience going into Flushing Meadows. Raducanu has still never won a match on the senior WTA Tour – Grand Slams exist in their own bubble – let alone a tournament. Partly, this is down to circumstance involving the COVID-19 pandemic – her team deciding to minimise travel with so many variables – and her own decision to focus on her education, but it is also indicative of how little senior tennis she has played, even compared with fellow teen sensation Coco Gauff.
At the beginning of 2021, Raducanu’s goals were to finish her A-Levels and compete in a few lower-level tournaments to improve her ranking from the low-300s. Well, it’s September and she currently has an A* in maths, an A in economics and is the US Open champion. She has rocketed to world No23. Not bad for someone who had to pull out of her Wimbledon fourth-round match with breathing difficulties, inspiring countless middle-aged men who get out of breath walking from the sofa to the drinks cabinet – plus a handful of former athletes who really should know better – to question her mental fortitude.