Breakthrough stories don’t come much bigger than Emma Raducanu—as if reaching the fourth round of Wimbledon as a wild card weren’t enough, two months later she went on to win the US Open as a qualifier, in doing so becoming the first qualifier in the Open Era, male or female, to win a Grand Slam title.

It was an historically fast learning curve—the US Open was just her second Grand Slam main draw appearance, the fewest Grand Slam main draw appearances before winning one for any player in the Open Era, male OR female.

After her 6-4, 6-3 victory over fellow teenager Leylah Fernandez in the US Open final, Raducanu was asked whether she would have believed someone if they had told her before Wimbledon that she would be a Grand Slam champion by the end of the summer—and she herself admitted she wouldn’t have.

“I wouldn’t have believed it at all,” she said. “At the beginning of the grass courts I was coming fresh off my exams. I had three weeks to practice before my first tournament. I just built up every single match, every single win.

“I thought Wimbledon was such an incredible experience. Fourth round, second week, I couldn’t believe it. I thought, 'What a great achievement.'

“But I was still hungry. I was working hard after the grass. I didn’t have much time off, then straight back out here to the States. With each match and tournament and week, I think I’ve really built in terms of confidence, in terms of my game, in terms of my ball striking. Everything came together today.

“I think to pull off some of the shots I did in the big moments when I really needed it was just an accumulation of everything I’ve learnt in the past five weeks.”

What Raducanu’s historic results have done to her ranking has been historic, too.

She went from No. 338 to No. 179 after Wimbledon, No. 179 to No. 150 with her results between Wimbledon and the US Open and from No. 150 to No. 23 after New York.

Her rise continued in the fall—on November 8th she made her Top 20 debut, rising from No. 21 to No. 20, and on the November 15th year-end rankings, just two days after her 19th birthday, she rose to a career-high of No. 19 in the world.

All in all, that’s a rise of 319 spots from No. 338 to No. 19 in just four months.

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Raducanu is the only teenager in the Top 20 of the WTA rankings right now, and she only just turned 19 two weeks ago.

Raducanu is the only teenager in the Top 20 of the WTA rankings right now, and she only just turned 19 two weeks ago.

Raducanu is the fifth British woman to reach the Top 20 in WTA rankings history.

BRITISH WOMEN TO REACH TOP 20 ON WTA RANKINGS (since 1975)
~ Virginia Wade (career-high No. 2)
~ Sue Barker (career-high No. 3)
~ Jo Durie (career-high No. 5)
~ Johanna Konta (career-high No. 4)
~ Emma Raducanu (career-high No. 19)

And it’s entirely possible that Raducanu will become the fifth British woman to reach the Top 10 at some point in the first half of 2022.

She’s currently ranked No. 19 with 2,622 ranking points, 2,340 of which came from three results alone in the second half of 2021—reaching the fourth round of Wimbledon (240 points), winning the US Open as a qualifier (2,040 points) and then another quarterfinal in October at the Transylvania Open, a WTA 250 event on indoor hard courts in Cluj-Napoca, Romania (60 points).

She didn’t even play at all in 2021 until early June.

Of course this depends on other players’ results, but Raducanu is only 833 points behind the current No. 10-ranked player in the world’s points—with absolutely nothing to defend until June, the sky's the limit for the British teenager.