Judy Murray revealed she knew Emma Raducanu had something special about her from a young age.
Murray, a top level tennis coach and mum to British tennis stars Jamie and Andy, came across the Bromley sensation when she was playing at the National Tennis Centre as an Under-10.
Fast-forward eight years and Raducanu is starring at the US Open becoming the first ever qualifier to reach the final.
The 18-year-old has blitzed her way to the final without dropping a set and comes up against Leylah Fernandez on Saturday for the Grand Slam title.
Murray told talkSPORT on Thursday: “It’s just incredible, it’s a fairytale.
“The first time I ran across her was when I ran an Under-10 girls’ training squad at the National Tennis Centre in London and she was one of the players, she must have been nine or ten at that point.
“What impressed me then was she asked a lot of questions, she was very smart and very good, she concentrated very well and at that age that’s not so easy often for kids.
“I didn’t see so much of her in the years beyond that but she was always around and continued to focus, not just on her tennis but very much on her schooling – in June she was sitting her A-Levels.
“She’s not quite come out of nowhere, but at this scale of event she’s come out of nowhere, for sure.
“She didn’t expect to get through, but look at what she has done, she hasn’t dropped a set, it’s absolutely incredible!
“She’s really captured the imagination, not just with her tennis but with the way she’s gone about it, she’s got this wonderful smile and a really engaging personality, so she’s really burst into our consciousness.
“She will be great for tennis in this country, especially for girls’ tennis.
“She’s fearless, she has nothing to lose and she’s said herself, she’s out there to enjoy it, she’s on the biggest stage in the world.”
Raducanu has enjoyed a whirlwind few months after reaching the last-16 at Wimbledon, before having to withdraw, and is now just one win away from a famous Grand Slam victory.
Britain have not had a female Grand Slam winner since Virginia Wade won Wimbledon in 1977. Wade also won the US Open in 1968.
The hype around the teenager is growing with every match she plays.
Former British number one Annabel Croft told talkSPORT: “I understand why people want everyone to be a little cautious because sometimes a player can break through like this and the pressure can really get on top of them and be really overwhelming and it gets too much.
“We are also very right to be as excited as we are about her because she is a very, very special talent. She ticks all of the boxes.
“It’s not just about having the techniques and tactics on the court, the athletic ability, but it is also having that strength of mind as well.
“The ability as well to walk out onto a grand stage like Arthur Ashe Stadium, which has 20,000 plus people in the arena and she seems to be able to flourish in those extreme pressurised situations.
“I can understand why people want to be cautious, but they are also right to be excited by someone this special.”
Former British tennis player Barry Cowan added: “We knew Emma was good, but you don’t know how good they’re going to be until they’re put into that elite level.
“The tennis world is littered with incredible juniors who fail to make that transition. Some ultimately get to the very top, like Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Roger Federer, but a lot of the Grand Slam winners in the junior game don’t go on to ever make the top 50 or top 30.
“But Emma has all the attributes you need to be a great tennis player. She’s got the talent, she’s got the physicality and she’s also got the mentality. She believes she owns that court, and for someone of 18 that’s quite astonishing.
“Even if you don’t follow tennis, you can see that this girl is special. She is a class act. She’s not a one-hit wonder, and if it doesn’t happen to be this weekend that she wins a major, I am very confident further down the line we’ll be talking about Emma Raducanu getting to the very top of the sport.”
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