EMMA RADUCANU shocked the sporting world by winning the US Open as the 150th-ranked qualifier last year.
Emma Raducanu fever is still making an impact more than six months after the British teenager won the US Open. Aged 18, she became the first qualifier in history to win a Grand Slam title when she hoisted the trophy in Flushing Meadows. After her US Open triumph, Sky Sports have bought the rights to air the tournament three years after getting rid of tennis from their broadcast.
Raducanu became a household name almost overnight when she completed a historic three weeks at the US Open, failing to drop a set through three qualifying matches and seven main-draw matches to win the title aged just 18 while ranked No 150 in the world. She was the first woman to win the title on just her second Grand Slam appearance and the first qualifier ever to win a Major.
Her triumph was watched by more than nine million Brits after Amazon Prime agreed a deal with Channel 4 to simulcast the final on free-to-air TV. Prime currently hold the rights to the ATP and WTA tournaments and have broadcast the US Open since 2018 but will lose the final Major of the year after this year, according to The Times.
With Raducanu’s rapid rise to the top has come a piqued interest in both tennis and the woman herself, and Sky Sports are keen to get a piece of the action more than three years after giving up their rights to broadcast the ATP Tour. After bidding to air the tournament from 2023 onwards, it has been revealed that the Bromley teenager was behind the decision.
The current world No 13’s “sudden rise to prominence” is said to have “enticed” Sky Sports to outbid Amazon for the next period of broadcasting rights for the US Open in Britain. They were the 25-year exclusive broadcaster of the US Open until 2016, when they admitted they would be axing the tournament from their scheduling as they put more money into the rising cost of Premier League rights and invested in F1 and golf.
The New York-based Grand Slam was then broadcast on Eurosport until 2018, when Prime Video picked up the rights. Sky also had the rights to the ATP Tour until the end of 2018, when Prime also became the broadcaster of the men’s tour and a year later also took on the rights to the WTA Tour, in a landmark move that saw both the men’s and women’s events broadcast on the same platform in Britain.
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The United States Tennis Association, who run the tournament and host it at their USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, are yet to finalise the deal with Sky but informed Amazon Prime on Friday morning that they would be losing the rights after broadcasting the tournament this year.
As well as Raducanu’s unprecedented victory at last year’s US Open, Prime also showed Daniil Medvedev winning his maiden Grand Slam title by defeating Novak Djokovic in the final when the Serb was aiming for a then-record 21st Grand Slam.