Marcus Rashford led the praise for Emma Raducanu as the British tennis sensation reached the final of the US Open.
The 18-year-old became the first qualifier ever to reach the final of the Grand Slam, and did it in style without losing a single set along the way.
In the early hours of Friday morning, the young Brit dispatched Maria Sakkari with ease to book her place in Saturday’s final against fellow teenager Leylah Fernandez.
There was a chorus of support from sporting stars and celebrities for the Orpington tennis star as her New York fairytale continues.
Manchester United ace Rashford tweeted: “Congrats @EmmaRaducanu what an achievement already!! Good luck this weekend we’re all be cheering you on back home.”
England legend Gary Lineker said: “Hasn’t lost a single set in reaching the final. Even in an Olympic year, if this young superstar wins the final it will be the greatest British sporting achievement of the last 12 months….make that the last 12 years.”
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge tweeted: “What an incredible achievement at this year’s #USOpen @EmmaRaducanu! We will all be rooting for you tomorrow Wishing you the best of luck! C.”
And it appears even Liam Gallagher is a fan, as the former Oasis frontman wrote: “Can u dig it congratulations to Emma Raducanu c’mon LG.”
Congrats @EmmaRaducanu what an achievement already!! Good luck this weekend we’re all be cheering you on back home 🎾
— Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) September 10, 2021
Can u dig it congratulations to Emma Raducanu c’mon LG
— Liam Gallagher (@liamgallagher) September 10, 2021
Hasn’t lost a single set in reaching the final. Even in an Olympic year, if this young superstar wins the final it will be the greatest British sporting achievement of the last 12 months….make that the last 12 years. https://t.co/QR9fIDFSCq
— Gary Lineker 💙 (@GaryLineker) September 10, 2021
We will all be rooting for you tomorrow 🤞 Wishing you the best of luck! C https://t.co/ceO5TuUEyt
— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) September 10, 2021
Raducanu has swiftly proved her doubters wrong, following concerns after her exit from Wimbledon earlier this summer.
Her run came to an end at the last-16 stage when she suffered breathing difficulties.
People like John McEnroe, Kevin Pietersen and Piers Morgan were quick to pile on the teenager and question her ability to make it at the top level of sport.
McEnroe said the occasion had ‘got too much for her’, while Morgan tweeted about mental strength and accused her of quitting.
Pietersen added: “Talent is one thing, but mental toughness is what separates the good from the great in sport!”
The trio faced a backlash for their comments from the likes of Rashford and British tennis legend Sir Andy Murray.
Now Raducanu has firmly made them eat their words with her performance at the US Open and she looks set to be a star of the game for many years to come.
Former French Open winner Sue Barker was seriously impressed with how the teenager handled the occasion on such a big stage.
Being reunited with former Question of Sport colleague Ally McCoist on the talkSPORT Breakfast, Barker said: “It’s not just about the forehands and backhands, it’s not about the technique, it’s about how you handle the occasion.
“Playing on the Arthur Ashe Stadium, under the lights for the first time, I watched the razzmatazz of ‘here comes the semi-finals’ and thought how is she going to deal with this.
“Then she won the first three games and saved six break points on her serve. She just doesn’t seem to care where she plays.
“She embraces it and uses the crowd.”
This run at the US Open has already elevated Raducanu’s profile and she will become a household name.
Barker added: “She’s on the front cover of Vogue at the moment, her life is going to change. I hope the team manage that because you have to remember she is 18.
“I want her to enjoy her life. I was reading Judy Murray writing about Andy Murray in the early days and he made his breakthrough at the US Open when he was 18. In the men’s it is over five sets so a lot tougher.
“She made sure in those first few years when he was young to get one of his mates to fly over and be with him on tour so he could still be a teenager and still have his mates around him.
“These players are living in an adult world with their coaches, trainers and agents.”
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