Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp branded teenage tennis sensation Emma Raducanu “the talent of the century” after she defeated Leylah Fernandez to win the US Open.
The 18-year-old Raducanu has been propelled to international stardom after triumphing in New York at the weekend, overcoming Fernandez 6-4, 6-3 in the final of the Grand Slam.
She is the first ever qualifier to ever win a Grand Slam title, winning 10 matches on her way to the title without dropping a set. Raducanu also became the first female British tennis player to win a major since 1977.
Klopp, a keen tennis player, revealed he stopped preparations for Liverpool’s match against Leeds to watch the US Open final. He praised both Raducanu and Fernandez, describing women’s tennis as “in a brilliant moment”.
“It is long ago that I watched a full tennis game and I was impressed by the power, the speed and the whole game,” he said. “Women’s tennis is obviously in a brilliant moment.
“These two girls, 18 and 19, what they showed in the game was massively impressive. But then when they got the trophies during the ceremony, how both girls spoke was really inspiring to be honest. Even more so than the tennis, which was inspiring enough.
“I was absolutely overwhelmed by the way they presented themselves. Fernandez was obviously disappointed and Emma showed great respect for her. They knew they will face each other in the future very often and be in many more finals. I wish that for them.
“It was a great show of sportsmanship and elite sport and how humble you can be while so young and on top of the world.”
Klopp also revealed Raducanu’s performance had him hooked on women’s tennis.
“When you are 18-year-old and win the US Open it can only come from hard work. She is for sure the talent of the century, but without hard work it is not possible to be there and doing that.
“Now she is there and you see her smiling during the game, it is the nicest thing I can imagine. I will watch women’s tennis much more, for sure, than I did in the last few years.”
Raducanu, who began this year ranked 345th in the world and only made her debut on the WTA tour in June, is now world number 23.
Her achievement earned praise from a host of British sports stars, including David Beckham, Marcus Rashford, Adam Peaty, Lewis Hamilton, and Andy Murray.
She is currently making the most of her new-found fame, attending the Met Gala in New York alongside tennis legends Naomi Osaka, Serena and Venus Williams, and Maria Sharapova.