September 10, 2021
New York, New York, USA
E. RADUCANU/M Sakkari
THE MODERATOR: Your thoughts on the match.
EMMA RADUCANU: Yeah, I think today was always going to be a very difficult match, to play against Maria Sakkari. She's an unbelievable player, probably one of the best athletes out there on tour. I knew before the match I was going to have to play some of my best tennis if I wanted a chance.
Honestly I think I played some of my best tennis today, especially here in New York. Yeah, I knew I was going to have to be super aggressive. I managed to execute. So, yeah, I'm just really happy with today's performance.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Players keep talking about you and Leylah saying they're young, don't have any pressure, playing free. Do you think they're thinking about this sport all wrong? Do you think at some point the pressure is going to land on you? Do you feel pressure right now and you're just dealing with it?
EMMA RADUCANU: I think honestly being young, there is an element of you do play completely free. But I'm sure that when I'm older or have more experience, yeah, the same will happen to me. I think the tables will turn. Some younger players will come through.
Honestly right now I'm just thinking of the game plan, how to execute. That's what's landed me in this situation. It hasn't been focusing on who's expected to win this match or that one. I think it's just taking care of the day. That's what I'm doing quite well at the moment.
Q. I think you said the other day that you played Leylah under 12s or something like that.
EMMA RADUCANU: Junior Wimbledon.
Q. Can you cast your mind back to the first time you encountered her, either practice court or when you played.
EMMA RADUCANU: Yeah, I think it was maybe Orange Bowl, under 12s. It was definitely under 12s. We first encountered each other because I was born in Toronto and she was Canadian, so we kind of, like, made a little relationship back then.
But, yeah, then I played her at junior Wimbledon. Obviously since then we've both come very far in our games and as people. Yeah, I'm sure it's going to be extremely different to when we last encountered each other.
But we're both playing good tennis so it will be a good match.
Q. Are you aware of quite how much impact you're having back in the UK? You're the most famous person in the UK. How do you feel about that?
EMMA RADUCANU: Honestly thank you to anyone who's following any of the results here. It really means a lot, all of the support I'm receiving and the messages. I'm sorry if I can't reply to all of them.
I'm honestly just here physically and also I give my phone away, like I don't really check it. But yeah, I'm very appreciative of all the support.
Honestly I don't really realize what's going on back home because I've just been so focused here, yeah, keeping it tight and close with my team.
Q. How would you describe what you've accomplished so far.
EMMA RADUCANU: A surprise. Yeah, honestly I just can't believe it. A shock. Crazy. All of the above.
But, yeah, it means a lot to be here in this situation. I wanted obviously to, like, be playing Grand Slams, but I didn't know how soon that would be. To be in a Grand Slam final at this stage of my career, yeah, I have no words.
Yeah, I just want to thank everyone who has supported me in this journey. I think that from a young age the LTA has taken me under its wing, really helped me out from a young age. My team back home and my team that are physically here with me, I wouldn't be here without them.
Q. If you win the US Open in two days, it's probably going to be your biggest trophy title of your career. What is it currently, your favorite trophy?
EMMA RADUCANU: I won a 25,000 in Pune two years ago. That's probably my biggest title to date.
This is obviously by far my best achievement so far. Yeah, I don't want to get ahead of myself, but it's all to play for on Saturday.
Q. What's the first Grand Slam final you remember watching? What does it mean for you to get into a Grand Slam final?
EMMA RADUCANU: I think the first Grand Slam final was Wimbledon. My first experiences were just watching it on TV and also going there as a kid. One of my childhood coaches would take us on trips, day trips to Wimbledon. It was such a great experience.
To play there this year in the main draw meant so much to me, having watched from a young age.
Q. Do you remember who you watched the first time?
EMMA RADUCANU: I think -- no, I don't. Sorry.
It means everything to me to be here in the main draw first of all, then in the final of the Grand Slam, the US Open. I always had dreams of playing in Grand Slams, but I just didn't know when they would come. To come this early, at this point in my career, I've only really been on tour for a month, two months since Wimbledon. It's pretty crazy to me.
Q. I found the first tweet about you the other day and it was 10 years ago. It mentioned the 4-Love, 4-Love win at the Bromley tournament. It seems the activity around you picked up when you won the ITF in Liverpool, around 13. When did you realize when you were younger perhaps you could do things internationally?
EMMA RADUCANU: I think from a young age what was really good is the LTA were running a lot of camps and trips abroad, Tennis Europes, ITFs. They took us all through the stages.
I had a great experience at (indiscernible) under 12s, (indiscernible) under 11s. When I won there under 11s, that was a first real sign. Wow, I just won something internationally.
When I started having results early on on those trips, it definitely was eye opening that I could do something. But I never really realized that I would take tennis as a career until maybe two years ago.
Yeah, I always have my education as a backup. I was doing it alongside my tennis. I had options. I still do. But obviously I'm a hundred percent in my tennis now.
Q. Did you stay in contact and remain friends with Leylah?
EMMA RADUCANU: No, we didn't really speak. Whenever we saw each other at tournaments, we would be friendly and say hello. Very nice girl. We get on well. But, no, we don't really stay in contact.
Q. Canadian fans have been full of pride to mention you are from Toronto. Can you walk us through your Canadian roots a little bit. What does it mean to get so much support from your country of origin?
EMMA RADUCANU: Yeah, it definitely means a lot to have support from Canada. I was born there. I lived there for a couple years before I moved to London. I have a Canadian passport.
To have that support definitely means a lot. But, yeah to play Leylah on Saturday, it will be a tough match for sure. She's playing great tennis. But I think I'm also playing very good tennis.
Yeah, I'm excited to go out there. I'm sure there will be a good atmosphere for both of us.
Q. I think both you and Leylah have similar backgrounds. Both you have an Asian mother, born in Canada, moved to different country. Similar to Naomi. Do you think it's happening by accident or coincidence or any kind of role model you look up to?
EMMA RADUCANU: Yeah, I think for me having a Chinese mom, she definitely instilled from a young age hard work, discipline. I think for me when I was younger I would take a lot of inspiration from Li Na, even now just the way she was such a fierce competitor.
I think all her belief, she had extremely good weapons, her movement, her mentality, but her inner strength and belief really stood out for me. I remember watching her play Schiavone in French Open final. That was definitely a long, tough match. But the amount of mental strength and resilience she showed, that match still sticks in my head today.
Q. You say you're surprised, but with respect to the scorelines and the level of tennis that you're playing, does that aspect surprise you?
EMMA RADUCANU: Yeah, I think leading up to the US Open I had a lot of matches coming in. I played a 125 in Chicago, a 100K the week before. I think I was building with each match.
Here in the US Open I wasn't really sure how my level was going to be. In a way my tennis level has surprised me in the way that I've managed step up against some of the best players in the world.
I personally think inside I knew I had some sort of level inside of me that was similar to these girls, but I didn't know if I was able to maintain it over a set or over two sets. To be able to do it and play the best players in the world and beat them, I honestly can't believe it.
It's been extremely difficult because they always fight, they have so much experience which they use. Yeah, I'm just so, so proud to have come through very tough moments in all of my matches.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports