Teens shine over tennis royalty in shock viewers boost

Emma Raducanu (pictured) holding her US Open final trophy and (pictured left) Novak Djokovic disappointed.
The women's final TV ratings, featuring Emma Raducanu (pictured) and Leylah Fernandez, peaked at a higher number than the men's US Open final featuring Novak Djokovic (pictured left) and Daniil Medvedev. (Getty Images)

Emma Raducanu's crowing moment as the darling of tennis proved to be a ratings winner for the US Open after eclipsing Novak Djokovic's quest for sport immortality.

In the lead up to the US Open, Novak Djokovic's quest for a career grand slam and a record 21 major titles was a huge talking point.

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But as the tournament progressed, the world became enamoured with Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez's run to the US Open final.

The women's US Open final featured two stars with a combined age of 37.

And the teen superstars obviously caught the attention of the nation as the women's final peaked at 3.4 million viewers while the men's final, which saw Daniil Medvedev win his first major title, had a peak of 2.7 million the following day, ESPN said.

The women's title clash between the teenagers — the first major final in the Open era to feature two unseeded players — had an average of 2.44 million viewers, a 37 per cent increase over the 2020 final when Naomi Osaka beat Victoria Azarenka.

A day after British 18-year-old Raducanu became the game's first qualifier to win a major, men's world No.1 Djokovic took the Arthur Ashe Stadium court against second-ranked Medvedev in the men's final.

Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez pose during the awarding ceremony of the US Open final.
The women's final between Emma Raducanu (pictured right) and Leylah Fernandez (pictured left) had a higher peak audience than the men's final. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Xinhua via Getty Images) (Xinhua News Agency via Getty Images)

A win for the Serb would have made him the first man in 52 years to win all four majors in the same year and give him a 21st grand slam to move ahead of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

The final on Sunday afternoon, which typically faces stiff competition for viewers from the first week of the NFL season, averaged 2.05 million viewers, up 37 per cent from last year.

But the numbers were even more staggering in the UK.

Channel 4, which signed a last-minute deal with UK rights holder Amazon Prime to broadcast the match free to air, saw their broadcast peak at 9.2 million viewers during Raducanu's improbable win.

Emma Raducanu's rise in the rankings

The 18-year-old then famously became the first qualifier in the history of tennis to claim the title at Flushing Meadows after beating Fernandez in straight sets in the women's decider.

Her history-making triumph saw Raducanu gain a remarkable 127 spots in the latest world rankings released by the WTA - which puts Raducanu as the world's 23rd ranked female player.

That's an extraordinary 325 places above where she started before Wimbledon, just two months ago.

By winning the US Open as a qualifier, Raducanu earned 2,040 points and jumped 127 spots to overtake Johanna Konta as the highest-ranked woman from Britain.

Raducanu credited her trips abroad during her age-group tournaments for developing the confidence to succeed on bigger stages.

with AAP

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