Finala adolescenței la US Open 2021 Foto: Twitter US Open 2021

CTP, about the US Open final between Emma Răducanu and Leylah Fernandez: A miracle from childhood fairy tales

Foto: Twitter US Open 2021

The US Open 2021 final is played on Saturday between two athletes who until a few months ago were almost unknown: the young Emma Răducanu, 150th place in the world, and Leyah Fernandez, 73rd place. For me, that’s enough, the fact that I will see a final with them, it will be something extraordinary to see the confrontation of these two tactical and technical intelligences and, at the same time, girls with a smile on their face, relaxed, I think it will be a great triumph for tennis of all times “, tennis commentator Cristian Tudor Popescu declared on Digi24 on Friday.

Emma Răducanu, aged 18, was born in Canada, but represents Great Britain, the country where her parents moved when she was 2 years old. Her father is Romanian and her mother is Chinese. ” The only thing we can say is Romanian, without any hesitation, is the name Răducanu. Otherwise, it doesn’t make sense to make associations, to consider it ‘ours’. It is grown in other countries, it is not ours. The fact that the father is Romanian is a genetic issue, we cannot say that it is ours. But we can, of course, love her! Nobody’s stopping us . I can’t make, for example, a difference of affection that I have for the two very young players, Emma Răducanu and Leylahei Fernandez, who really has nothing to do with Romania “, says Cristian Tudor Popescu.

A different kind of tennis, a different kind of training

Another tennis, a different training, this is the difference between the two finalists this year at the US Open and other young players who, over the years, have impressed, but then have not confirmed, CTP points out. 

“I have never seen, in more than half a century in which I live in tennis, to enter the top, on the first stage, in this way two virtually unknown players, coming from far away from the standings and at the same time exploding. . I have seen in recent years young players who have made a spectacular entrance, but who, after that, have not confirmed much. What’s the difference between Emma, ​​Leylah and the others?

First of all, I think, it’s another tennis. What they are playing is another tennis now, in many ways, not just the shots. They have some extremely well-worked shots, both have a technical accuracy, so it’s a pleasure to watch them hit. Leylaha Fernandez’s Forehand, although left-handed, reminds me of the right-handed forehand of the great champion Steffi Graf. They both hit the ball like ping-pong close. I hit from the front and from the ascent, with a very short retreat of the missile, sometimes almost without preparation, without retreat of the missile, surpassing at certain moments even Naomi Osaka, who was a champion at the speed of preparing the shots.

So, they have these extraordinary technical qualities, but in addition, these girls know tennis, at 18-19 years old! I don’t know how this was achieved with them, but I know tennis as players of 30, 30 and some years! They are formed differently. I don’t know what it’s like in Canada, at that tennis center about which I only heard extraordinary things, but they are formed with this maturity, with this science of the game of tennis. Because I saw many young players with exceptional shots, a pleasure, but who did not know tennis, who did not have the vision of the field, tactics, did not know how to get out of critical moments. This is absolutely bewildering, I can’t believe it “, said Cristian Tudor Popescu.

Both had very difficult moments, in which they manage to serve excellently, as does Emma Răducanu, who has a better service than Leylaha, considers CTP. The commentator also noted the peace and serenity that Emma Răducanu showed in the quarterfinal match with Belinda Bencic at a key moment, when the match could return.

Silence and a smile

“This, again, is a characteristic of these two girls:  silence and a smile. The silence! You can see the difference between Sakkari, on the one hand, and Sabalenka, who gasp, who scream at every shot – and don’t scream in vain, but because they both hit a heavyweight boxer force – and these girls, who are silent. Tac. I make no noise, no sound when I hit the ball and from time to time, I smile! And it is not, as I have seen in others, a fiddler smile, forced, displayed, with which they want to create a certain mental state of the opponent, of arrogance –  I do not care about you, everything is a flower in the ear -, although on the inside it may not be so at all. Not here! They have an absolute smile from the heart, from the soul, a smile on their clean faces, it is an absolutely sincere, childish smile “, underlines Cristian Tudor Popescu

The commentator says that the psychic atmosphere behind these players matters a lot. “It happens with players in their situation, very young and talented players, to be pressured by their parents, by the technical team, by the coach, to get results. I can give you a recent example: Cori Gauff. Huge talent, who can become a great player, but who already has problems due to the performance pressure exerted by those sitting in the stands. Osaka is an extreme case, she failed to manage the glory, she failed to manage the victory. It is a very difficult thing to handle in situations of triumph. It’s almost as hard as in defeat situations, and Osaka simply collapsed mentally. Or, these two girls benefit from the back, it can be seen, from a non-stressful support. I mean, of course, everything is done for them – to train, Why were you wrong? What you did? That’s not possible! You have to do  “Press them, as often happens”, points out Cristian Tudor Popescu.

Tennis of tactical intelligence returns, not brute force

“Behind these two girls is another philosophy of coaching and tennis mentoring in general.  Their tennis is over time connected with the tennis of the great players of the years before 2000 – before the Williams sisters who marked a milestone in women’s tennis – namely Steffi Graf, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Martina Hingis or immediately afterwards. , Justine Henin – technical players, players who do not rely on an extraordinary force, very intelligent tactical players, who offered a splendid tennis. Emma and Leylah become associated with them over time. In their case, there was no insistence on force, aggression, brutality, bomb services, in Leylaha’s case she doesn’t even have the physique for such a thing. On the contrary “, shows CTP.

“Here, to my amazement and immense joy, it’s like a miracle from childhood fairy tales, here came again the tennis of finesse, the tennis of tactical intelligence, the tennis in which not brute force prevails”, concluded the tennis commentator.

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