US Open champion Emma Raducanu cannot believe her rapid rise after triumphing at Flushing Meadows in only her second career major.
The 18-year-old Briton became the first qualifier, male or female, to ever win a grand slam title after defeating Canadian Leylah Fernandez 6-4 6-3 on Saturday.
World number 150 Raducanu reached the fourth round at Wimbledon in June but had a stunning run in New York.
“No, I wouldn’t have believed it at all,” Raducanu said when asked if someone told her before Wimbledon she would win a major by the end of the northern summer.
“I thought Wimbledon was such an incredible experience. Fourth round, second week, I couldn’t believe it. I thought, what a great achievement.
“But I was still hungry. I was working hard after the grass. I didn’t have much time off. Then straight back out here on the States.
“With each match and tournament and week, I think I’ve really built in terms of confidence, in terms of my game, in terms of my ball striking. Everything came together today.
“I think to pull off some of the shots I did in the big moments when I really needed it was just an accumulation of everything I’ve learnt in the past five weeks.”
Raducanu’s triumph remarkably comes having not dropped one set throughout the tournament, knocking off Belinda Bencic, Maria Sakkari and Shelby Rogers along the way.
The Briton did not play any top 10 opponents, with some critics suggesting it came easy, although Bencic was coming off Olympic gold in Tokyo.
“I’d say even though I didn’t on paper drop a set, I think I faced a lot of adversity in every single one of my matches,” Raducanu said.
“I can pick moments where I was down. Even if the scoreline was showing one thing, the dynamic of the points in the games, there were long deuce games. Just to come through those are important.
“I think what I did very well this tournament was press in the moments that I really needed to. I guess that’s why I didn’t drop a set on paper, even though all of the matches were extremely challenging.”