It’s not about money for the unlikely U.S. Open finalists Leylah Fernandez and Emma Raducanu. But the money certainly won’t hurt.
Before the tournament, Fernandez had earned $786,772 in official prize money during her short career. Raducanu had earned $303,376 in her even shorter career, most of it from reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon in her Grand Slam debut in July.
Those numbers are about to change dramatically. The winner today will earn $2.5 million, the runner-up $1.25 million. Those figures do not account for the sponsorships and other commercial deals that Fernandez, a Canadian, and Raducanu, who is British, will most likely sign because of their attention-grabbing runs in New York.
Before the final, Raducanu said that her biggest title so far had come two years ago at a tournament in India where the total prize money was $25,000. The U.S. Open’s total purse this year: $57.5 million.
Speaking of Raducanu, Tim Crow, a sports marketing consultant, told The Guardian that he “hadn’t had this many calls from clients, major brands, who are interested in her since Lewis Hamilton broke through in Formula One. If she wins, she will become one of the hottest properties in British sport, if not the hottest.”
Tennis has a global fan base, but Raducanu’s and Fernandez’s multicultural backgrounds could add to their global appeal. Raducanu was born in Canada and has a Romanian father and Chinese mother. Fernandez’s mother’s parents immigrated to Canada from the Philippines, and her father was born in Ecuador.