What is a qualifier in tennis, as Raducanu makes history at the US Open?

Eve Edwards September 12, 2021
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

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If you’ve been following the coverage of the US Open then you will have seen Emma Raducanu be called a ‘qualifier’ this tournament.

After her win on Saturday, 11 September 2021, Raducanu made history as the first qualifier to become champion at the US Open – or any Grand Slam tournament for that matter, men or women. But for tennis fans old and new alike, there may be some confusion over what this term means.

In the wake of Raducanu’s spectacular win, we explore what it means to be a qualifier in tennis.

Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

What is a qualifier in tennis?

A qualifier in tennis is defined as a player who made it to the main tournament by means of a pre-qualifying tournament not by virtue of their world ranking. World rankings determine qualification for any official tournament as well as player seedings. 

Prior to competing in the US Open main draw, Emma Raducanu competed in a series of qualifying matches that took place in New York almost a month ago. Raducanu was so doubtful she’d make it through the qualifying rounds she booked her flights home after the US Open qualifying tournament.

But the 18-year-old tennis star never flew home – she kept on winning and winning.  Raducanu won ten straight matches in New York – including three in qualifying – without dropping a set. 

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So, how has Emma Raducanu’s world ranking changed?

Emma Raducanu has made history as the first qualifier to ever take home the trophy at the US Open. With the world’s eyes on her and this historic win, you may be wondering what has changed about Raducanu’s world ranking.

Raducanu was world No 345 at the start of 2021, and No 338 in the first round of Wimbledon earlier this year. Since then, her world ranking has leapt a couple of hundred spots.

At the start of the US Open, Raducanu was ranked world No 150. Regardless of the result in the final, she would have at least reached No 32.

With the win under her belt, Emma Raducanu has now secured the spot as British No 1 and ranks world No 23. She won’t need to qualify again for some time. Hopefully, never!

  • READ NEXT: Who are Emma Raducanu’s parents? Mom and dad of British tennis star

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Eve spends her days writing about everything culture-related. From celebrity news to music, film and television, Eve covers all bases. When she’s not writing you can find her making music or mastering the art of homemade pasta.