Where does Raducanu's US Open win rank among past sporting fairytales?

Emma Raducanu’s US Open victory was a true sporting fairytale –  but how does it compare to Leicester’s title shock, Buster Douglas knocking out Tyson and Tiger’s comeback? Here’s our verdict…

  • Britain’s Emma Raducanu created history by winning the US Open 
  • She was the first women’s qualifier to ever win the Grand Slam title
  • Her remarkable achievement ranks among the best sporting fairytales of all time 
  • Leicester’s title triumph back in 2016 is still the unlikeliest sporting tale ever 

What else could throw up ridiculous narratives quite like sports?

Emma Raducanu’s remarkable US Open victory last week felt like something straight out of a fairytale; a true Cinderella story. 

A few days have passed, but many are still picking their jaws up off the floor and rubbing their eyes just in case it wasn’t all some kind of bonkers dream.

Overnight, Raducanu has become a sporting sensation; the poster girl for British tennis and the darling of a nation.

She was the first women’s qualifier ever to reach the US Open final, let alone win it and is now the youngest Grand Slam winner since Maria Sharapova in 2004. 

The fact she is only 18 years old and is yet to even win a WTA Tour match as a professional makes her achievement all the more astonishing. 

But where does her US Open triumph rank among the sporting miracles from yesteryear? Here, Sportsmail pick out 10 sporting fairytales and – at the risk of causing fury among sports fans the world over – even dares to put them in order! See if you agree… 

A nice obvious one to get the ball rolling: Leicester winning the Premier League in 2016.

It is the most remarkable story in English football history, and perhaps in the whole sport.

The season before, Leicester had been faced with the prospect of relegation but survived by the skin of their teeth thanks to a strong finish to the season. 

So when 12 months later Leicester were being serenaded as champions by Andrea Bocelli it came as a bit of a shock. 

No one, not even the person who put money on it, truly expected 5,000-1 underdogs Leicester to actually win the league. But all sense and logic was thrown out of the window with this one because somehow, someway, they did. A Cinderella story for the ages.

Leicester’s Premier League title triumph in 2016 is the most remarkable sporting fairytale ever

2. Emma Raducanu’s brilliant US Open win 

Given Leicester’s achievement was over 38 games and the number of great teams they had to better over the course of the season, it just pips Emma Raducanu’s incredible US Open triumph in my book.

Of course it still takes nothing away from the brilliant Raducanu, who has transcended the sport and become a global superstar in one of the most remarkable breakouts ever.

Raducanu’s feat eclipses every other famous sporting moment. Leicester’s incredible title win is just going to take some beating.

Emma Raducanu’s shock US Open victory last week was one for the history books

3. Goran Ivanisevic finally wins Wimbledon 

This is another tale that was a win for self-belief and perseverance.

Having come so close to winning Wimbledon on three occasions when he was at the peak of his powers, you would’ve forgiven Goran Ivanisevic for fearing that honour would forever elude him.

In 2001, when he was ranked 125th in the world and only selected as a wildcard pick for the tournament, then, more than ever, felt like Ivanisevic had probably missed the boat.

But against all the odds, he triumphed, defeating former and future world No 1 players Carlos Moyá, Andy Roddick and Marat Safin as well as Fredrik Jonsson, Greg Rusedski and Tim Henman before winning a three-hour, five-set thriller against Patrick Rafter in the final. 

He was given a hero’s welcome by 150,000 people on his return to his native Croatia to commemorate his achievement and remains the only ever wildcard entry to win a Grand Slam singles title.

Goran Ivanisevic won Wimbledon as a wildcard after previously losing three finals at SW19

4. Newly-promoted Kaiserslautern win the Bundesliga 

Still to this day, Kaiserslautern are the only team in Bundesliga history to be crown champions in their first season after promotion.

Bayern Munich had won the title the following year and were favourites to defend their crown in the 1997-98 season.

But the Bavarian giants were beaten by Kaiserslautern, who were managed by their former boss Otto Rehhagel, on the opening day of the season.

Bayern never overtook Kaiserslautern at any time during the whole course of the season. Kaiserslautern created history with one game to spare, finishing the campaign as champions, two points clear of Bayern. 

Had the German top-flight been more competitive, this one may have ranked higher but this was just a two-horse race, with the next nearest challenger Bayer Leverkusen finishing 13 points off the pace.

The Kaiserslautern side that shocked Bayern to win the Bundesliga included a young Michael Ballack (pictured centre)

5. Tiger Woods’ Masters redemption

Everyone loves a comeback story, and this ranked with the best of them.

Tiger Woods had once been the king of all sports, but flew too close to the sun and got horribly burnt. Suffocated by troubles in his personal life, injuries and scandals, there was a genuine worry we would never see the Woods of old again.

There was a time not too long before he won the Masters in 2019, that Woods himself was fearful he may never walk again because of his abiding back problems, let alone play golf. 

But Woods showed immense courage and the spirit of a true champion to continue battling on before his redemption moment finally came. 

That moment, wearing his iconic red Nike jersey, where he roared with both relief and jubilation after winning his first major in eleven years is one that will be remembered forever. 

Tiger Woods overcame all of his adversities to become a Major winner once again in 2019

6. Denmark’s huge shock to win the Euros

It’s hard to comprehend that the winners of the 1992 European Championships had not even qualified for the tournament outright.

Denmark were only given a week’s notice to put a squad together to compete at the tournament after Yugoslavia were barred because of the civil war.

Understandably, Denmark feared the worst and were given little hope of even emerging out of the groups. 

How wrong everyone would end up. After sneaking through the groups to send England and France packing, they edged out the Netherlands on penalties to reach the final where their fairytale run was expected to be ended by world champions Germany.

But Denmark put on a heroic performance to down the Germans and claim glory, with Peter Schmeichel pulling off a number of great saves to keep a clean sheet and John Jensen and Kim Vilfort scoring the goals to lead the Danes to the unlikeliest of victories.  

Denmark won the European Championships in 1992 despite not even properly qualifying for it 

7. Greece’s unlikely Euros triumph

There’s normally one surprise package at each major tournament, but few would have had money on it being Greece.

They were one of the least fancied teams at the Euros in 2004 and were 150-1 outsiders with the bookies, having only ever qualified for two previous major tournaments and failed to win a single game at either one. 

After surprisingly qualifying with Portugal from their group at the expense of Spain and Russia, Greece defeated France and the Czech Republic in the knockout stages to reach the final.

Against the odds, they pulled off one of football’s most remarkable feats on the international stage by claiming glory in Portugal and beating the hosts in the final 1-0. 

Their victory at Euros 2004 was so unexpected that even one of their players had booked his wedding for a few days after the final as he was sure he’d have plenty of time to plan the ceremony.  

150-1 long shots Greece emulated Denmark by repeating a shock win at the Euros in 2004

8. Bob Champion’s Grand National victory

Two years before Bob Champion would win the Grand National, he was given six months to live.

In 1979, Champion was diagnosed with testicular cancer and opted to undergo chemotherapy treatment and was remarkably back in the saddle a year later. 

He had long believed that Aldaniti had the potential to win the world’s greatest steeplechase over the gruelling four-and-a-half miles of Aintree’s famous course despite the horse’s chequered injury history.

But in 1981, Champion and Aldaniti became history makers by winning the Grand National together. Their victory earned them that year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year Team Award, and was chosen by Channel 4 viewers in 2002 as one of the 100 Greatest Sporting Moments, given the adversity Champion had overcome.

Their triumph inspired the movie ‘Champions’, with John Hury portraying Champion.

Bob Champion (second right) is pictured after becoming a Grand National winner just two years after being diagnosed with cancer

9. Buster Douglas shocks the world to beat the great Mike Tyson

James Buster Douglas will forever hold a place in boxing folklore for knocking out Mike Tyson in the biggest upset in heavyweight history.

No one will ever forget that night.

Douglas came into the fight with an undistinguished record and was facing the most feared man on the planet at that time.

It was supposed to be a knock-over job for Tyson. But Douglas tore up the script and fulfilled his own dream by becoming world champion. 

He would lose his next fight against Evander Holyfield and never scale those heights in the ring again. As crazy as his victory over Tyson was, ‘Iron Mike’s’ preparations had been virtually non-existent and Douglas was fortunate to not be counted out in the eighth round. Still a marvellous story that won’t be forgotten in a hurry.

James Buster Douglas shocked the boxing world by knocking out Mike Tyson back in 1990

10. USA’s ‘Miracle on Ice’

The fact this victory is known as the ‘Miracle on Ice’ tells you all you need to know.

The United States Ice Hockey team were given little to no chance against the heavily favoured Soviet Union, who had won the gold medal at the previous four Games.

Team USA’s side was made up of amateurs and college players, while the mighty Soviets had a team of hardened pros and international hockey stars.  

Despite the odds being heavily stacked in the Soviet Union’s favour, USA managed to pull off a huge upset and defeat them 4-3 to book their place in the gold medal match.  

Broadcaster Al Michaels famously screamed that he now believed in miracles after the game, coining the event the ‘Miracle on Ice’.

Team USA pulled off a miracle at the Winter Olympics in 1980 by defeating the mighty Soviets




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