TENNIS sensation Emma Raducanu, 18, beat Leylah Fernandez in the US Open final on Saturday to end Britain’s 44-year wait for a women’s Grand Slam singles champion.

Raducanu beat 19-year-old Fernandez 6-4 6-3 at New York’s Flushing Meadows stadium – taking home £1.8 million in prize money.

She also became the youngest women’s Grand Slam champion since Maria Sharapova won at Wimbledon in 2004.

Raducanu sealed her victory with an ace shortly after a medical time-out because she cut her knee on the court when returning a shot. 

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Her achievement was celebrated at Flushing Meadows by Virginia Wade, the last British woman to win a major trophy at Wimbledon in 1977, and former British men's number one Tim Henman.

Two weeks before the final, Raducanu had booked a return flight to the UK in case she did not make it through the qualifying phases of the tournament.

After winning the US Open, Raducanu said: "Thank you to everyone here in New York - thank you all for making me feel so at home from my first qualifying match all the way to the final.

"I've loved playing in front of you and you've really spurred me on in some difficult moments." 

Raducanu’s success will no doubt inspire a surge of interest in tennis across the country.

The County Gazette has compiled a list of tennis clubs in our patch for players who have been inspired to take to the court for the first time, or even to dust off their rackets and start playing the sport again. 

You can contact the clubs or find out more by clicking on the website links below.  

Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News:

Taunton Tennis Club

Located at Blackbrook Leisure Centre, Taunton Tennis Club has six floodlit outdoor courts and six indoor courts, so its members can play all year round whatever the weather.    

The club offers a variety of options for players of different ages and abilities, including practice drills and matches for beginners, drills and matches for experienced players, and social tennis for over 50s.

Around 250 young people aged between two-and-a-half and 17 are currently part of the club’s junior tennis programme.

Its junior courses take place indoors, so sessions will never be cancelled due to the weather, and children with be able to play with others of a similar age and ability to develop their skills and have fun.

Bridgwater Lawn Tennis Club

Bridgwater is a welcoming club situated just off Junction 24 of the M5.

It offers a range of membership options – including a new pay-and-play scheme – for beginners and experienced players. 

Coaching is available for juniors and adults, while family, student and senior memberships are available.

Avenue Tennis Club

Avenue, Burnham-on-Sea’s tennis club since 1909, has around 300 members.

New players, including beginners, are always welcome.

The club, located at The Grove, offers a range of memberships and a pay-and-play scheme and has AstroTurf and hard courts.

Coaching starts for players under the age of eight, who will learn basic technique and movement, through to adults’ coaching and ‘rusty rackets’ for players returning to the sport.

Wedmore Tennis Club 

Wedmore has five floodlit AstroTurf courts and a modern clubhouse, which opened in 2015, providing extensive coaching and fitness opportunities. 

The club has 260 members playing competitively and socially. 

The coaching available for adults includes adult mixed coaching, 'rusty rackets', ladies' beginners and more. 

Coaching is available for children "from tots to teens" and individual coaching is available. 

Couple, family, junior and young person/student memberships are among those available. 

Wedmore tennis club is located on Blackmore Road behind the bowls club near Wedmore First School. 

Minehead Lawn Tennis Club

With over 120 members and four courts, Minehead has been one of the biggest tennis clubs in the county for over 80 years. 

Three of the courts are AstroTurf, one is all-weather macadam, three are floodlit, and one has a practice wall. 

Coaching is available for minis, juniors and adults, and there is a 'rusty racquets' club for restarters. 

Non-members can book a court at the Townsend Road club using a pay-and-play scheme. 

Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News:

Trull Tennis Club

Trull Tennis Club, located just over two miles from Taunton, describes itself "a friendly, inclusive and thriving community-based tennis club". 

Club members can book a court up to two weeks in advance, and the club also offers leagues and coaching throughout the week for different children's age groups. 

Adults can play in league matches all year round, and the club also offers social tennis and coaching including 'cardio tennis', which focuses on fitness. 

You can find Trull Tennis Club in Sweethay Lane, Staplehay. 

Wiveliscombe Tennis Club

Wiveliscombe’s club facilities are open 365 days a year for players with annual or short-term memberships.

It runs twice-weekly club sessions for all members and runs coaching sessions for adults, juniors and players returning to tennis, while competitive players can play in tournaments against other clubs. 

The club is located at the Recreation Ground, around a ten-minute walk from Wiveliscombe town centre, and it has three floodlit all-weather courts.

Chard Tennis Club 

The three-court club in Chard was founded in the 1920s and continues to welcome new members of all ages and abilities. 

Alongside an all-weather court, the club has two carpet courts, which are non-slip and safe to play on after rain or frost. 

There are a range of memberships available and non-members can play up to three times before joining if they pay a £3 visitor's fee. 

Group coaching sessions and private tuition are available, and Chard also play fixtures against other local clubs. 

The club is located at Denning Sport’s Field, Zembard Lane, and can be accessed through the football club. 

Somerton Tennis Club 

Another club with a variety of options for adults and juniors is Somerton Tennis Club, located in Gassons Lane. 

Players at Somerton can play in the Yeovil and District league, or they can play casually with other members on one of the club's two courts, which are also available for public hire at 24 hours' notice. 

The club runs two open sessions on Wednesday evenings and on Saturday mornings. 

During the winter, when there are no evening matches, there is another session for men on Mondays and for women on Thursdays. 

Coaching for junior players takes place on Tuesdays between 4pm and 5:30pm for children aged four and above, and sessions work out at £4 each. 

South Petherton Tennis Club

South Petherton offers social and competitive play, including club tournaments throughout the year for its members.

Men, women and mixed teams from the club also compete in the Yeovil and District League.

The club has three floodlit, all-weather hard courts providing year-round tennis. 

South Petherton has 166 members, including 59 juniors. 

Coaching is available throughout the week. 

There are seven adult groups and a junior programme starting with 'tennis tots' for children from the age of three through to yellow-ball coaching for young people up to 18.