Emma Raducanu has been named the BBC Sports Personality of the Year after her incredible breakthrough in 2021 which reached its peak at the US Open when she became the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam singles tournament in tennis history.
The 19-year-old accepted the award remotely from Abu Dhabi, where she is isolating following a recent positive test for Covid-19, and was overwhelmed by the recognition of her wonderful achievement in New York.
“It’s such an honour just to be amongst these nominees, so to win is really pretty amazing to me,” she said upon being announced as the winner. “I’ve watched Sports Personality of the Year growing up so I’m really humbled to join the amazing past winners.
“I’m also very happy for British tennis, that we’ve been able to get this award again, and also thank you so much to all of the voters and all of the fans for all the support I received this past year. It’s been absolutely insane, and especially the energy that I felt at Wimbledon this year, playing in front of my home crowd. It’s something that I’ve never felt before.”
Raducanu initially came to prominence at Wimbledon, where she beat Vitalia Diatchenko, Marketa Vondrousova and Sorana Cirstea to reach the fourth round before being forced to retire from her clash with Ajla Tomljanovic after suffering breathing difficulties.
She then went on to create history by winning 10 straight matches at the US Open to progress all the way from the first qualifying round to the title, beating Canada’s Leylah Fernandez in the final. She won all 20 sets on her way to becoming the first British woman to clinch a Grand Slam crown since Virginia Wade’s Wimbledon title in 1977, all at the age of just 18.
Raducanu succeeds seven-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton as the Sports Personality of the Year, beating diver Tom Daley and swimmer Adam Peaty into second and third spots respectively.
She is the first tennis player to win the award since Sir Andy Murray won for the third time in 2016 following his second successive Olympic gold medal in the men’s singles and also a second Wimbledon title.
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