US Open champion Emma Raducanu has capped an extraordinary 2021 by being named the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year.

The 19-year-old completed a fairytale in New York in September as she became the first qualifier ever to win a grand slam tennis tournament.

She also became the first British woman since Virginia Wade in 1977 to win a grand slam, and claimed the title without dropping a set.

Her achievements have made her one of British sport’s biggest stars, and she claimed the prestigious BBC prize ahead of Olympic gold medallists Tom Daley and Adam Peaty.

Tyson Fury, Raheem Sterling and Dame Sarah Storey were the other three individuals shortlisted for the award, with Sir Lewis Hamilton, who came so close to winning a record eighth Formula One title earlier this month, omitted.

Wimbledon Times:

Here, the PA news agency looks at the 19-year-old’s rise:


Reaches the quarter-finals of two junior grand slams, at Wimbledon and the US Open. Turns professional, and wins her first two ITF titles at tournaments in Tel Aviv and Antalya. Finishes the year with a world ranking of 692.


Reaches two more ITF finals, winning her third title at the event in Pune, India. Continues to edge up the world rankings with a year-ending mark of 503.


Reaches the final of ITF World Tennis Tour tournament in Sunderland, and sees her ranking improve to 343 at the end of the year.

June 2021:

Loses to compatriot Harriet Dart in her main WTA debut in Nottingham, but reaches the quarter-final of a lower-level tournament at the same venue the following week, where she pushed former Wimbledon semi-finalist Tsvetana Pironkova.

July 2021:

Handed a Wimbledon wild card, making history by beating Vitalia Diatchenko, Marketa Vondrousova and Sorana Cirstea to become the youngest British woman to reach the fourth round in the Open era. Forced to retire during her match against Ajla Tomljanovic due to breathing difficulties.

August 2021:

Reaches the final of the WTA 125 tournament in Chicago, losing to Canada’s Clara Tauson but rising to 150 in the world rankings.

August/September 2021:

Fights through three qualifying matches to make the main draw of the US Open. Proceeds to beat Stefanie Voegele, Zhang Shuai, Sara Sorribes Tormo, Shelby Rogers, Belinda Bencic, Maria Sakkari and Leylah Fernandez, all without dropping a set, to become the first qualifier to win a grand slam in the Open era and guarantee a top 50 world ranking. Less than a fortnight later, she split from coach Andrew Richardson.

October 2021:

Loses second-round battle with Aliaksandra Sasnovich at Indian Wells on her return to the court before pulling out of the Kremlin Cup, citing a “tournament schedule change”. Later in October, the Briton bowed out of the Transylvania Open at the quarter-final stage after defeat to Marta Kostyuk.

November 2021:

Stellar season comes to a disappointing end after losing to Chinese qualifier Wang Xinyu at the Austria Ladies Linz on the day she revealed her new coach was Torben Beltz, best known as the long-time mentor of three-time grand slam champion Angelique Kerber.

December 2021:

Raducanu was voted the WTA Newcomer of the Year after her history-making 2021 season. The 19-year-old then tested positive for coronavirus and was isolating in a hotel room when the Sports Personality ceremony took place having tested positive in Abu Dhabi, where she was due to take part in the Mubadala World Tennis Championship.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the teenager’s career so far in numbers:

1 – Raducanu is the current British number one.

44 – years since the previous British winner or finalist at a women’s grand slam singles tournament when Wade won Wimbledon in 1977.

2.5million – prize money in US dollars for Raducanu’s efforts, equivalent to £1.8m. Raducanu’s career earnings before the US Open stood at a combined 303,376 dollars, or around £219,000.

19 – Raducanu’s current age, with just 10 weeks separating her and US Open losing finalist Leylah Fernandez.

150 – Raducanu’s world ranking going into the tournament.

10 – matches in Raducanu’s stunning run in New York, from the first of three qualifying rounds and all the way through the 128-strong draw to the final.

2021 – made her WTA Tour debut in June as a wildcard entry at the Nottingham Open.

0 – sets dropped on the way to the US Open final, winning 18 in succession across qualifying and the main draw.

18 – age when she won the 2021 US Open women’s singles title.

4 – Raducanu reached the fourth round at Wimbledon on her grand slam main draw debut, before retiring on medical grounds against Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic.

1 – Raducanu is the first qualifier ever to win a grand slam final.

17 – court on which Raducanu and Fernandez played at Wimbledon in the 2018 girls’ singles, with the latter’s name displayed on the scoreboard as Leylah Annie Fernandez. Raducanu won 6-2 6-4.

5ft 9in – Raducanu’s height.

2.1 million – Instagram followers, with 617,500 on Raducanu’s Twitter account.

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