STARNBERG, October 18, 2021 (by Alex Jack)
It has already been an incredible year for Emma Raducanu. The British player won her first Grand Slam event at the US Open, coming through qualifying to land the title in New York. She defeated Leylah Fernandez in a highly entertaining final.
Not only did Raducanu go through 10 matches to prevail in the final Grand Slam event, but she also did not drop a set, making it one of the sport’s fairytale storylines. She proved she has an exciting future on the WTA Tour, with more major titles likely to go her way.
There could be further honours going Raducanu’s way in 2021 as she is the long odds-on favourite at 1/20 in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year betting. The award is voted on by the British public and is given to the sportsperson who has accomplished the most across the calendar year.
Given that she was the first British female player to win a Grand Slam since 1977, it is no surprise she is leading the BBC Sports Personality of the Year tips. She tops the betting ahead of Olympic gold medallist Tom Daley, world record-breaking swimmer Adam Peaty and F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton.
Previous tennis winners of the award
Only four tennis players in history have won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award. Former world number one Andy Murray lifted the trophy three times, while Ann Jones (1969), Virginia Wade (1977) and Greg Rusedski (1997) have all received the honour.
In 1977, Wade was successful at Wimbledon before winning the prestigious award, beating the likes of Geoffrey Boycott and Barry Sheene.
Murray is the only person in history to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year on three occasions. After strong years on the tour, he was named the winner in 2013, 2015 and 2016. He also finished third in 2012.
If she does get voted as the winner, Raducanu will be the first woman to receive the award in 15 years. Zara Phillips was the last female winner in 2006 following her achievements in equestrian.
What’s next for Raducanu?
The pressure is now on Raducanu to follow up her US Open victory with more titles. She will be aiming to qualify for the WTA Tour Finals in Mexico and her Flushing Meadows success gives her an outside chance of doing that.
Raducanu’s next opportunity to win a Grand Slam will come in January in the Australian Open in Melbourne, where she will be making her debut appearance. The hard courts at Melbourne Park should suit her, so she will be expecting a big run.
The British player will also be relishing a return to Wimbledon next summer. She reached the fourth round of the tournament in 2021 but was forced to retire from her match with Ajla Tomljanovic due to breathing problems. She is sure to get a great reception from the home crowd following her victory in the United States.
This year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year ceremony takes place on the 19th December in Salford.