History making US Open champion, Emma Raducanu, has capped off an amazing 2021 by becoming the first female winner of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year (SPOTY), a show she admits watching as a child growing up.
In September this year, Raducanu, attracted worldwide fame after winning the US Open to become Britain’s first female Grand Slam champion since 1977.Playing in only her second Grand Slam, Raducanu became the first qualifier, male or female, to win a Grand Slam, as she beat Canada’s teen sensation, Leylah Fernandez, 6-4, 6-3 in the US Open final, continuing her run of not dropping a set in the tournament.
The British teen tennis sensation was a hot favourite to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, and she couldn’t hide her delight, when she beat off stiff competition to win the prestigious award.
Holed up in a hotel room in Abu Dhabi after testing positive for Covid-19, the humble champion, was full of gratitude, and had this to say moments after being announced the winner.
“It’s such an honour to be amongst all these nominees and congrats to you for such an amazing year and for all your achievements. To win, it’s really pretty amazing to me… I am really happy with this.” – US Open champion, Emma Raducanu
“I watched Sports Personality of the Year growing up, so I am really humbled to join the amazing past winners. I am also really happy for British tennis to get this award again. Thank you so much to all the voters and for all the support I have received this past year. It’s been absolutely insane, especially the energy that I felt at Wimbledon this year and playing in front of my home crowd. That was something that I’ve never felt before.”
Speaking in the media prior to the event, Raducanu said the biggest lesson she learnt this year was to be kinder to herself.
“I’m so grateful and actually proud of myself. That is why that holiday in the Caribbean last month was so good for me because I could take a step back and really appreciate how far I have come.
“I feel like I’ve learned quite a lot of things and the biggest thing is just patience with myself and just being kind to myself because sometimes you can get so caught up in the result or what just happened and you forget how far you have come.”
For an indication of what is to come for this global teenage superstar, hours after her BBC Sports Personality of the Year nod, Raducanu was announced as the global brand ambassador for British Airways.
thrilled to join the @British_Airways family as a global brand ambassador! The airline has already been part of a special time for me, flying me home from the US Open. I look forward to working with the iconic British brand on some exciting projects!#britishairways ✈️ pic.twitter.com/TJiQCubFjs
— Emma Raducanu (@EmmaRaducanu) December 21, 2021
Things are looking up for one of 2021’s breakout global stars and as BBC tennis correspondent, Russel Fuller, notes in his Emma Raducanu forecast for 2022, things are only getting started.
Photo Caption: History-making US Open champion Emma Raducanu becomes first woman winner of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 15 years, and it is the only the beginning for this global tennis star. Photo: Emma Raducanu (Twitter)