British tennis sensation Emma Raducanu has been named The Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year.
Raducanu, who celebrated her 19th birthday earlier this month, made history earlier this year by becoming the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam when she triumphed at the US Open in September.
She navigated the qualifying rounds in New York to storm all the way to the final, where she defeated Canada’s Leylah Fernandez 6-4, 6-3 to win her first Grand Slam title, as well as £1.8million in prize money.
The first British woman in 44 years to win a Grand Slam singles title, she did not drop a set during the tournament.
Jonathan Licht, MD of Sky Sports said: ‘It is more important than ever post-pandemic to celebrate the progress and phenomenal achievements in women’s sport.
‘We have seen some astonishing moments throughout the year, not just in women’s sport but the contribution of these nominees to sport in general, from the success of The Hundred to the extraordinary story of Emma Raducanu that moved the nation. Sky Sports is pleased to play a part in the celebration of these incredible women.’
Emma Raducanu made history when she became the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam
The teenager beat Leylah Fernandez in New York to claim the trophy and £1.8m in prize money
The world No 19 was back in training this week after enjoying a short vacation
Weightlifter Emily Campbell, modern pentathlete Kate French, cyclists Laura Kenny, and Sarah Storey and boxer Lauren Price were also nominated for the award.
Previous winners include Dina Asher-Smith, Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, Elise Christie, Sally Gunnell, Tanni Grey-Thompson, Denise Lewis, Dame Kelly Holmes, Zara Tindall, Victoria Pendleton, Christine Ohuruogu and Laura Kenny.
Hollie Doyle collected the award last year.
Raducanu also enjoyed a dream run to the fourth round at Wimbledon in July before she was forced to withdraw during her last-16 match against Australian Ajla Tomljanovic after suffering ‘difficulty breathing’
Raducanu stars in Sports Direct’s £6m Christmas ad alongside Declan Rice and Jack Grealish
Raducanu was back in training this week after enjoying a vacation for the first time in seven years following her breakthrough season.
The world No 19 has teamed up with her new coach Torben Beltz, who helped Angelique Kerber to become the world No 1 1, after she decided not to extend a short-term partnership with Andrew Richardson following her New York triumph.
Raducanu will bring her stellar season to an end with an exhibition match against Romanian Elena-Gabriela Ruse at London’s Royal Albert Hall on Sunday.
Raducanu will be seeking to make a statement after enduring mixed fortunes on the tour since her Grand Slam triumph, losing early at Indian Wells and going out in the quarter-finals in Romania before being beaten in the first round of the Linz Open by Wang Xiyu.
Days after winning her first Grand Slam, she joined the A-list elite at New York’s Met Gala
She will be joined by tennis icons including former British No 1 Greg Rusedski, Goran Ivanisevic, Marcos Baghdatis, and Radek Stepanek.
After the London match, Raducanu will begin her preparations for the Australian Open, which begins on January 17.
Raducanu also gained celebrity status with her maiden Grand Slam win at Flushing Meadows, with brands lining up to offer her sponsorship deals and a host of magazines featuring her on the front cover.
Days later she found herself among the A-list elite at New York’s Met Gala – the biggest night in fashion.
The teenager shared snaps from her first holiday in seven years after a breakthrough season
She rose to the occasion in a stunning midriff-baring, monochrome Chanel outfit complete with pearls encircling her waist and Tiffany diamonds in her ears.
Personally invited by Vogue chief Dame Anna Wintour, she was seated on the $500,000 Chanel table with its celebrity ambassadors – prompting speculation she would join their ranks as an ambassador.
Meanwhile, the teenager was then revealed as the face of jewellery brand Tiffany and Co in a deal estimated to be worth more than £2million.
Raducanu shared a snap of her at a tropical beach with her 2 million Instagram followers
Emma announced the title on Instagram, saying: ‘Very excited to join the iconic @tiffanyandco family as a House Ambassador. Being able to wear these special jewellery pieces over the past few weeks has been an honour!’
And in October, she became the latest celebrity to be announced as an ambassador for high-end fashion house Dior.
In the role, the teen will represent Dior Creative Director Maria Grazia Chiuri’s womenswear collections as well as the luxury brand’s skincare and make-up ranges.
It is not known how much Emma will be paid for her role as an ambassador for Dior.
She also shared a video as she rode across the turquoise waters on a jet-ski
Emma further cemented her place as a household name as she was revealed as she face of Sports Direct’s 2021 Christmas campaign.
The teenage tennis sensation was joined by Euros heart throb Jack Grealish and an array of Britain’s top young sporting stars in the advert.
Looking sensation in tennis whites, the 18-year-old from Bromley frolics in the snow, hitting snowballs with her tennis racket in a whopping £6million campaign where she cheekily jokes ‘new balls please’ while being pelted in a snowball fight.
The tennis star has been heralded as a ‘sponsor’s dream’, and is on course to become the highest earning female sports star of all time.