Tennis stars Emma Raducanu and Ashleigh Barty have both been honoured by the WTA in this year’s Player Awards.
Voted for by members of the international media, awards were handed out in five categories, recognising the stand-out performers from this season.
Newcomer of the Year: Emma Raducanu
Unsurprisingly Raducanu was voted the Newcomer of the Year after becoming the first qualifier to ever win a Grand Slam tournament.
The teenager started the year ranked almost 400th in the world, but reached the fourth round at Wimbledon, before triumphing in New York to become the new British number one.
Now, the 19-year-old is ranked inside the world’s top 20 and will almost certainly be seeded for next year’s Australian Open.
Comeback Player of the Year: Carla Suárez Navarro
In September 2020, Suárez Navarro was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma just months after she announced her retirement from tennis.
Remarkably, this year, the Spaniard was declared cancer-free and returned to tennis for a farewell tour.
While the 33-year-old was knocked out in the first round at the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open, she did reach the second round of the Tokyo Olympics.
Most Improved Player of the Year: Barbora Krejčíková
Krejčíková has had a truly stellar season –– winning her maiden Grand Slam at the French Open as well as three WTA titles.
The Czech has long been an established doubles player but has risen from 65th to fifth in the singles rankings this year.
Her victory at Roland-Garros now means she is one of only four active female players to have won a major in all three different disciplines, after Serena and Venus Williams, plus Sam Stosur.
Doubles Team of the Year: Barbora Krejčíková and Kateřina Siniaková
Krejčíková’s outstanding year didn’t stop in singles. Together with compatriot Siniaková, the pair won the French Open, Olympic gold and the end of season WTA Tour Finals in Guadalajara.
Siniaková is currently leading the way in the doubles rankings with Krejčíková just behind in second.
Player of the Year: Ashleigh Barty
After an 11 month hiatus, Barty’s return to the game has been nothing short of sensational.
The Australian won five WTA titles in 2021, including at least one on every surface. Her best victory, however, came at Wimbledon, where she secured her second major win.
Barty chose not to defend her crown at the Tour Finals in Mexico, but still finished the season ranked number one in the world for the third straight year.News Now - Sport News