Emma Raducanu’s rapid rise to sporting stardom – the timeline

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  • Emma Raducanu
    Emma Raducanu
    British professional tennis player
  • Virginia Wade
    British tennis player
Emma Raducanu established herself as one of the biggest names in British sport in 2021 (Zac Goodwin/PA) (PA Wire)
Emma Raducanu established herself as one of the biggest names in British sport in 2021 (Zac Goodwin/PA) (PA Wire)

Emma Raducanu was crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year for 2021 on Sunday.

Raducanu established herself as one of the biggest names in British sport after her fairytale success at the US Open in September, where she became Britain’s first female winner of a grand slam tournament since Virginia Wade in 1977.

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

Emma Raducanu become the first qualifier to win a grand slam in the Open era (ZUMA/PA) (PA Media)
Emma Raducanu become the first qualifier to win a grand slam in the Open era (ZUMA/PA) (PA Media)

2018:

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.

2019:

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.

2020:

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.

Emma Raducanu, pictured, secured a stunning win over Sorana Cirstea at Wimbledon (David Gray/PA) (PA Wire)
Emma Raducanu, pictured, secured a stunning win over Sorana Cirstea at Wimbledon (David Gray/PA) (PA Wire)

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.

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