Emma Raducanu (left) has won the Laureus World Sports Breakthrough of the Year award.
The 19-year-old Brit sent shockwaves through the tennis fraternity by scripting an unexpected triumph at the US Open last year after starting her campaign as a qualifier. Following her dream run at Flushing Meadows, the-then 150th-ranked Raducanu broke into the top 20, ending the year at a career-best World No. 19.
On Sunday, Laureus Academy member Li Na introduced the Brit as the Breakthrough of the Year award winner in a special video message.
“Hey Emma, Li Na here to say congrats,” she said. “I’m happy that as a member of the Academy my colleagues and I have chosen you as the winner.”
The teen then thanked the two-time Grand Slam champion on the Laureus World Sport Weibo account, saying in Mandarin:
“Li Na, you are my favorite tennis star. I would like to say thank you. I want to meet you too. See you soon.” (English translation)
Currently ranked 11th in the world, Raducanu also expressed her gratitude for receiving the award and also thanked her fellow nominees. She said:
“It means so much to receive this award and I really want to congratulate my other nominees. I feel like it’s been a really great year for me but I’ve still got a lot of work to do.”
Other nominees for the Breakthrough of the Year award were 2021 US Open winner Daniil Medvedev, Barcelona and Spain star Pedri, Tokyo Olympics men’s javelin throw gold medalist Neeraj Chopra, track and field star Yulimar Rojas and swimmer Ariarne Titmus.
Emma Raducanu’s 2022 campaign thus far
Emma Raducanu at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix Stuttgart 2022 – Day 5
Emma Raducanu has had a modest 2022 campaign thus far. The teenager kickstarted her season with an opening-round defeat in Sydney before making the second round at the Australian Open.
Interspersed between the opening-round exits at Guadalajara and Miami, Raducano made the Round of 32 at Indian Wells. In the ITF BJK Cup Qualifiers, she won one of her two singles matches as Great Britain lost 2-3 to the Czech Republic.
On her next stop at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Raducanu lost to World No. 1 and eventual winner Iga Swiatek in straight sets in the quarterfinals. Nevertheless, her two wins at the WTA 500 tournament helped Raducanu ascend to a career-best ranking of 11 in the world.