The Laureus World Sports Awards is one of the most prestigious ceremonies in sports histories. Over the past couple of years, tennis has dominated the major awards, with Djokovic, Federer, and Nadal taking home the Laureus World Sports Award for Sportsman of the Year multiple times each. The ESPYs is another award ceremony hosted by ESPN, which, while not as tennis-dominated, still has had a couple of winners in the past. Tennis players may not have been recognized for the best awards, but still have made it on the winners list.
One such player is Emma Raducanu, who won the Laureus award for the Breakthrough category after her run to the US Open title. She also won the SP for the Best Female Tennis Player for that past year. While many have stated that Raducanu has a lot of potential and will do even better than she already has in the future, was this one-time run at the US Open enough to secure her not one, but two prestigious awards?
Raducanu had a great second half of the 2021 season, reaching the fourth round of Wimbledon before having to retire against AjlaTomlijanovic. In the leadup to the US Open, she did not play many WTA matches, mainly working her way up on the ITF and Challenger tours. After receiving entry into the US Open qualifiers, Raducanu won three matches, securing her spot in the main draw of the last major of the year.
The rest of the tournament would showcase her highest level, beating many top players like Belinda Bencic and Maria Sakkari. In the finals, she would face a player whose story was similar to hers: Leylah Fernandez, and end up winning the title. This surprise run shocked the entire tennis world.
Many thought that Raducanu was set to be the next superstar of women;s tennis, following in the footsteps of Serena and Venus Williams. Her powerful game and composure made her a great role model too. She definitely would be one to watch.
Such a run would definitely makeRaducanu a candidate for the two awards. However, outside of her amazing run on the courts of New York, the British player never made any other significant moves on the tour. Even after her victory, she has barely been able to win a match on the WTA tour mainly crashing out of tournaments in the first or second rounds. At this year’s Wimbledon, Raducanu lost the second round to Caroline Garcia, not being able to defend points that she gained last year. At Indian Wells, Raducanu lost the first round. At the Australian Open, she lost the second round. In the 2022 Indian Wells she lost in the second round. At the Miami Open, she crashed out in the first round. At the French Open she lost the second round. Does one tournament really make her the best female tennis player for the past year?
When we think about it,there are so many other athletes who had breakthrough years. BarboraKrejicova won her first ever grand slam title. IgaSwiatek has dominated the sport for the entirety of 2022. Ash Barty has won the Australian Open. Paula Badosa has been consistent in her game after winning Indian Wells. There are so many other tennis players to choose from who have been much more consistent in their results and have had much more of a “breakout” season.
Throughout much of this story, it is safe to say that the media has had a huge impacto n how Raducanu has been perceived. After the US Open victory that she had, Raducanu found herself in an appearance on almost every talk show and news station, adding more pressure on her shoulders. Furthermore, it seems that she almost embraced that culture of being not only one of the best, but also one of the most famous athletes. While many of the other greats that we have followed for so many years have maintained a relatively low-key profile, Raducanu can be described as the polar opposite. This may have definitely played into her bad results.
Emma Raducanu is a great player in many respects, and her win at the US Open was truly a fairytale run. However, does this really make her the best female tennis player in the last year? Is this one victory enough to make her a breakthrough athlete, despite her inconsistent results the rest of the year? It doesn’t really seem like it.