St. Petersberg (USA), (Samajweekly) Australia’s world number one Ashleigh Barty was crowned WTA Player of the Year for the second time and US Open champion Emma Raducanu won the Newcomer of the Year award, the governing body of the women’s tennis said on Tuesday.
Barty, who also earned the accolade in 2019, won a tour-leading five WTA titles this year. She won her second career Grand Slam title at The Championships, Wimbledon, and successfully defended her title at the Miami Open
The Australian also won the titles in Melbourne, Stuttgart, and Cincinnati. She also won the Porsche Race to the WTA Finals and secured the year-end World No 1 ranking for the third consecutive year.
The 19-year-old Raducanu scripted history in 2021 with her US Open title, where she became the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam. She did not drop a set throughout all 10 of her matches.
Raducanu made her Grand Slam main-draw debut at Wimbledon this year and reached the last 16 to become the youngest British woman to reach this stage at the All-England Club. Her other notable results this season include a finals appearance at the Chicago WTA 125 and the quarterfinals at the Transylvania Open.
The British teenager started the year ranked No 343 and finishes the season at a career-best No 19.
The Czech Republic’s Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova were named doubles team of the Year for the second time, having also been recognized with this honor in 2018.
This season, the Czech duo captured their third Grand Slam trophy as a team at Roland Garros, won additional titles at the Gippsland Trophy (Melbourne) and Mutua Madrid Open, before rounding off the year by lifting the WTA Finals Martina Navratilova Doubles Trophy at the AKRON WTA Finals Guadalajara.
While both held the No 1 doubles ranking this season, Siniakova finishes the year as the WTA doubles year-end No.1.
Meanwhile, Barbora Krejcikova took the WTA prize for the Most Improved Player of the Year following a stellar season in which she won the French Open singles crown. The Czech won the first three singles titles of her career this season. She made her Top 50 debut this year and climbed as high as World No 3.
Carla Suarez Navarro was named the Comeback Player of the Year award. The 33-year-old was di’gnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in September, 2020 and after winning her battle against cancer, she decided to end her career on her own terms and returned to the tour in 2021 for her final farewell.
The Spaniard played Roland Garros, where she took Sloane Stephens to three sets in the opening round, and Wimbledon, where she had another three-set battle against eventual champion Ashleigh Barty in the first round. She also represented Spain at the Billie Jean King Cup finals.