Novak Djokovic in Alexander Zverev battle as Emma Raducanu duels Ash Barty for 2021 crown

Emma Raducanu wins BBC Sports Personality of the Year

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As we approach the end of a turbulent year in tennis, it’s time to take a look back and reflect on the sport’s standout stars of 2021 – from kings to queens to breakthroughs to prospects. Voting for Express Sport’s End of the Year Tennis awards is now open, and we want you to have your say at the bottom of this article.

But first, let’s go through the nominees for each honour.

Men’s Player of the Year

The top four players in the ATP world rankings go head-to-head for our 2021 Men’s Player of the Year award.

Novak Djokovic has had another year to remember, surpassing Roger Federer’s Open Era record of 310 weeks as world number one in March and adding three more majors to his CV.

Djokovic beat Daniil Medvedev in the Australian Open final, but he dashed the Serb’s Grand Slam hopes by ousting him in straight sets in the US Open final to lift his first major title. He ended the year by leading Russia to Davis Cup glory.

Alexander Zverev won six titles throughout 2021, including Olympic gold in Tokyo and the ATP Finals – joining Djokovic and Federer as the only players to win the latter on multiple occasions. He also equalled his singles career-high ranking and will head into 2022 as world number three.

In April, Stefanos Tsitsipas won his first Masters 1000 title at the Monte-Carlo Masters. After reaching his third successive Grand Slam semi-final at the French Open, he earned a career-high of world number four by progressing to the final.

JUST IN: Duchess of Cambridge congratulates Emma Raducanu on epic year

Women’s Player of the Year

Ashleigh Barty’s year was slightly blighted by injuries, but she overcame her troubles to become the first Australian woman to win Wimbledon since Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1980. She ends 2021 as world number one for the third year running – a feat matched by just four others and was named WTA Player of the Year.

Naomi Osaka won her second Australian Open at the start of the year and later represented Japan in her home Olympics. Many athletes and sponsors have come out in support of the 24-year-old, who has cited mental health struggles as the reason for hiatuses in 2021.

This year has been Barbora Krejcikova’s biggest yet, starting 2021 ranked 65th in the world and ending it in a career-high fifth. She won her first Grand Slam singles title at the French Open – also winning the doubles at Rolland Garros – before claiming doubles gold at the Olympics.

Emma Raducanu won British hearts by reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon in her main draw Grand Slam debut. The 19-year-old then shocked the world by winning the US Open without dropping a single set, becoming the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam in the Open Era. She was unsurprisingly named the 2021 BBC Sports Personality of the Year, on top of several other individual honours.

Breakthrough Star

Jenson Brooksby, Carlos Alcaraz, Leylah Fernandez and Raducanu are up for the 2021 Breakthrough Star award.

Raducanu and Fernandez played out the first all-teenager singles final since the 1999 US Open. Brooksby reached his first ATP Tour final at the Hall of Fame Open in Newport before facing Djokovic in the US Open fourth round.

Alcaraz experienced a dream Madrid Open campaign, becoming the youngest match-winner in the tournament’s history before facing Rafael Nadal on his 18th birthday in the second round.

He also recorded the biggest win of his career, beating world number three Stefanos Tsitsipas at the US Open.

Biggest Prospect

Jannik Sinner is world number 10 aged just 20, while Casper Ruud became the first Norwegian to win an ATP title and reached world number eight in October, making him the highest-ever ranked player from his nation.

Aryna Sabalenka is second in the WTA rankings aged 23 and won the Australian Open doubles title with Elise Mertens. Paula Badosa won her maiden WTA title at the Serbian Open before winning the Indian Wells Open, her biggest career title to date.

Best Match

  • Wimbledon (R2): Andy Murray def. Oscar Otte 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2
  • French Open (SF): Novak Djokovic def. Rafael Nadal 3-6, 6-3, 7-6, 6-2
  • Indian Wells (F): Paula Badosa def. Victoria Azarenka 7-6, 2-6, 7-6
  • French Open (SF): Novak Djokovic def. Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-2, 5-7, 4-6, 6-1

Biggest Shock

  • Raducanu wins US Open from qualifying without dropping a single set
  • Djokovic ends Nadal’s era of dominance at the French Open to move one step closer to Grand Slam
  • Medvedev denies Djokovic Grand Slam to win maiden major at US Open
  • Dan Evans defeats Djokovic in straight sets in the Monte-Carlo Masters

With that said, have your say by voting in our 2021 End of the Year Tennis Awards below!

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