The new sensation of British women’s tennis, 19-year-old Emma Radacanu, has earned more money in 2021 than the four times Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka. It’s another first to add to her incredible fledgling tennis career.
In June this year, Radacanu was a virtual unknown on the WTP circuit. She was ranked 361st, but that was soon to change when she received a wild card for Wimbledon 2021. She surprised everyone by reaching the 4th round. On the way, she won her first. second, and third-round matches without losing a set.
The precocious youngster had won the hearts of the home crowd, and the British press was raving about her potential. However, in her 4th round match against the 28 year old Croatian, Ajla Tomljanovic, she retired from the game trailing 4-6, 0-3, complaining of breathing difficulties and everyone began to doubt her staying power at the top level.
Then, in September, along came the US open, and the young Brit was to silence her critics by taking the crown without losing a set on the way.
In the final, she ran out a 6-4, 6-3 winner over 19-year-old Canadian Laylah Annie Fernandez, becoming the first British female tennis player to win a major tournament in 44 years, when Virginia Wade won Wimbledon.
Radacanu might not have been the youngest women’s player to win the US Open. That honour still belongs to Tracey Austin, who won it at the tender age of 16 years, eight months and 16 days old in 1979. However, Radacanu is the youngest player to win a Grand Slam since 2004, which was when Maria Sharipova bested Serena Williams in the Wimbledon final.
In addition, Radacanu is the only female tennis player in the open era to have lifted a Grand Slam title, having played so few matches.
It has to be said, however, that she has now come down to earth with a bump. She has lost her last two outings and is yet to appoint a new coach, having sacked her previous coach shortly after lifting the US Open crown.
Her next outing is with fellow Brit Andy Murray when she will take part in the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi in December.
But for now, she is sitting pretty, having notched up an impressive £2.1 million in 2021, making her the 6th highest female earner, two places ahead of Naomi Osaka, who only managed to rack up £1.7 million.
Unsurprisingly, the top female earner is world No.1 Ashleigh Barty, who this year has notched up earnings of a very nice £3 million. She is rounding off an incredible year with a heart-warming engagement announcement.
The highest-earning tennis player overall this year was Novak Djokovic, with £6.8 million.
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