Photo: Martin Sidorjak / Tennis Canada
The WTA Tour announced the winners of its 2021 Player Awards on Tuesday after members of the media voted on the standout stars of an incredible season. There was recognition for year-end World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty as well as breakout star Emma Raducanu.
There were five awards up for grabs: Player of the Year, Doubles Team of the Year, Most Improved Player of the Year, Newcomer of the year and Comeback Player of the Year. Find out who claimed each prize below…
Player of the Year: Ashleigh Barty
Having won this award in 2019, Barty took the tour by storm again in 2021. She won four WTA titles (Miami, Melbourne, Stuttgart, Cincinnati) during the year and claimed her second Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, having won her first at Roland-Garros in 2019, by beating Karolina Pliskova in the final at the All England Lawn Tennis Club. The Australian also finished as World No. 1 for the third year in a row.
Doubles Team of the Year: Barbora Krejcikova & Katerina Siniakova
The 2021 Roland-Garros champions, Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova – who won in Toronto in 2019 – are deserved winners of the Doubles Team of the Year Award with both players having held the World No. 1 doubles ranking at one point this season. The duo added to their list of honours with victories in Melbourne, Madrid and ended the year by hoisting the WTA Finals trophy in Guadalajara, Mexico. They were also Gold medal winners at the 2020 Olympic Games, which were held in Tokyo.
Most Improved Player of the Year: Barbora Krejcikova
There’s cause for double celebration for Krejcikova, who was also named the most improved player on tour for 2021. The award is restricted to players who finished inside the Top 50 – the Czech ending the year at an impressive No. 5. Krejcikova’s season peaked with her first Grand Slam title at Roland-Garros and a career-high ranking of No. 3 in November, earning her a spot at the year-end Finals.
Newcomer of the Year: Emma Raducanu
Reserved for the player who made their Top 100 debut or had notable accomplishments for the first time in 2021, it’s fair to say Great Britain’s Emma Raducanu tore the criteria to shreds on her way to winning this award. She made history this year by becoming the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam when she defeated Canadian Leylah Annie Fernandez in the final of the US Open. Her round of 16 appearance at Wimbledon also ensured she was the youngest British woman to reach that stage at The Championships. Having started the year at No. 343, she finished it ranked No. 19.
Comeback Player of the Year: Carla Suarez Navarro
Having been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in September 2020, it was heart warming for any tennis fan to see Carla Suarez Navarro return to the courts in 2021 for her farewell to tennis. Her highlights this year included three-set marathons with Sloane Stephens at Roland-Garros as well as Barty at Wimbledon. The Spaniard reached a career-high ranking of No. 6 in February 2016 and finished her career with five titles, two in singles and three in doubles.