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The RFT sweep past Germany

The Davis Cup favourites, Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev, representing the Russian Tennis Federation rather than their country as it is banned from international competition for state doping violations, cruised into the final at the Caja Magica in Madrid, after...

Darlene Hard dies at 85

Darlene Hard, winner of 21 major titles in the 1950s and 60s, has died at the age of 85 in Los Angeles on Thursday at the Northridge Hospital after a brief illness, according to Mona Cravens, Director of Student Publications at the University of Southern California,...

Croatia knock Serbia out

Novak Djokovic's dream of leading Serbia to a second Davis Cup title was shattered on Friday when neighbours, Croatia, twice former campions, knocked them out of this year’s competition at the semi-final stage.

China pushes back on WTA decision to suspend Chinese tournaments

The diplomacy war is hotting up over the Peng Shuai affair, with China objecting to the WTA politicising sport and the IOC maintaining its quiet approach under on-going criticism, while the ATP and ITF fail to follow the WTA’s lead.

The RFT slip into the DC semis

Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev as expected, led the Russian Tennis Federation – Russia itself has been banned from international competition for state doping – to the semi-finals of this year’s reformatted Davis Cup brushing Sweden aside 2-0.

WTA suspends business with China

The WTA is making good on its threat to pull its business out of China by announcing that it will suspend tournaments in both China and Hong Kong unless the Chinese authorities take steps to address Peng Shuai’s allegations of sexual abuse and concerns for her welfare...

Djokovic pulls Serbia through to semis

Serbia reached the reformatted Davis Cup semi-finals in Madrid with a 2-1 victory over Kazakhstan after the world No.1 Novak Djokovic came to the team’s rescue.

Konta retires

Former British No 1 Johanna Konta announced her retirement from competitive tennis at the age of 30 on Wednesday in London.

Why Peng Shuai remains of grave concern

The headlines may have died down, but Peng Shuai’s situation remains of grave concern as fears grow that the authorities in China are keeping the former Doubles World No 1 under wraps and preventing her from speaking freely.

Germany squeeze past Britain to reach Madrid.

In the second of the Davis Cup quarterfinals Germany upset Great Britain, squeezing past the favourites in Innsbruk 2-1 to make the Madrid semi-finals later in the week.
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Raducanu ends season ranked 19 ahead of Royal Albert Hall appearance

Emma Raducanu has had the most remarkable season by all accounts, starting it ranked 343 and rising to World No 19 in the world in the year-end WTA Rankings by way of having reached the 4th round at Wimbledon and winning the US Open.

Wowww… that was some year, 2 pics to sum up my 2021 season. I want to say thank you & that I am extremely grateful for your generous support. I’ve learnt many things at a fast pace on this incredible journey but, all I can say is that I am very excited and motivated for my next steps. I feel I can put in great work together with my team, with patience I believe we’ll get there. Huge thanks and big appreciation to my team & people who have supported me! This wouldn’t have been possible without you. Emma Raducanu

Now, in the off-season, she will be rounding it off with an exhibition match at the Royal Albert Hall on Sunday 28 November as part of the Champions Tennis event, which includes Grand Slam Champions, former World No 1s and national icons returning to London for the ATP Champions Tour Final.

Raducanu will face Elena-Gabriela Ruse, a Romanian ranked 85, with whom the 19-year old has become friends after they regularly practised together at the Transylvania Open in Cluj-Napoca last month and their teams went for dinner together.

Ruse, 24, was one of numerous Romanian players who welcomed Raducanu, whose father was born in Romania, into their group during the tournament.

“We started to be friends, she’s a nice person,” Ruse told the Guardian last month. “I enjoy the time with her so much. She is speaking really good Romanian, but she’s so shy to do it.”

After the Royal Albert Hall, Raducanu will play another exhibition as part of the Mubadala World Tennis Championships in Abu Dhabi in mid-December before looking towards pre-season training with her new coach, German Torben Beltz, in preparation for her first full season on the WTA tour.

The teenager from Bromley released on social media this week a photo of her lying down in disbelief in the players locker room only moments after winning the US Open trophy.

“Wowww… that was some year, 2 pics to sum up my 2021 season,” she wrote. “I want to say thank you & that I am extremely grateful for your generous support.

“I’ve learnt many things at a fast pace on this incredible journey but, all I can say is that I am very excited and motivated for my next steps. I feel I can put in great work together with my team, with patience I believe we’ll get there.

“Huge thanks and big appreciation to my team & people who have supported me! This wouldn’t have been possible without you.”

The image is of Raducanu laid out after her title win, with a bleeding bandaged knee sustained during the match.


Emma Raducanu posted a new photo taken after her US Open title win on Instagram

Instagram

Raducanu has climbed an incredible 324 places in the WTA Rankings in 2021 and finishes the year inside the World Top 20 at 19 after only becoming the 5th British woman to reach the Top 20 a fortnight ago, following in the footsteps of Virginia Wade, Sue Barker, Jo Durie and Johanna Konta.

Starting the year at 343, she made her first big ranking move after Wimbledon where she reached the 4th round on her maiden Grand Slam main draw appearance, jumping to 179 in the world.

Her fairytale run at the US Open, during which she became the first qualifier to win a major, saw her rise to No 23 in the rankings and take over as British No 1, while she climbed to 20 on the back of two wins at the Transylvania Open.

Now she has moved up one more spot to 19 in the season-end rankings as Belgium’s Elise Mertens dropped out of the top 20.

With no ranking points to defend in the first half of the 2022 season, Raducanu could rise even further at the start of the new year, as she will only start losing points at Wimbledon.


Wimbledon champion Ash Barty ends the year as World No 1 for the third time in a row

© Julian Finney/Getty Images

Meanwhile, Ash Barty finishes the year as World No 1 for the third time, while 6 players ended their seasons in the Top 10 for first time.

Barty won the most titles this year, including her maiden Wimbledon trophy, while she was also both the points and prize money leader, pocketing $3,945,182 for her trouble.

Besides adding a second Grand Slam title to her collection with her trophy at SW19, Barty also won the Miami Open, Cincinnati Open, Stuttgart Open and Yarra Valley Classic.

She finished the year on 7,582 points, giving her a 1,202 cushion over World No 2 Aryna Sabalenka, who finishes at a career-high.

Former World No 1 Garbiñe Muguruza jumped up to No 3 on the back of winning the WTA Finals this week, with Karolina Pliskova, French Open champion Barbora Krejickova, Maria Sakkari, Anett Kontaveit, Paula Badosa, Iga Swiatek and Ons Jabeur completing the Top 10.

Krejickova, Sakkari, Kontaveit, Badosa, Swiatek and Jabeur all finish the year in the top Top 10 for the first time in their careers.

27-year-old Jabeur became the first Arab player, man or woman, to reach the Top 10 in either the ATP or WTA Rankings, while Sakkari is the first Greek, and Kontaveit the first Estonian to reach the Top 10.

Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka finishes the year down at 13th after missing the bulk of the season, having opted to take time out of the game and dropping a lot of points after failing to successfully defend her US Open crown.

American Coco Gauff is the youngest player in the Top 20, aged 17 years and 247 days old, and she finishes at No 17, two spots above fellow teenager Raducanu.

Former World No 1 and 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams finishes the year at No 41, her lowest year-end ranking since 2006 when she finished at No 95, while former British No 1 Johanna Konta has dropped to No 111.




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