Emma Raducanu confirms SPOTY plans as she rates chances of winning prestigious award

Emma Raducanu reacts to messages from the royal family

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Emma Raducanu has shared her thoughts on the possibility of being crowned this year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year, and confirmed she wouldn’t be in the country for the ceremony next month. The 19-year-old has been one of the favourites to win the prestigious award following her historic US Open triumph earlier this year, but will instead be in the Middle East preparing for the 2022 season.

Raducanu had been tipped by many to be this year’s SPOTY when she became the first qualifier in history to win a Grand Slam title at the US Open.

Ranked at a then-career high of world No 150, the Bromley local came to New York for the qualifying event, and ended up winning ten matches on the bounce without dropping a set to leave as the US Open champion.

The victory propelled her to new levels of superstardom, as she became an overnight household name on both sides of the Atlantic.

Raducanu had already made waves in her home country when she made her Grand Slam debut at Wimbledon, having her wild card upgraded from qualifying to the main draw while ranked down at world No 338, and stormed into the second week.

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The world No 19 has now downplayed her chances of being chosen as this year’s SPOTY and even shared her preference for Lewis Hamilton to win the prestigious award during her on-court interview at the Royal Albert Hall, where she made a triumphant return on home soil, defeating Elena-Gabriela Ruse in a spirited exhibition match.

“No definitely not. I am rooting for Lewis in the race,” she admitted when asked on court if she had prepared a winner’s speech for the SPOTY award next month.

The US Open champion also shared her plans to complete her training in the Middle East following the Mubadala World Tennis Championships – an exhibition event in Abu Dhabi she is playing next month, and later confirmed she would not be in the country when the ceremony takes place in Salford on December 19.

Asked whether that meant she would be expecting to accept the award via video call in December, she said: “I mean, I haven’t really been told anything about Sports Personality of the Year or what’s going on that time.

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“I just know it’s happening sometime in December and yeah, I mean, I don’t even know what the plan is or what’s going on. But yeah, that’s, I’m not even thinking about that.”

The Bromley teenager was also coy about her chances, admitting she hadn’t been able to think about being crowned this year’s SPOTY because she was struggling to believe it.

Raducanu added: “No, I just don’t even think about it. Like for me, it’s something that’s so far out of the realms of possibility like I just don’t understand how it could even be a possibility.”

She also summed up her unprecedented rise this year, going from the world No 338 to a Grand Slam champion in the world’s top 20 in the space of four months – a feat that makes her the favourite to win the SPOTY title.

“A journey, I think that’s the biggest word,” the 19-year-old said.

“If you were to draw like a road or a journey basically, it would just not make sense you know the trajectory and where it went.

“But yeah, I’m so grateful and then actually proud of myself. Like that’s why I think that holiday was was so good for me because I could take a step back and really appreciate how I’ve come.”

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