Emma Raducanu wins another award as Novak Djokovic snubbed for Rafael Nadal

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Emma Raducanu has beaten out world No 1 Iga Swiatek and recently-retired Aussie Open champion Ash Barty to pick up another award at the Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly ahead of her US Open title defence. And she was joined by Rafael Nadal who picked up the men’s tennis prize while Novak Djokovic was shunned entirely from the list of nominees.

Raducanu earned a number of awards after she became the first qualifier in history to win a Grand Slam title at the US Open last year, including the prestigious BBC Sports Personality of the Year. And she has beat out two multiple Major winners and her New York finals opponent to win best athlete in the women’s tennis category at the ESPYs over Ashleigh Barty, Iga Swiatek and Leylah Fernandez, who were nominated alongside the Brit.

Barty was the world No 1 and won her third Grand Slam title at the Australian Open this year before announcing a sudden retirement, while Swiatek took the top spot at the end of the Aussie’s career and went on a 37-match winning streak, including lifting a second French Open crown while Fernandez was another surprise teenage finalist in New York, losing to Raducanu.

Nadal picked up the title in the men’s half of the category, while recent Wimbledon champion Djokovic was shunned entirely from the list of nominees while 15-time quad wheelchair Grand Slam champion and recently retired Dylan Alcott was up for the award alongside young stars Carlos Alcaraz and Felix Auger-Aliassime.

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The Spaniard enjoyed a stunning start to the 2022 season, winning 20 successive matches which spanned titles in Melbourne, Acapulco and a then-record 21st Major title in Australia. After winning the most Grand Slam titles in men’s singles history, he shattered his record at the very next opportunity at the French Open for an overall 22nd title and record 14th in Paris.

Djokovic was prevented from competing much at the beginning of the season over his unvaccinated status, being deported from Australia on the eve of the Aussie Open and returning in Dubai a month later where he lost in the quarters before being kept out of Indian Wells and Miami. He finally built momentum over the clay season, winning Rome and falling to Nadal in the French Open quarter-final before winning his seventh Wimbledon title just 11 days ago.

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But it seems his fourth-consecutive trophy at the All England Club came too late for the world No 7 to be counted as a nominee, while breakout star Alcaraz had his name included in the list after breaking into the top ten and winning four titles already this season, including two Masters 1000s. He also beat Nadal and Djokovic back-to-back en route to winning Madrid. 

The Serb already has five ESPYs to his name from previous years, while Nadal picked up his third after winning in 2011 and 2014. But both have not been able to come close to their rival Roger Federer’s record of nine awards in the men’s tennis category.

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