“Thank you so much to all the voters and all of the fans for all the support I received this past year. It’s been absolutely insane.”
Raducanu was rewarded for a maiden grand slam win that was among the most stunning in tennis history, one that saw her become the first qualifier to win a major title, the first player to win on their second main-draw appearance, the first British women’s champion for 44 years, and the youngest for more than 60.
Even more incredibly, she managed all this without dropping a set all tournament. 9.2 million were able to watch in this country because Amazon Prime Video, which had the rights, did a deal with Channel 4.
Raducanu’s triumph came less than three months after her WTA Tour debut and barely two since she first won the hearts of the nation at Wimbledon, where she became the youngest British woman to reach the last 16 in the Open era before being cruelly forced to withdraw with breathing difficulties.
September’s stunning success made her one of the UK’s youngest sporting millionaires and sought-after stars, attending the Met Gala and a James Bond premiere and being tipped to become the country’s richest athlete, partly thanks to her half-Chinese, half-Romanian heritage.
Speaking before her victory, she said she was still the same girl from Bromley, adding: “I feel the complete same and everyone near me is definitely the same and keeping me in my place 100 per cent.
“It’s been great how everyone’s been so welcoming and positive when I got back home and around. But nothing really changed in terms of my mindset.
“My parents are never ones to really make a big deal out of anything that I do that’s good.
“They’ve been normal: nothing too big; nothing too low. That’s just the way they brought me up.”
As well as beating Daley and Peaty to the main award, Raducanu saw off competition from Raheem Sterling, Tyson Fury and Dame Sarah Storey on a six-strong shortlist.
The other big winner on the night was Gareth Southgate after he was named Coach of the Year and England Team of the Year for reaching the final of the European Championship, the country’s first major final for 55 years.