That’s it. 2021 is over and out. Emma Raducanu’s stunning US Open victory was the story of the year in the sporting world.
The 19-year-old British tennis sensation became the first player in the modern era to come through the qualifying at a major to claim the title when she beat Leylah Fernandez at Flushing Meadows.
Who will follow in her footsteps and become a star? Here, Sportsmail looks at those who will make the breakthrough in 10 different sports in 2022.
Emma Raducanu’s stunning US Open victory was the story of the year in the sporting world
Charlie Patino (Football)
The excitement around the Arsenal teenager swelled earlier in the season. He was being tipped to be the club’s best-ever academy graduates after impressing for the Gunners Under 23 side.
The Arsenal faithful were desperate to see him get his chance to shine in Mikel Arteta’s first team in the early stages of the Carabao Cup but he had to bide his time and wait.
The 18-year-old was finally thrown into the spotlight in the quarter-final of the competition last month. Shortly after being introduced for his debut Patino notched Arsenal’s fifth in a resounding victory over Sunderland.
The form he had shown within the youth ranks was transferred to the main stage within minutes. Expect him to play a bigger role.
Arsenal teenager Charlie Patino scored on his debut for the club in League Cup quarter-final
Alfie Barbeary (Rugby)
At 20 last year Alfie Barbeary was singled out as the future of English rugby with England boss Eddie Jones quick to get in touch following his second senior start.
Alfie Barbeary was called up to the national side in the autumn of 2020 and after multiple impressive displays in the back row and at hooker was in line to be involved in last year’s Six Nations.
However a high-ankle syndesmosis injury put an end to his hopes of making the big tournament. The issue hampered his progress last year but he has continued to shine when taking to the field.
Himself, Wasps boss Lee Blackett and Jones have all agreed he will go down the back-row route and 2022 could be his year.
Wasps star Alfie Barbeary, 21, has continued to shine and 2022 could be his year after injury
Cameron Green (Cricket)
The 22-year-old only made his debut for Australia in December 2020. Fast forward 12 months and the all-rounder is claiming England wickets in the Ashes.
Fans are witnessing Aussie cricket’s next star in the making after taking three wickets in the first Test Down Under as well as two in the second and the third.
Despite taking to the pressure of the series seamlessly, he has only played seven Test matches. He impressed with 84 runs against India but did not take any wickets prior to England’s visit.
The 6ft 6in Aussie, who hit a double hundred in the Sheffield Shield, is now showcasing his talent and has the assets to be the country’s world-class all-rounder for many years to come – something that they have been craving.
Twelve months on from his debut and the all-rounder is claiming England wickets in the Ashes
George Russell (Formula One)
Lewis Hamilton’s new team-mate is a shoo-in to win his first race if the Mercedes car continues to be as good as usual.
The 23-year-old Brit’s move from Williams to Mercedes could be just what his driving career needs.
When he stood in for the seven-time world champion at the Sakhir Grand Prix in 2020 George Russell managed to display superb driving skills to outwit Valtteri Bottas and others with just two days of preparation.
Although he was denied a fairytale finish he more than stepped up and is likely to finally reach the heights this year.
Brit George Russell is a shoo-in to win his first race if the Mercedes car is as good as usual
Shakur Stevenson (Boxing)
The boxing bantamweight remains undefeated and beat Jamel Herring towards the end of last year, which attracted rapper Kanye West ringside.
The 24-year-old American has fought 17 times, winning by knockout on nine occasions.
Represented by Top Rank chief Bob Arum, Shakur Stevenson has been compared to Floyd Mayweather.
Arum is keen for his man to fight Ukrainian star Vasiliy Lomachenko this year. Should it be agreed, Stevenson’s career will have lift off.
American Shakur Stevenson has fought 17 times, winning by knockout on nine occasions
Tom Aspinall (UFC)
The British UFC heavyweight could one day become champion in the division.
The 28-year-old has won four from four since signing for the UFC and the slick mover is ranked No 10 in the rankings.
He used to train with Tyson Fury and the Gypsy King’s dad, John, was full of praise.
‘Tom Aspinall will do big things in the UFC, but he’ll also have a crossover bout and he’ll probably be the first MMA fighter to do mega things in boxing as well,’ Fury senior told GiveMeSport.
2022 promises to be big for the 6ft 6in prospect from Wigan.
British UFC heavyweight Tom Aspinall could one day become champion in the division
Amy Hunt (Athletics)
Britain’s sprinting world Under 18 record holder Amy Hunt is set for a fruitful 12 months, barring any major injury.
The 19-year-old had intentions of competing at last summer’s Tokyo Olympics only for her plans to be curtailed by injury and illness.
Hunt was forced to withdraw from the trials for the rescheduled Games after not being able to train.
The teenager, who won double European U20 Championship gold in 2019, is raring to go as she gears up for Paris 2024.
Hunt was named in British Vogue’s ‘bright, young things’ to watch in 2020 and all eyes will be on her now.
Britain’s sprinting world Under 18 record holder Amy Hunt is set for a fruitful 12 months
Leona Maguire (Golf)
The 27-year-old claimed four and a half points from five matches on her Solheim Cup debut in September.
Leona Maguire sent shockwaves through the world of golf as she produced a sensational performance as a rookie, arguably the greatest ever, as Europe sealed glory in America for only the second time.
A former world No 1 on the amateur circuit, Maguire is destined for success on a personal level.
She finished in the top 20 in three LPGA majors last year, with a sixth-placed finish at the Evian Championship her best display.
The expectation has ramped up a notch but Maguire can more than handle the pressure.
Leona Maguire sent shockwaves through the world of golf when making Solheim Cup debut
Carlos Alcaraz (Tennis)
World No 32 Carlos Alcaraz is in for a big year after rising to prominence in 2021.
The Spaniard became the youngest man to reach the US Open last eight in the open era at 18 last September after beating Peter Gojowczyk in a five-set epic.
That feat came after overcoming third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the third round of the Grand Slam tournament.
Naturally the highly-rated rising star has earned comparisons to Rafael Nadal in his homeland.
Carlos Alcaraz beat Dan Evans and former world No 1 Andy Murray in matter of days in October and he could really make a name for himself on the tour in 2022.
There’s been talk of a changing of the guard in tennis for some time and Alcaraz could finally be the instigator.
World No 32 Spanish star Carlos Alcaraz is in for a big year after rising to prominence in 2021
Marco Ghiani (Horse racing)
The most obvious candidate to make the breakthrough in the sport of horse racing is 2021 champion apprentice jockey Marco Ghiani.
The 22-year-old rode 51 winners and 16 more than his closest rival Saffie Osborne to emulate compatriot Frankie Dettori.
In his prolific season the young Italian rider claimed his maiden Royal Ascot winner as he guided Real World to glory in the Royal Hunt Cup. While the partnership combined again to land Ghiani his first Group success.
Ghiani is ending 2021 in style by riding plenty of winners on the all-weather and will be looking to kick on on the turf in a few months’ time.
The most obvious candidate to make the breakthrough in horse racing is jockey Marco Ghiani