Halep upsets Radwanska for “Fan Favorite”

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For the last six years, fans of Polish player Agnieszka Radwanska have mobilized the popular vote for the WTA Tour’s Fan Favorite of the year.

This year, there’s a new queen of the faves.

World No. 1 Simona Halep has beaten out Radwanska and all other contenders to win the award for the first time.

It’s not quite clear in the release, but Radwanska appears to have finished as the runner-up.

Maria Sharapova, who returned from a 15-month doping suspension at the end of April, finished third. She and Elena Dementieva are the only other winners of the award since its inception.

It’s all good for Radwanska. She extended her streak of “Shot of the Year” awards to five with another win this year.

Osuigwe among ITF 2017 world champions

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Florida’s Whitney Osuigwe, the 15-year-old who won the French Open junior girls’ title and has posted up an impressive number of wins this season, is the ITF junior world champion for 2017 on the girls’ side.

Osuigwe had just cracked the top 100 in the ITF junior girls’ rankings when the 2017 season began. She ends it at No. 1 and is still alive in singles and doubles at this week’s Orange Bowl in Florida.

She won both the 18s girls singles and doubles titles last week at the Eddie Herr tournament. That’s a home event for her as it’s held at the IMG Academy where she trains.

Countrywoman Catherine Bellis won the award in 2014 and Taylor Townsend in 2012. Before that, you have to go all the way back to Zina Garrison and Gretchen Rush in 1981 and 1982.

On the boys’ side, Axel Geller becomes first junior from Argentina to be named ITF world champion in 22 years. (Mariano Zabaleta and Federico Browne won the award back-to-back in 1994 and 1995).

He reached the singles final at both the French and US Opens, and took the doubles title in Paris.

Recent winners have included Taylor Fritz (2015), Andrey Rublev (2014) and Alexander Zverev (2013). Good crop.

All-Spain on the pro side 

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The all-Spanish double honor as ITF World Champions for 2017 is the first since Americans Davenport and Sampras both won in 1998.

On the pro side, ATP No. 1 Rafael Nadal and WTA No. 2 Garbiñe Muguruza have been named world champions for 2017.

Muguruza is just 40 points out of the No. 1 spot in the WTA Tour rankings, just behind Simona Halep. But unlike Halep, Muguruza is a Slam champion, having won Wimbledon this year. The ITF awards weight the Slams (which it has jurisdiction over) more than other tournaments.

According to the ITF, it’s the first time both winners have come from the same country since Lindsay Davenport and Pete Sampras were named ITF world champions in 1998.

It’s the third time Nadal has been so honored. Time flies: he’s the oldest-ever to be honored, at age 31.

“Becoming ITF World Champion in such a competitive year is amazing for me and is even more special because Rafa has also been awarded on the men’s side. He is a great role model for all of us, so it is a great moment for tennis in Spain,” Muguruza said in a statement.

“I knew that putting in the hard work would pay off eventually and it made winning Wimbledon and achieving the No. 1 ranking so special. I’m motivated to take everything I’ve learned this year and apply it to my work next season.”

Final accolade for Hingis

The doubles champions are Marcelo Melo (Brazil) and Lukasz Kubot (Poland) on the men’s side, and Yung-Jan Chan (Taipei) and Martina Hingis (Switzerland) on the women’s side.

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Melo and Kubot won the ATP Tour Finals last month, one of six titles that included Wimbledon, in their first season together.

Hingis, who retired at the end of the season, gets one more accolade.

She and Chan made nine finals – and won all of them. 

David Wagner, 43, was named the first-ever ITF Quad Wheelchair World Champion, a long overdue accolade after he finished No. 1 in the year-end rankings for the eighth time.  Gustavo Fernandez, 23 is the ITF Wheelchair champion on the men’s side and Yui Kamiji – also 23 – was honored on the women’s side. 

Kamiji won three of the four major titles in 2017, all but Wimbledon. 

The awards will be handed out at the French Open next June.

WTA Tour announces 2017 awards

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If there’s one thing about the WTA’s annual awards, it’s that they’re consistent.

Indian Wells, Stuttgart and Acapulco have once again proved most popular with the players in 2017.

The three events – in the Premier Mandatory, Premier and International categories, respectively, have won the “Tournament of the Year” awards, as voted on by the players, for the fourth consecutive year.

In the “Premier 5” category (which includes Canada, Cincinnati, Wuhan, and Doha/Dubai on a rotating basis), the winner was the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome, which also won in 2016.

Czech sweep

On the off-court side, the Czechs cleaned up.

The Peachy Kellmayer Player Service Award went to Lucie Safarova for the fourth straight year.

Notably, Safarova has served on the Player Council since 2009.

The Karen Krantzcke Sportsmanship award – once again – went to Petra Kvitova.

Kvitova has won it six of the last seven years. 

“I know I have won this award several times, but this year is extra special for me because I missed the first half of the season,” Kvitova said in a statement. “We are fighters, we are opponents, but on the other hand we are colleagues as well. So for me, the biggest thing is respect.”

Federer, Shapovalov among ATP awards winners

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Denis Shapovalov fell just short in his quest to make the semifinals at the Next-Gen Finals in Milan Thursday.

But a few minutes later, came a small consolation prize.

The 18-year-old was voted the “Most Improved” player of the year on the ATP Tour. Shapovalov beat out top-10 players Alexander Zverev and David Goffin for the honor. Ironically, he also beat out the player he had just lost to in Milan, Russia’s Andrey Rublev.

Shapovalov also got the “Star of Tomorrow” award last month.

In another bit of irony, South African Neville Godwin won the “Coach of the Year” award for the good work he did with countryman Kevin Anderson. 

Anderson was a surprise finalist at the US Open in September.

Just a few days ago, Anderson announced that the two had parted ways after four years together.

Three prizes for Federer

Roger Federer, as has seemingly been a slam-dunk in recent years, captured both the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship award as well as the “Fan Favorite” award.

A new addition this year was the “Comeback player of the year” award

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That’s 15 consecutive years for Federer and the “Fan Favorite” award. Federer has won the sportsmanship award 13 out of the last 14 years; the only exception was 2010, when Rafael Nadal took that prize.

The “Fan Favorite” award, as its name indicates, is voted on by the fans. The Sportsmanship award is voted on by Federer’s fellow players.

Other award recipients

The Bryan brothers won the “Fan Favorite” in the doubles category for the 13th consecutive year. The award has only been in existence for 13 years.

On the tournament side, the players voted for Indian Wells in the Masters 1000 category, Acapulco in the 500 category, and Doha in the 250 category as tournaments of the year.

It’s the fourth consecutive year for the big-budget BNP Paribas Open. At the 500 level, Dubai was the perennial winner, until being overtaken by Queen’s Club in 2015 and 2016 (it won the award at the 250 level in 2013 and 2014, but then was upgraded). 

Romanian doubles specialist Horia Tecau won the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award for his efforts in championing children’s rights & education in Romania.

The “Player of the Year” prize goes to the year-end No. 1. And so the winner, Nadal, was determined last week. He’ll receive his trophy after the 2 p.m. match between Federer and Jack Sock Sunday at the Tour Finals.

Since 2008, Nadal has won Player of the Year four times. Novak Djokovic also has won it four times, Andy Murray and Federer have taken it once each.

WTA Awards – help Tennis.Life vote!

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As with the ATP Awards, Tennis.Life has one media vote to cast for the 2017 WTA Tour awards.

They will be recognized at the WTA Tour Finals in Singapore later this month.

Whatever the results are from this polling, that’s the way we’ll cast our vote.

Some of the choices might be easier than others (think doubles team). But the rest, given the way the season has gone on the WTA Tour, require a little thought and a hot take.

Deadline is Sunday. 

Vote early and often!

Forgot the Comeback Player of the Year!  Added here

Comeback Player of the Year

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PLAYER OF THE YEAR

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

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DOUBLES TEAM OF THE YEAR

Doubles team of the year

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MOST IMPROVED PLAYER

Player who is ranked inside the Top 100 and showed significant improvement throughout the 2017 season

Most Improved Player

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NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR

Player who made Top 100 debut or notable accomplishments during the 2017 season

Newcomer of the Year

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While you’re at it, don’t forget to vote for the ATP Tour Awards as well!

(Click below)

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Help Tennis.Life vote for the ATP Awards

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The voting for the ATP’s year-end awards is getting under way.

And Tennis.Life has a vote on the media side to help set the list of nominations for the award, which is voted on by the players.

We want it to be a reflection of our readership. So please vote on the nominations below (you can choose up to four in the first category, three in the other two).

We’ll tabulate the votes and cast our according to the results.

(Note that the suggested nominations come from the ATP; if you want to vote for a player who isn’t included in the options, just type the name and category in the comments section and we’ll include it).

You have until Thursday, Oct. 12 at 1 p.m. EDT to weigh in. 

Go to it!

MOST IMPROVED PLAYER

Goes to the player who reached a significantly higher position in the ATP World Tour Rankings and who demonstrated an increasingly improved level of performance throughout the year.

(Worth noting that Shapovalov is about a lock to win the “Star of Tomorrow” award, given to the youngest player in the top 100).

ATP Most Improved Player

  • Denis Shapovalov (47%, 155 Votes)
  • Alexander Zverev (25%, 84 Votes)
  • Pablo Carreño Busta (10%, 32 Votes)
  • Diego Schwartzman (5%, 17 Votes)
  • Andrey Rublev (5%, 16 Votes)
  • Damir Dzumhur (3%, 11 Votes)
  • Mischa Zverev (2%, 8 Votes)
  • Yuichi Sugita (2%, 6 Votes)
  • Peter Gojowczyk (1%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 254

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Comeback player of the year

Goes to the player who has overcome injury/illness in reestablishing himself as one of the top players on the ATP circuit.

ATP Comeback Player

  • Kevin Anderson (56%, 288 Votes)
  • Roger Federer (38%, 197 Votes)
  • Cedrik-Marcel Stebe (3%, 13 Votes)
  • Filip Krajinovic (1%, 7 Votes)
  • Janko Tipsarevic (1%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 474

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Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award

Goes to the player who, throughout the year, conducted himself at the highest level of professionalism and integrity, who competed with his fellow players with the utmost spirit of fairness and who promoted the game through his off-court activities.

(Note that this is not just the “nice guy on court” award. It also includes the players’ off-court efforts to promote the game)

Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award

  • Juan Martin del Potro (29%, 439 Votes)
  • Kevin Anderson (24%, 355 Votes)
  • David Goffin (17%, 255 Votes)
  • Diego Schwartzman (17%, 252 Votes)
  • Roger Federer (7%, 112 Votes)
  • Rafael Nadal (4%, 60 Votes)
  • David Ferrer (1%, 13 Votes)
  • Marin Cilic (1%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 608

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While you’re at it, don’t forget to vote for the WTA Tour Awards. Our media vote also will reflect the readership’s choices.

Deadline for that is Sunday at 9 a.m. EDT.

Click below.