Russian rising star Andrey Rublev has been declared the big winner at this year’s ATP Awards after his team clenched two trophies.
The 23-year-old has been recognized for his breakthrough season by being awarded the Most Improved Player of the Year award. This season Rublev has won five Tour titles with three of those occurring at ATP 500 events in Hamburg, St. Petersburg and Vienna. Making him the most decorated player in men’s tennis this year. Overall, he has recorded 41 wins which has elevated him to a ranking high of 8th in the world. Rublev also reached the quarter-finals of the French Open and US Open.
Rublev’s mentor Fernando Vicente has also been recognized for his efforts by being named Coach of the Year. Fighting off competition from the coaches of Daniil Medvedev and Jannik Sinner. Vicente is a former top 30 player who is the co-owner of a tennis academy in Barcelona. He has also previously worked with Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez (2010-2014).
There were also special honours for every member of the Big Three. Roger Federer, who has been sidelined from action since January due to a right knee injury, has won the fan favourite award for a record 18th time. The last player other than Federer to win the award was Marat Safin back in 2002.
“Thank you to the ATP, all the tennis fans out there for voting for me, believing in me and wanting to see me back on the Tour,” Federer said in a ATP video.
“I’m training hard to make that possible. I hope I can play in front of all of you guys (the fans) very, very soon.”
Rafael Nadal was awarded the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award which recognizes players for their ‘fair play, professionalism and integrity on and off the court.’ It is the fourth time in his career he has won the honour and third time in a row. Earlier this year he participated in the #NuestraMejorVictoria campaign which raised more than €14m in funds for the Spanish Red Cross in their fight against COVID-19.
“For me it is a very important trophy, I just want to say thank you to all my colleagues on the Tour for thinking that I am the right one to receive this sportsmanship award,” said Nadal.
“When somebody asked me how I wanted to be remembered I answered ‘I want to be remembered as a good person more than a tennis player. That’s why this trophy means a lot.’”
Novak Djokovic is the year-end ATP No. 1 presented by FedEx for a record-equalling sixth time in his career. An achievement he was recognized for at the ATP Finals in November during a special presentation. This week the Serbian has become the second player in ATP history to have held the top position for 300 weeks after Federer.
Elsewhere, Spanish rising star Carlos Alcaraz has been named Newcomer of the Year. The 17-year-old has won three Challenger titles this season and has climbed 350 places in the ATP rankings within 12 months. At the Rio Open he defeated Albert Ramos Viñolas to win his first match on the ATP Tour. He is one of five players to have won three Challenger trophies before turning 18. The others are Richard Gasquet, Djokovic, Juan Martin del Potro and Felix Auger-Aliassime
Canada’s Vasek Pospisil was named Comeback Player of the Year following his successful return following a back injury at the age of 30. Meanwhile, Frances Tiafoe has been recognized for his numerous off-court activities supporting good causes by being awarded the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award.
2020 ATP Awards Winners
- ATP No. 1 presented by FedEx (determined by FedEx ATP Rankings) – Novak Djokovic
- ATP Doubles No. 1 presented by FedEx (determined by FedEx ATP Rankings) – Mate Pavic & Bruno Soares
- Comeback Player of the Year (voted by ATP players) – Vasek Pospisil
- Most Improved Player of the Year (voted by ATP players) – Andrey Rublev
- Newcomer of the Year (voted by ATP players) – Carlos Alcaraz
- Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award (voted by ATP players) – Rafael Nadal
- Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award (awarded by ATP) – Frances Tiafoe
- Fans’ Favourite Award (Singles) (voted by fans) – Roger Federer
- Fans’ Favourite Award (Doubles) (voted by fans) – Jamie Murray & Neal
- Coach of the Year (voted by ATP coaches) – Fernando Vicente
- Career Coach Award (voted by ATP coaches) – Bob Brett
- Ron Bookman Media Excellence Award (awarded by ATP) – Kevin Mitchell
Alexander Zverev Secures Place In ATP Finals With Indian Wells Win
Zverev will be seeking to win the season-ending extravaganza for the second time in his career.
Germany’s Alexander Zverev has become the fourth player to officially qualify for the ATP Finals after reaching the third round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
The world No.4 defeated America’s Jenson Brooksby 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, in his second round match on Sunday which pushed him over the points threshold to secure his spot in the end-of-season event. It is the fifth year in a row he has qualified for the ATP Finals which he won back in 2018. He is one of only three German players to ever win the title after Boris Becker and Michael Stich.
This year’s tournament will take place in Turin, Italy for the first time in history after being held at The O2 Arena in London for more than a decade. Only the eight highest ranked players are eligible to play in the round-robin tournament which has on offer up to 1500 rankings points for an undefeated champion.
“My first time in Turin. I’ve been to London four times before. London is obviously very special to me because I won there, as well. I think the stadium is incredible, one of the most special events that we had,” Zverev told reporters on Sunday.
“But I also love playing in Italy. I had great success in Italy. I won my first Masters in Rome. I’m looking forward to being there. I’m looking forward to playing in front of the Italian fans. It’s going to be a great week.”
The 24-year-old approaches the final quarter of this season with four titles already won this year. He has won two Masters 1000 trophies, an ATP 500 event in Mexico and a gold medal in singles at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Zverev, who has recorded seven wins over top 10 players, also reached the semi-finals at both the French Open and US Open.
Zverev joins Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas as the players who have qualified for the ATP Finals so far. It is the third straight season the quartet has qualified for the event.
This year’s ATP Finals will get underway on November 14th. Medvedev is the defending champion.
Denis Shapovalov Advances After Pospisil Retires In Indian Wells
The battle of the two Canadians didn’t go as planned…
Vasek Pospisil faced off against his fellow Canadian Denis Shapovalov in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and it was the world number 13 who got the win after the Vernon native pulled out due to an injury whilst trailing 0-3.
It was a rough start for Pospisil who seemed to struggle with his serve in the opening game of the match and double-faulted twice in a row to give the early break and Shapovalov had no issues consolidating the break.
Shapovalov continued to apply pressure on the Pospisil serve and after saving two breakpoints the world number 68 pulled up after a serve and stopped play, calling for the trainer. He ended up taking a medical timeout off the court and a couple of minutes later returned to court. Pospisil was broken once again and the following game after a couple of returns decided to call it quits.
” It was pretty awful…and if I’m being honest I am shaking a bit…It really sucks I hope it’s nothing serious…He’s a great guy he’s a real warrior he’s fought back from some injuries surgeries to such a great level.” Shapovalov said of his compatriot.
Shapovalov will face 19th seed Aslan Karatsev in the next round after the Russian thrashed Salvatore Caruso 6-2, 6-0.
In the other results of the day sixth seeed Casper Ruud dominated Roberto Carballes Baena 6-1, 6-2, Roberto Bautista Agut beat the Argentine Guido Pella 7-5, 6-3 and Sebastien Korda won an all American battle with Frances Tiafoe 6-0, 6-4.
Finally, Diego Schwartzman needed three sets to beat another American in Maxime Cressy winning 6-2, 3-6, 7-5.
Stefanos Tsitsipas Sidesteps Question Over Vaccination Status
The Greek also jokes that he will be having less bathroom breaks in Indian Wells due to one particular reason.
Stefanos Tsitsipas has declined to confirm if he has received a COVID-19 vaccination despite previously saying he planned to do so later this year.
The world No.3 was questioned about the vaccination during his pre-tournament press conference at Indian Wells on Wednesday. Earlier this year Tsitsipas came under fire after saying he doesn’t see a reason why somebody his age needs to be vaccinated and expressed concerns over the potential side effects. He also added that young people catching COVID-19 is a good thing as it helps build up their immunity. Prompting criticism from various people, including a spokesperson for the Greek government.
However, in recent weeks Tsitsipas has changed his stance on the issue and recently told Antenna TV that he will have his first dose by the end of this year. When asked by a reporter in Indian Wells if he has had it yet, the French Open finalist declined to answer.
“I’m sorry but I’m not able to provide any of my medical records,” he said.
Player vaccination rates in tennis are becoming a growing issue amid reports that the Australian Open may only allow fully vaccinated players to participate due to a health mandate which has been implemented by the local government. There is yet to be a formal announcement by Tennis Australia regarding their entry requirements. However, The Age newspaper reports that there is a ‘strong likelihood’ that only vaccinated players will be allowed entry by Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton.
Tsitsipas’ immediate focus is on this week’s BNP Paribas Open where he is the second seed behind Daniil Medvedev. Speaking about the conditions, the 23-year-old joked it was ‘very dry’ and therefore he will be having less bathroom breaks during matches. Referring to the recent criticism he has received from some of his peers over the timing of breaks he takes.
“It’s very dry here,” Tsitsipas said.
“That is good for me because I sweat less, which makes for less bathroom breaks, which makes for less complaints. So a very good sign so far,” he added with a smile.
The hope for Tsitsipas is that he will be able to build on his recent experience at the Laver Cup where he helped Europe secure their fourth consecutive title. The event provides players with the opportunity to work alongside each other in a team format. Something Tsitsipas relished but he is ready to get back to singles duty.
“I think team competitions are necessary for our sport and we don’t get to be united a lot,” he said. “We always kind of focus on ourselves and our things and environment and that is what you usually see on Tour. Players doing their own thing. Not much socialising.
“At the Laver Cup, we all get to have dinners together and all get to hang out with each other. Of course, though, we all have our competitiveness and if we get stuck around we might share too much with one another, that is the mentality behind it.”
Tsitsipas is yet to win a main draw match in Indian Wells. He will start his 2021 bid against either qualifier Roberto Marcora or Spain’s Pedro Martinez.
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