Roger Federer, del Potro among Awardees at 2016 ATP Awards
ATP hands out Tennis awards for Sportsmanship, Improvement and Philanthropy among others every year. The awards are based upon a voting mechanism that happened last month. This year we see some new winners among the predictable lot of people.
For the 12th time in his magnificent career, former World Number 1 has claimed the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award. The name of the prize comes from the former World No. 1 who has always been known for his sportsman spirit on the court. Federer too is known for his graciousness and hence is a long time recipient of the award.
The players also vote for the player they liked the most over the season. Again, quite predictable, Federer won it for 14th straight year. It is officially called the ‘fan favorite’ award.
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One of the best doubles pair of all times, the Bryan brothers were the fan favorites in the doubles category. The American pair is well known for their philanthropic contributions off the field as well as their friendly nature while playing.
The ‘Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award’ was presented to the current World No. 7 Marin Cilic. The award is given for philanthropic, charity work. Cilic has his eponymous foundation aimed at providing support to educational projects.
The Coach of the Year award went to Swedish ace Magnus Norman (now retired), coach of Stan Wawrinka. Wawrinka is the World Number 3 and the two have been working together since 2013. During this time Wawrinka amassed his 3 Grand Slams with the most recent being US Open.
Wawrinka has undoubtedly shown improved game throughout the season. His stamina and mental fortitude has been exceptional and Norman deserves a significant credit for that. The Swede has been successful as both a player and coach. It is also remarkable to note that he coached Robin Soderling prior to this who famously defeated both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer at the French Open.
The ‘Comeback Player of the Year’ went to Juan Martin del Potro. The Argentine has struggled with injuries over the past and has been continuously trying to make a comeback. This year finally del Potro, who is a fan’s delight, has defeated a number of top players. Not to forget the fact that the Argentine was the Silver Medallist at the Rio Olympics.
His performance in the 2016 US Open was also remarkable. After entering as a wildcard, he reached the semi-finals only to meet the eventual winner Wawrinka. The match was a 5-setter.
Taylor Fritz won the Star of Tomorrow award. The 19-year-old American is currently at 73rd position; youngest player in the ATP Top 100. He also finished runner-up at the Memphis Open and become the youngest ATP finalist since 2008.
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French sensation Lucas Pouille wins the ‘Most Improved Player’ award. He was competing against Alexander Zverev in this category. This year he famously shocked Rafael Nadal at the US Open. His progress from 91st to 15th rank has been nothing short of amazing.
Fans now wait until the end of the ATP World Tour Finals in London to find out who will receive the rankings award. Interestingly the top rank is still under contest. Andy Murray and defending London champion Novak Djokovic are in contention.
The World Tour Finals begins on the 13th of November, 2016.