ATP World Tour Finals 2011: Djokovic, Nadal scoop awards
Novak Djokovic was named player of the year as the winners of the ATP 2011 awards were announced
There were few surprises among the names that swept the top ATP 2011 player awards, which have been announced on the eve of the ATP World Tour Finals in London. But there was a surprise of a different sort from Novak Djokovic.
The end-of-year No1 and ATP player of the year, Novak Djokovic has recorded one of the best ever seasons on the men’s tour””10 titles that included three Grand Slams and five Masters.
He started 2011 with a 41-match winning streak, missing John McEnroe’s record by just one.
Djokovic became No1 when he won Wimbledon, and he talked of that special day to the media gathered at the O2 ahead of the start of the season-ending finals.
“It was the best tournament of my career””the feeling of achieving two dreams, becoming No1 in the world and to win the title.”
And then he revealed one more surprise about that special day: “I asked the groundsman to have a piece of the grass. I did not get that but I did get the net from the final – I keep it in a very special place at home!”
Djokovic was also in contention for the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award, voted for by fellow ATP players, but it was Roger Federer who received the accolade for the seventh time. He won the award between 2004 and 2009 before Rafael Nadal broke the streak last year.
Federer also won the most hotly-contested category, the fans’ favourite, voted for by fans on the ATP website. The popular Swiss has dominated this award since 2003: It is his ninth straight win.
“One of the reasons I play this wonderful sport is for my fans so I would like to thank them once again for their continued support,” said Federer. “It really is so amazing and means the world to me. It’s also gratifying to be recognised by my fellow players for exhibiting fair play on and off the court.”
Djokovic finished second in the fans’ voting, with Nadal in third place.
Nadal, however, attracted one of the most prestigious accolades, the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award, in recognition of the work of the Rafa Nadal Foundation.
The Foundation, a recipient of a 2011 ATP ACES For Charity grant, offers educational programmes for socially disadvantaged youth using sport as a tool for personal and social integration.
It is affiliated with three projects: the Vicente Ferrer Foundation in Antapur, India; the Special Olympics; and the Aldeas Infantiles SOS, a private international aid organisation that cares for children in vulnerable situations.
Americans Bob and Mike Bryan picked up two awards, as ATP World Tour No1 Doubles Team and the Fans’ Favourite””which is their seventh straight win.
Other key awards went to:
Juan Martin del Potro, Comeback player of the year (voted by ATP players). The former World No4 fell to No485 at the start of the year after a wrist injury and surgery limited him to six matches in 2010, but he climbed to No11 by November.
Milos Raonic, Newcomer of the year (voted by ATP players). The 20-year-old jumped from No156 in the rankings at the start of the season to No31 in November.
Alex Bogomolov Jr, Most improved player of the year (voted by ATP players). The 28-year-old American rose from No166 in the rankings to a career-high No33 this month.