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By Tennis Now | Tuesday, December 8, 2020

 
Sofia Kenin

Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin earns 2020 WTA Player of the Year honors leading a group of distinguished award winners.

Photo credit: Mark Peterson/Corleve

Sofia Kenin opened 2020 capturing her maiden major at the Australian Open.

The 22-year-old Kenin closes the year as a worthy winner.

More: Osaka is SI Sportsperson of the Year

Kenin was voted 2020 WTA Player of the Year celebrating a season that saw her play two Grand Slam finals, win two titles and finish the season ranked No. 4.

The WTA announced today the winners of the 2020 WTA Player Awards, Karen Krantzcke Sportsmanship Award, Peachy Kellmeyer Player Service Award, and the WTA Coach of the Year.

The WTA Player Awards are voted on by members of the international media and are broken down into five categories, including Player of the Year, Doubles Team of the Year, Most Improved Player of the Year, Newcomer of the Year, and Comeback Player of the Year.

Tennis Express

A courageous Kenin staged a furious comeback conquering two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 in a dramatic Australian Open final to capture her first career Grand Slam title.

The Moscow-born, Pembroke Pines, Florida-raised baseliner is the youngest Australian Open champion since a 20-year-old Maria Sharapova topped Ana Ivanovic in the 2008 final. Kenin is the youngest American woman to win a major since Serena Williams in 2002.

WTA Player of the Year: Sofia Kenin (USA)

Captured her maiden Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, where she defeated WTA World No.1 Ashleigh Barty in the semifinals and former No.1 Garbiñe Muguruza in the final
Lifted her second trophy of 2020 at the Open 6ème Sens (Lyon)
Advanced to her second career Grand Slam final at Roland Garros
Reached the Round of 16 at the US Open, becoming one of two players to reach the second week at all three Grand Slams in 2020 (also Petra Kvitova)
Finishes the season at a career-high of World No.4 (first achieved on March 9, 2020)



WTA Doubles Team of the Year: Kristina Mladenovic / Timea Babos (FRA/HUN)


Captured two titles this season – both at the Grand Slam level – at the Australian Open and Roland Garros, marking their third and fourth major doubles titles as a team
At Melbourne, defeated top seeds Strycova/Hsieh in the championship match
Semifinalists at the Qatar Total Open (Doha)
Mladenovic spent one week as the World No.1 doubles player in 2020 on February 24, 2020 (first achieved June 10, 2019), while former No.1 Babos reached as high as No.2 this season



WTA Most Improved Player of the Year: Iga Swiatek (POL)

Player who finished inside the Top 100 and showed significant improvement throughout the 2020 season

Captured her maiden Tour-level title at Roland Garros, defeating 2019 finalist Marketa Vondrousova, 2018 champion Halep and 2019 Australian Open champion Kenin along the way and didn’t drop a set throughout the fortnight
Became the first Polish player – man or woman – to win a Grand Slam singles title
At 19-years-old, became the youngest woman since Monica Seles to win Roland Garros
Opened her 2020 season by advancing to the Round of 16 at the Australian Open
Having cracked the Top 50 in 2019, broke into the Top 20 following her run in Paris this year and finishes the season at a career best of No.17



WTA Newcomer of the Year: Nadia Podoroska (ARG)

Player who made Top 100 debut and/or notable accomplishments during the 2020 season

Started the 2020 season ranked outside the Top 250, playing a mix of ITF and WTA qualifying events at the start of the year
Advanced to her career first Tour-level semifinal this year at Roland Garros, where she entered as a qualifier and defeated No.5 Elina Svitolina before falling to the eventual champion Iga Swiatek
Prior to Paris, had never won a Grand Slam match or beaten a Top 50 ranked opponent
Posted a 13-match winning streak (across all levels) between claiming the ITF title in Saint-Malo, France and reaching the final four at Roland Garros as a qualifier Enjoyed a quarterfinal run at the Upper Austria Ladies Linz
Entered the Top 100 and the Top 50 for the first time in her career in 2020, and improved her year-end ranking from 2019 by over 200 spots, having finished last year at No.255 and ending this season at No.48



WTA Comeback Player of the Year: Victoria Azarenka (BLR)

Player who’s ranking previously dropped due to injury or personal reasons and current season's results helped restore ranking

Mid-way through a strong season in 2016, Azarenka announced she was pregnant and eventually gave birth to her son Leo in December of that same year
Following maternity leave, she returned to Tour during the grass court swing in 2017 and despite a few strong results over the last three seasons, she was unable to put together consistent strong runs until the summer of 2020
In 2020, she claimed her first title in over four years at the Western & Southern Open before reaching her fifth career Grand Slam final at the US Open and an additional final at the J&T Banka Ostrava Open, making her one of five players to reach three or more finals in 2020
Following the US Open, she returned to the WTA Top 20 for the first time since March 2017 and finishes the season ranked No.13 (as of November 16, 2020)



Karen Krantzcke Sportsmanship Award: Marie Bouzkova 


The Czech Republic’s Marie Bouzkova earns her first Karen Krantzcke Sportsmanship Award, which is voted on by her peers on Tour and presented to the player who conducts herself in a manner fitting of a professional sports figure and observes the rules of fair play, shows respect for others and is gracious on and off the court.

Introduced in 1978, Bouzkova’s compatriot Petra Kvitova was granted this award for the last seven successive years (eight years overall) and previous winners include Kim Clijsters, Elena Dementieva, Ana Ivanovic, Lindsay Davenport, Chris Evert and Evonne Goolagong-Cawley.

Peachy Kellmeyer Player Service Award: WTA Players’ Council

This year’s Peachy Kellmeyer Player Service Award, which is also voted on by the players, is awarded to all 10 players that served on the WTA Players’ Council during the unprecedented 2020 season: Kristie Ahn, Gabriela Dabrowski, Madison Keys, Johanna Konta, Aleksandra Krunic, Christina McHale, Kristina Mladenovic, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Sloane Stephens and Donna Vekic.

The group has worked diligently discussing proposals and obtaining feedback to help the Tour return safely and successfully, all with a dedicated commitment to their fellow players. This award recognizes the work they’ve done to support their fellow players as well as the wider initiatives on behalf of the WTA. Introduced in 1977, this award has recognized athletes including Chris Evert, Francesca Schiavone, Pam Shriver and Venus Williams.

WTA Coach of the Year: Piotr Sierzputowski

Piotr Sierzputowski, coach of Iga Swiatek and a Gold Member of the WTA Coach Program, becomes the third recipient of the WTA Coach of the Year Award. This award recognizes the winning coach for success on the court, but also for serving as an ambassador of the sport and bringing coaching to the forefront of the game. Previous winners of this award include Sascha Bajin (2018) and Craig Tyzzer (2019).

Having begun their partnership in 2016, Sierzputowski helped develop Swiatek’s game from juniors to the professional circuit, leading her to the junior Wimbledon title in 2018 to becoming the reigning Roland Garros champion and reaching a career high ranking of World No.17. Sierzputowski is professionally certified through the Polish National Association and Professional Tennis Registry.

 

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