Federer, Blake, Nishikori Collect ATP Awards Handed Out in Miami
Roger Federer continues to shine as the fairest and most popular player on the ATP World Tour after the 2008 ATP World Tour Awards were announced in Miami today. Fellow players voted Federer the winner of the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award for a record fifth consecutive year. Only Edberg himself won the award five times (over eight years). And in a poll of fans, Federer for the sixth consecutive year was voted ATPWorldTour.com Fans’ Favourite.
Of his dual honors, Federer said: “It is great to receive two more awards. It is always important for me to be a good sportsman on the court and give the right example for others to follow and hopefully inspire the next generation. It also means the world to me to be the fans’ favorite player for the sixth year in a row. The support I receive from the fans around the world is so motivating and it is humbling to receive this award once again.”
ATP World Tour Champion Rafael Nadal and ATP World Tour Doubles Team Champions Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic were announced as the Player of the Year and Doubles Team of the Year respectively.
James Blake won the prestigious Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year award for his many charitable efforts, including several fundraising initiatives for cancer research.
The full list of 2008 ATP Awards winners:
Player Of The Year
Rafael Nadal: The Mallorca native became the first left-hander to finish No. 1 since John McEnroe in 1984, in addition to becoming the first Spaniard to end the season ATP World Tour Champion as the world’s top player in the South African Airways ATP Rankings. Nadal became the first player since Bjorn Borg in 1980 to win the Roland Garros and Wimbledon titles in the same year. He led the ATP World Tour season with eight titles in 10 finals, 82 match wins, most matches (93) played and a 17-6 mark against Top 10 opponents. He also helped Spain to the Davis Cup title by winning all three of his matches during the year. He advanced to the semi-finals or better in all four Grand Slam tournaments for the first time in his career.
Doubles Team Of The Year
Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic: The first-year team of Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic took time to get into full gear in 2008, going 10 tournaments before winning their first title in Hamburg. But once they gathered momentum, there was no stopping the big-serving Canadian-Serbian combination. Zimonjic and Nestor went on a tear in the middle of the season, reaching the Roland Garros final, and winning titles at London/Queen’s, Wimbledon and ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Toronto in four consecutive appearances after the Hamburg triumph. In a dramatic conclusion to the season the team defeated Bob and Mike Bryan in the Tennis Masters Cup final in a match that decided which team was crowned ATP World Tour Doubles Team Champions.
Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Of The Year
James Blake: In the summer of 2008, James Blake announced the creation of the Thomas Blake Sr. Memorial Research Fund at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, with the goal of raising $1 million for cancer research within 12 months. Important fundraising initiatives include his tennis charity exhibition Anthem LIVE! and the J-Block merchandise program. Blake also helps to raise funds for the Harlem Junior Tennis Program and hosts the organization’s annual fundraising event each year.
Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award
Roger Federer: Fellow players voted the four-time ATP World Tour Champion the winner of the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award for a record fifth consecutive year. Edberg is the only other player to have won the award five times (over eight years).
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (No. 43 to No. 6): The top Frenchman broke into the Top 10 with two titles, including his maiden ATP World Tour Masters 1000 shield in Paris. He made an impressive showing at the year’s first Grand Slam, upsetting No. 9 Murray, No. 8 Gasquet and No. 2 Rafael Nadal before falling to No. 3 Djokovic in the Australian Open final. The 23 year old missed three months of the season after undergoing right knee surgery in May, but compiled a 16-4 record upon his return. He won his first ATP World Tour title in Bangkok (d. Djokovic), and beat three Top 10 opponents — Djokovic, Roddick and Nalbandian — to win the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris and clinch a Tennis Masters Cup berth. Tsonga won 20 more matches than the previous season, best among the Top 10.
Newcomer of the Year
Kei Nishikori (No. 281 to No. 63): The Japanese teenager won his first ATP World Tour title and moved up 200 South African Airways Rankings spots to finish as the youngest player in the year-end Top 100. He became the first Japanese player to finish in the Top 100 since Matsuoka in 1995 (No. 57). Nishikori qualified into his sixth career ATP World Tour event in Delray Beach and defeated four straight Americans — Delic, Reynolds, Querrey (saved 4 M.P) and No. 12 Blake — to become the youngest ATP World Tour title winner at 18 years and 1 month of age since Lleyton Hewitt won in 1998 at Adelaide. Afterwards, he jumped from No. 244 to No. 131. He continued his rise up the rankings following the US Open, moving up 45 spots to No. 81 after reaching the fourth round. He posted his first win over a Top 10 player by defeating No. 4 Ferrer in the third round. He finished the season with a third round showing in Tokyo and semi-final at Stockholm.
Comeback Player of the Year
Rainer Schuettler (No. 155 in Jul. ’07 to No. 30): The No. 2 German (behind Kohlschreiber) improved more than 100 South African Airways Ranking positions to finish in the year-end Top 30 for just the second time. Hampered by a knee injury and mononucleosis, former World No. 5 Schuettler had fallen outside the Top 50 the past three years. After a 4-13 start to the 2008 ATP World Tour season, the 32 year old broke through to reach the semi-finals at Wimbledon — his best Grand Slam result since a runner-up effort at the 2003 Australian Open. He finished the season with a 17-10 mark, highlighted by quarter-finals or better in four of his last six tournaments. He reached the semi-finals at Beijing and the quarter-finals at Tokyo, Stockholm and St. Petersburg.
ATPWorldTour.com Fans’ Favorite (Singles)
Roger Federer: Admired for his work on and off the court, Roger Federer continues to be admired by millions of fans around the world, who have voted the four-time ATP World Tour Champion the ATPWorldTour.com Fans’ Favourite for a record sixth consecutive year. Federer received 26.6 percent of all votes, followed by Rafael Nadal (22.8%), Novak Djokovic (7.8%) and Fernando Gonzalez (6.2%).
ATPWorldTour.com Fans’ Favorite (Doubles)
Bob & Mike Bryan: Twin brothers Bob and Mike Bryan were voted the most popular doubles team in the world for the fourth straight year. The Bryans received 27.8 percent of votes to finish ahead of Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic (16%), Mahesh Bhupathi and Mark Knowles (11.4%) and Jonas Bjorkman and Kevin Ullyett (9.7%).
Ron Bookman Media Excellence Award
Alan Trengove: Melbourne-based journalist Alan Trengove has covered tennis for more than 50 years and has long been regarded as one of the world’s leading tennis writers. Trengove founded Australian Tennis Magazine in 1976 and has written several tennis books during his distinguished career.
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