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2016 WTA Player Award Winners Announced

2016 WTA Player Award Winners Announced
  • Angelique Kerber earns “Player of the Year” honors; Garcia/Mladenovic earn “Doubles Team of the Year”
  • Johanna Konta, Naomi Osaka and Dominika Cibulkova also receive honors
  • Simona Halep receives Jerry Diamond ACES Award for her off-court promotional and charitable work

ST PETERSBURG, FL, USA – The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) announced the winners of the annual WTA Player Year-End Awards – headlined by Player of the Year, Angelique Kerber, and Doubles Team of the Year, Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic, as well as the Jerry Diamond ACES award, granted to Romania’s Simona Halep.  Players were recognized at The Gala Evening at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.

The 2016 WTA Award winners, as voted by members of the media and one collective fan vote:

Player of the Year: Angelique Kerber (GER)

 Angelique Kerber has been unanimously voted the 2016 WTA Player of the Year after enjoying her best season to date.

The German has been the most outstanding player on tour this year, winning her first two Grand Slams at the Australian Open and the US Open, beating Serena Williams in the former and Karolina Pliskova in the latter. In addition, Kerber successfully defended her title at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, her home tournament.

A finalist at a WTA-leading seven events in 2016, Kerber became the 12th player in WTA history to finish the year at No.1 as she was crowned 2016 WTA Year-End World No.1 Singles Player, presented by Dubai Duty Free, earlier this week.

  • Leads the WTA for most main draw match wins this year (59-17) and tied for most main draw match wins on hardcourt (41-11)
  • 2016 season was highlighted by winning two Grand Slam titles, including her first at the Australian Open, as well as the US Open.  She also successfully defended her title at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix – Stuttgart
  • Qualified for the 2016 WTA Finals in Singapore, currently sitting at the No.1 spot on the Leaderboard
  • Second German to hold the WTA World No. 1 ranking since computer rankings were introduced in 1975 after Graf
  • Advanced to the finals at Wimbledon, the Western & Southern Open – Cincinnati, as well as the Rio Olympics, earning a silver medal
  • Currently leads the WTA for most Top 10 wins for the 2016 season (8-3)

Doubles Team of the Year: Caroline Garcia / Kristina Mladenovic (FRA/FRA)

  • Won their first Grand Slam title at Roland Garros, becoming the first all-French team to reach the French Open doubles final since 1971
  • Took home back-to-back titles at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix  – Stuttgart and the Mutua Madrid Open
  • Made it to their second major final at the US Open; also reached finals at Apia International Sydney, Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships and China Open – Beijing
  • Qualified for the 2016 WTA Finals Singapore, currently sitting as the No.1 team on the Road to Singapore Leaderboard

Most Improved Player of the Year: Johanna Konta (GBR)
Player who finished inside the Top 100 and showed significant improvement throughout the 2016 season

  • Improved +37 spots from end of 2015 (No.47 to No.10)
  • Won first WTA title at Premier-level Bank of the West Classic – Stanford in first-ever final appearance, defeating Venus Williams in the final
  • Also advanced to first ever Premier Mandatory final at China Open in Beijing (defeated No.6 Pliskova and No.9 Keys en route)
  • Achieved best-ever result at a Grand Slam by reaching the semifinals at Australian Open – first British woman to reach a Grand Slam semifinal since Jo Durie in 1983
  • Reached semifinals at Aegon International Eastbourne and had quarterfinal runs at Abierto Monterrey Afirme, Miami Open, Rogers Cup – Montreal, Rio Olympics and Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open
  • Holds the second most wins over Top 10 players in 2016 (7-5 record)
  • In contention to qualify for 2016 BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore
  • Made Top 10 debut (at No.9) on Monday, October 10 – first British Woman to reach Top 10 since Jo Durie in 1982

Newcomer of the Year: Naomi Osaka (JPN)
Player who made Top 100 debut or notable accomplishments during the 2016 season, and prior to current year, had not played in more than 6 main draw events at tour-level in a single season

  • Ended 2015 season at No.203; currently sits at No.40
  • Made Top 50 debut following breakthrough run to final at Toray Pan Pacific Open – Tokyo in September
  • Defeated two Top 20 players en route to final – No.12 Cibulkova and No.20 Svitolina – before falling to Wozniacki
  • Was first Japanese player into the Tokyo final since Kimiko Date-Krumm in 1995
  • Reached third round at all three majors played in 2016 – Australian Open, Roland Garros and US Open
  • Also advanced to QFs at Abierto Mexicano TELCEL – Acapulco, Brasil Tennis Cup – Florianopolis and Tianjin Open

Comeback Player of the Year: Dominika Cibulkova (SVK)
Player whose ranking previously dropped due to injury or personal reasons and current season’s results helped restore ranking

  • A former Grand Slam finalist at the 2014 Australian Open, fell outside the Top 50 after taking break from tennis to undergo Achilles surgery in February 2015 (missed 3 months)
  • Returned to tour at 2015 Aegon International Eastbourne in June, advancing to third round with a win over No.6 Safarova
  • Ended 2015 ranked No.38, and now sits at a career-high ranking of No.8 (as at October 3, 2016)
  • Qualified for the 2016 BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore for the first time in career
  • Season highlights include three titles – at Katowice Open, Aegon International Eastbourne and Generali Ladies Linz, as well as finals appearances at Mutua Madrid Open, Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open and Abierto Mexicano TELCEL – Acapulco
  • Also reached semifinals at Hobart International and Bank of the West Classic – Stanford, and quarterfinals at Wimbledon
  • Posted five Top 10 wins so far in 2016

Jerry Diamond ACES Award: Simona Halep (ROU)

The Jerry Diamond ACES Award is presented to the player who consistently goes above and beyond in promoting the sport of women’s tennis to fans, media, and local communities by performing off-court promotional and charitable activities.

Simona Halep has earned the ACES award for the first time in her career. The Romanian participated in numerous kid’s clinics throughout the globe, charitable activities such as the Charity Day Clinic in Madrid, as well as fan friendly events, including the Sydney Festival, to help bring the game closer to the community.

The Diamond ACES Award was first introduced in 1995, in memory of former WTA CEO Jerry Diamond. Since then, a total of 15 players have won the award: Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, Gabriela Sabatini, Amanda Coetzer, Lindsay Davenport, Martina Hingis, Anastasia Myskina, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Jelena Jankovic, Ana Ivanovic, Elena Dementieva, Samantha Stosur, Victoria Azarenka, Petra Kvitova, Caroline Wozniacki and now, Simona Hale

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Denise J. Saul is the Founder/President of WSEN-Women's Sports & Entertainment Network.

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