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2021 ATP Awards: And The Winners Are...

Brooksby, Federer, Nadal among winners

Americans Jenson Brooksby and Mackenzie McDonald join Roger Federer, Aslan Karatsev and Rafael Nadal as winners in the 2021 ATP Awards.

Brooksby, 21, and the 26-year-old McDonald win respectively in the Newcomer of the Year and Comeback Player of the Year categories. Brooksby rose from outside the Top 300 at the start of 2021 to a career-high No. 56 by November, highlighted by his runs to the Newport final and fourth round at the US Open. McDonald, who fell as low as World No. 272 after undergoing right hamstring surgery in 2019, similarly rose to a career-high No. 54 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. McDonald’s best result also came on home soil when he reached the ATP 500 final in Washington, D.C.

In the two other player-voted categories, peers have selected Nadal as recipient of the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award for the fourth year in a row and fifth time overall, and Russia’s Aslan Karatsev as the Most Improved Player of the Year. Karatsev, 28, broke through to reach the Australian Open semi-finals as a qualifier and won two ATP Tour titles, in Dubai and Moscow.

Cameron Norrie’s coach Facundo Lugones takes home Coach of the Year honours after helping to guide the Briton to two titles from six finals, highlighted by the ATP Masters 1000 trophy in Indian Wells.

Federer has been voted as Fans’ Favourite for a record-extending 19th straight year, while French duo Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut – the 2021 Nitto ATP Finals champions – win the fan-voted award for the first time.

The 2021 ATP Awards also honours Novak Djokovic and Nikola Mektic/Mate Pavic, who received their trophies as the ATP No. 1 presented by FedEx during the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin. Djokovic celebrated a seventh finish in the top spot, breaking the record he previously shared with Pete Sampras. Mektic and Pavic won nine tour-level titles in the first year of their partnership.

The Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award goes to New Zealand’s Marcus Daniell, who founded High Impact Athletes last November and announced at the start of 2021 that he would donate at least 10 per cent of his annual winnings to effective charity organizations for the rest of his life.

Tournament of the Year honours have been awarded to the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells (ATP Masters 1000), the Erste Bank Open in Vienna (ATP 500) and the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha (ATP 250). Meanwhile, Prajwal Hegde, the Times of India’s tennis editor, receives the Ron Bookman Media Excellence Award.

2021 ATP Awards Winners

ATP No. 1 presented by FedEx
(Determined by FedEx ATP Rankings)
Novak Djokovic: This is the seventh time the Serbian has earned this honour, passing Pete Sampras for the most year-end No. 1 finishes in the history of the FedEx ATP Rankings (since 1973). Djokovic also achieved the feat in 2011-12, ’14-15, ’18 and ’20. The 34-year-old, who extended his record as the oldest man to finish year-end No. 1, eclipsed Federer’s all-time mark of 310 weeks at No. 1 on 8 March. Djokovic came within one victory of completing the Grand Slam in 2021, winning titles at the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon – drawing level with Federer and Nadal at 20 major titles – before finishing runner-up at the US Open. He also triumphed at the Belgrade Open and clinched a record-extending 37th ATP Masters 1000 title in Paris.

ATP Doubles No. 1 presented by FedEx
(Determined by FedEx ATP Rankings)
Nikola Mektic & Mate Pavic: The Croatian duo tallied nine tour-level titles in their first season together, beginning their partnership on a 12-match winning streak. They won 56 of their first 61 matches in 2021, including Masters 1000 triumphs in Miami, Monte-Carlo and Rome. Mektic and Pavic made history at Wimbledon, where they became the first all-Croatian team to win a men’s doubles Grand Slam title, and they proceeded to clinch the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics. Pavic finished in top spot twice before, partnering Oliver Marach in 2018 and Bruno Soares last year.

Comeback Player of the Year
(Voted by ATP players)
Mackenzie McDonald: The American underwent right hamstring surgery in June 2019 and fell as low as World No. 272 last year. Starting 2021 at No. 194 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, McDonald showed good form early on when he advanced to the fourth round of the Australian Open — his best performance at a major since Wimbledon in 2018. He also won an ATP Challenger Tour title and qualified for Roland Garros and Wimbledon. The former UCLA Bruin’s most impressive result came in Washington, D.C., where he eliminated defending champion Nick Kyrgios and former World No. 4 Kei Nishikori en route to the ATP 500 final. McDonald ascended to a career-high No. 54 in November. Thanasi Kokkinakis, Andy Murray and Jack Sock were also nominated in this category.

Most Improved Player of the Year
(Voted by ATP players)
Aslan Karatsev: The Russian’s season began in the first round of qualifying at the Australian Open when he was World No. 114. He strung together eight straight wins to reach the semi-finals at the first major of the season, including victories over Diego Schwartzman, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Grigor Dimitrov before losing to Djokovic. One month later, he clinched his first tour-level title at the ATP 500 tournament in Dubai. The 28-year-old also triumphed on home soil in Moscow, reached the final in Belgrade and scored top two wins against Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev. Karatsev reached a career-high No. 15 FedEx ATP Ranking in November. Carlos Alcaraz, Cameron Norrie and Casper Ruud were also nominated in this category.

Newcomer of the Year
(Voted by ATP players)
Jenson Brooksby: The American had earned just one tour-level win before the 2021 season and sat outside the Top 300 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. He finished his campaign at a career-high No. 56 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. Brooksby reached his maiden ATP Tour final in Newport, before he advanced to the fourth round at a major for the first time on home soil at the US Open, where he lost to Novak Djokovic in four sets. Brooksby also reached tour-level semi-finals in Washington and Antwerp and captured three ATP Challenger Tour trophies. Four other #NextGenATP stars – Sebastian Baez, Juan Manuel Cerundolo, Hugo Gaston and Brandon Nakashima – were also nominated in this category.

Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award
(Voted by ATP players)
Rafael Nadal: Fellow players have once again recognised Nadal for his fair play, professionalism and integrity on and off the court, selecting the Spaniard as the winner of the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award for a fourth straight year and fifth time overall. Nadal also received this honour in 2010. Felix Auger-Aliassime, Casper Ruud and Frances Tiafoe were also nominated in this category.

Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award
(Awarded by ATP)
Marcus Daniell: The Kiwi announced at the start of 2021 that he would donate at least 10 per cent of his annual winnings to effective charity organisations for the rest of his life. Daniell became involved with the effective altruism movement, which focusses on using one’s resources to do the most good, in 2015. Last year, he launched High Impact Athletes, an organisation whose purpose is to channel charitable donations to the most effective, evidence-based charities in the world, specifically in the fields of extreme poverty and environmental impact.

Fans’ Favourite Award (Singles)
(Voted by fans)
Roger Federer: The Swiss has been selected as Fans’ Favourite for a record 19th straight year, taking his record haul of ATP Awards to 40. Federer, who celebrated his 40th birthday in August, made his comeback to the ATP Tour this past March in Doha after undergoing two arthroscopic right knee surgeries in 2020. He concluded his 2021 campaign with a run to the Wimbledon quarter-finals.

Fans’ Favourite Award (Doubles)
(Voted by fans)
Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut: The Frenchmen have been voted as the Fans’ Favourite doubles team for the first time. Herbert, 30, and 39-year-old Mahut claimed three team titles in 2021, including their second at Roland Garros and third at Queen’s Club. They capped off the ATP Tour season by winning the Nitto ATP Finals, their 20th title together since 2015.

Coach of the Year
(Voted by ATP coaches)
Facundo Lugones: The Argentine helped Briton Cameron Norrie, his former college teammate at Texas Christian University, to a career-best season. Norrie claimed his first tour-level title in Los Cabos before battling to the ATP Masters 1000 trophy in Indian Wells. He was an alternate at the Nitto ATP Finals, where he played two matches. Norrie finished 2021 with a 52-25 record. Lugones was selected as the winner from a shortlist that included Craig Boynton (Hubert Hurkacz), Gilles Cervara (Daniil Medvedev), Juan Carlos Ferrero (Carlos Alcaraz) and Christian Ruud (Casper Ruud).

Ron Bookman Media Excellence Award
(Awarded by ATP)
Prajwal Hegde: Hegde, who played tennis at national level when younger, has been the Times of India’s tennis editor since 2005. She began her career with Mid-Day in Mumbai, covering a range of sports including tennis, cricket and field hockey, and then spent nine years with Deccan Herald, Bangalore, where her focus shifted largely to tennis. Hegde has also written books, with her debut novel ‘What’s Good About Falling’ published by Harper Collins in 2018.

ATP Masters 1000 Tournament of the Year
(Voted by ATP players)
BNP Paribas Open (Indian Wells): The BNP Paribas Open wins in the ATP Masters 1000 category for a record-extending seventh time. Held amidst the natural beauty and backdrop of the desert landscape, the Indian Wells Tennis Garden offers top-notch player facilities and amenities; plentiful practice courts that allow fans to watch players up close; and unparalleled dining options.

ATP 500 Tournament of the Year
(Voted by ATP players)
Erste Bank Open (Vienna): ATP 500 Tournament of the Year honors goes to a first-time winner, the Erste Bank Open. First held in 1974, the indoor hard-court regularly attracts the world’s best players to Vienna in October. Even during COVID-19-impacted times nearly 60,000 fans visited the Stadthalle and the new, second match location “Tennis 2 Go” on the premises of the Wiener Eislaufverein in the city centre of Vienna for the 2021 edition.

ATP 250 Tournament of the Year
(Voted by ATP players)
Qatar ExxonMobil Open (Doha): The Qatar ExxonMobil Open repeats as winner in the ATP 250 category, claiming the Tournament of the Year award for the fourth time overall (2015, 2017, 2019). Doha has set high standards since its inception in 1993 and under the guidance of former player Karim Alami, the tournament continues to build its reputation for its superb facility, world-class hospitality and welcoming fans.