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Brooksby Clinches 2021 Newcomer Award: 'It Was Definitely A Fun Season'

American reached his first tour-level final in Newport

Jenson Brooksby has been rewarded for his standout season by being voted Newcomer of the Year in the 2021 ATP Awards. The 21-year-old is the first American to win this award since Taylor Fritz in 2016 and the third overall American since 2000 to earn newcomer honours, also joining Andy Roddick (2001).

"I am extremely grateful to win the ATP Newcomer Player of the Year award," Brooksby said. "Thank you to all the players who voted for me. It means a lot. It was definitely a fun season and I would like to thank the fans for cheering me on throughout the year. Lastly, thanks to my team, who supported me through the tough times and the good times."

Brooksby had earned just one tour-level win before the 2021 season and sat outside the Top 300 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. However, following a series of standout results, the 21-year-old soared up the rankings this year, ending the campaign at No. 56 — the youngest of an ATP Tour-high 12 Americans in the year-end Top 100.

The Sacramento-native 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, defeating Aslan Karatsev and Fritz before losing to Novak Djokovic in four sets. He additionally reached tour-level semi-finals in Washington and Antwerp and captured three ATP Challenger Tour trophies.

“It was great to experience a lot of the success I had this year. I won my first few Challenger titles, made an [ATP] 250 final, the semis of D.C. — the [ATP] 500 — and made the Round of 16 at a major [for the first time]. [Those] were all good accomplishments for me,” Brooksby said. “I want to take it a step further next year.

“I know what it takes to win titles and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to. I want to win titles next year, that’s the ultimate goal and I believe the process that I’m doing will see me through to those results that I want.”

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There are a few things Brooksby is most proud of from his breakthrough season, and they are not necessarily his biggest victories on paper.

“First, after the adversity I’d faced in 2020, not being able to play any matches and just knowing what it takes to win… fighting through that adversity to win the title in my second week in South Africa. Secondly I was proud of how well I adjusted to big moments and how well I consistently did in the Challengers after winning that first title, especially in Tallahassee and Orlando during that time of the season,” Brooksby said. “I’m proud of how I’ve been committed to my process and doing the things I need to do. I know there’s still work to do in that, but I’ve made good strides this year.

“Third, I’m proud of how well I translated my game and my belief into the ATP Tour tournaments. I translated my game really well and I had good results starting with my first ATP tournaments.”

Brooksby also acknowledged countryman Mackenzie McDonald, another winner in the 2021 ATP Awards. "Shout out to Mackie for winning the Comeback Player of the Year award," he said. "You deserve it."

Four other #NextGenATP stars – Sebastian Baez, Juan Manuel Cerundolo, Hugo Gaston and Brandon Nakashima – were also nominated in this category.

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