Clijsters: Player Of Year
Published December 01, 2010 12:00
ST. PETERSBURG, FL, USA - The WTA announced Wednesday the winners of the 2010 WTA Player Awards. Ten players were honored by fans and the media for their outstanding achievements both on and off the court during 2010.
Kim Clijsters was voted Player of the Year for the second time in her career, having first earned the accolade in 2005. The Belgian, 27, had a terrific 2010 season, highlighted by winning her third US Open. Additionally, Clijsters won four other titles, at Brisbane, Miami, Cincinnati and the WTA Championships - Doha 2010. For her off-court achievements, she was also given the Player Service award, which recognizes the player who has done the most to support her fellow players through the WTA Players' Council or other initiatives.
"It's really nice to win the Player of the Year award just one year after making a comeback and while I didn't think it would come so quickly, I am thrilled with the news," Clijsters commented. "To be honored by your fellow players with the Player Service award means so much to me because I believe the social contact with the rest of the players is very important. This year I met a lot of new girls and it was very nice that so many of them had positive reactions to my daughter Jada as well. I want to thank my fellow players and the media who voted for me and I look forward to seeing everyone again in Australia."
Gisela Dulko and Flavia Pennetta earned Doubles Team of the Year. While the competition in doubles was fierce in 2010, Dulko and Pennetta, who were the No.1-ranked team in the world at year-end, won seven titles, including the WTA Championships - Doha 2010. Earlier in the season, they compiled a 17-match win streak - the longest on the WTA in over three years - which garnered three consecutive Premier-level titles at Miami, Stuttgart and Rome, and ended in the Madrid final (where they lost to the Williams sisters). They also won titles in Bastad, Montréal and Moscow in the second half of the year.
Francesca Schiavone received the award for Most Improved Player. The Italian, whose career-high ranking coming into this season was No.11, shattered that after a scintillating run to her first Grand Slam title at Roland Garros, surging from No.17 to No.6 - the first Italian ever to rank that high on the WTA. She turned 30 shortly afterwards and maintained a high level throughout the second half of the year, coming in at No.7 on the year-end rankings.
Petra Kvitova won Newcomer of the Year after a season that included a run to her first Grand Slam semifinal at Wimbledon (beating Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki along the way). She had never won a match on grass before. After her success at Wimbledon, Kvitova broke into the world's Top 30.
Comeback Player of the Year went to Justine Henin, who made a stellar return to the WTA in January. At her first tournament back in Brisbane she reached the final, falling to Clijsters in the third set tie-break after holding match points. She also reached the final of the Australian Open, her first major since 2008, and won titles at Stuttgart (on clay) and 's-Hertogenbosch (on grass).
Elena Dementieva, who retired from the WTA in October, was honored with the Karen Krantzcke Sportsmanship Award, which acknowledges a player's conduct, attitude and sense of fair play. It was her second time receiving it.
The Humanitarian of the Year award went to Maria Sharapova for her role as a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador. In 2010, Maria visited Chernobyl and spent time with kids affected by the disaster while pledging $250,000 to the United Nations Development Program. Additionally, Sharapova won several fan awards including Favorite Singles Player and the Most Fashionable Player.
WTA players voted on their favorite tournaments and chose Stuttgart as their favorite Premier event and Pattaya City as their favorite International event.
The winners of the annual player awards for Player of the Year, Doubles Team of the Year, Most Improved Player of the Year and Comeback Player of the Year are determined by the global tennis media, with WTA players themselves selecting Tournaments of the Year, Sportsmanship and Player Service award.
Full List Of WTA Awards
Player Of The Year: Kim Clijsters
Doubles Team Of The Year: Gisela Dulko & Flavia Pennetta
Most Improved Player: Francesca Schiavone
Comeback Player Of The Year: Justine Henin
Newcomer Of The Year: Petra Kvitova
Player Service: Kim Clijsters
Karen Krantzcke Sportsmanship: Elena Dementieva
Tournament Of The Year (Premier): Stuttgart
Tournament Of The Year (International): Pattaya City
(as voted by fans)
Fan Favorite Singles Player: Maria Sharapova
Fan Favorite Doubles Team: Venus Williams & Serena Williams
Most Fashionable Player (On Court): Maria Sharapova
Most Fashionable Player (Off Court): Maria Sharapova
Most Dramatic Expression: Maria Sharapova
Humanitarian Of The Year: Maria Sharapova