Monday 31 October 2011

2011 ATP World Tour Awards Nominations

Every year, during the World Tour Finals, the ATP presents outstanding players of the year with several possible awards.

Two of the awards are determined by year-end ranking - the No. 1 Singles Player, which will go to Novak Djokovic, and the No. 1 Doubles Team, the winner of which is still undetermined as of today.

Most of the awards are based on the players' own votes. Here are the different awards, the nominations, and my picks for them:

Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award

According to the ATP, this award is given to "the player who, throughout the year, conducted himself at the highest level of professionalism and integrity, who competed with his fellow players with the utmost spirit of fairness and who promoted the game through his off-court activities."
In 2011, the nominees are Djokovic, Federer (won it for 6 straight years - 2004-2009), Nadal (won in 2010) and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi, and I'll let my loyal readers guess who my pick is ;)

Most Improved Player of the Year

This award is given to the player who had the most significant leap in the rankings, and who showed a great improvement in his on-court performance during the last year. The nominees, with their ranking a year ago and today, are: Alex Bogomolov Jr. (166/36), Mardy Fish (16/8), Kei Nishikori (98/31), Janko Tipsarevic (49/13).
Those are all very worthy nominations, in my opinion (as opposed to some of the other categories), and I could make a case for each and every one of them. Though my heart lies firmly with Janko, my pick is Alex Bogomolov Jr., whose sudden career-best performance at age 28, after almost quitting the pro career for a coaching job, is probably the most inspiring of them all. It's worth mentioning that only one of those (Nishikori) is a young player - the others are of age 28, 29 and 27, respectively.

Newcomer of the Year

This is a similar award, but given to new faces on the tour. The nominees and their rankings changes are: Matthew Ebden (196/79), Ryan Harrison (173/75), Milos Raonic (156/28), Bernard Tomic (208/42).
In my opinion, it's a bit of a toss between Harrison and Raonic - the former has much more to improve, while the latter reached better results, but with a slightly one-dimensional game. However, my pick goes to Milos Raonic, who could reach even higher if not for the unfortunate injury at Wimbledon that hampered the second half of his season. His final in Memphis against Andy Roddick left a lasting impression on me, even if he ended up losing it by a narrow margin.

Comeback Player of the Year

This award is given to a player who came back from a long lasting injury, and reinstated himself at the top of the rankings. The nominees and their ranking are: Juan Martin del Potro (258/15), Gilles Muller (134/49), Gilles Simon (41/12), Dmitry Tursunov (197/39).
First of all, I have absolutely no idea why Simon is even on that list, since he wasn't even sidelined with an injury, as far as I know. While this is indeed a comeback closer to the top-10 ranking he had in 2008, it's hardly the same as Del Potro or Tursunov who deserve this award much more. Once again, I'm not sure which one I'd pick, since most of the arguments are relevant to both, but I think that Del Potro has a slight edge here, and my pick goes to him.

Two additional awards are given by the ATP themselves - the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award and the Ron Bookman Media Excellence Award (given to a journalist, not a player). Here, we don't have a list of candidates to consider.

The last two awards will be based on fan votes. You are encouraged to cast your vote (*cough*for Novak*cough*) on the ATP's Facebook page. Roger Federer (2003-2010) and the Bryan Brothers (2005-2010) won those awards since practically forever ;)

The nominations for favourite singles player are:
Nicolas Almagro,
Marcos Baghdatis,
Tomas Berdych,
Juan Martin Del Potro,
Novak Djokovic, 
Alexandr Dolgopolov,
Roger Federer,
David Ferrer,
Mardy Fish,
Richard Gasquet,
Lleyton Hewitt,
John Isner,
Jurgen Melzer,
Gael Monfils,
Andy Murray,
Rafael Nadal,
David Nalbandian,
Kei Nishikori,
Milos Raonic,
Andy Roddick,
Gilles Simon,
Robin Soderling,
Janko Tipsarevic,
Viktor Troicki,
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga,
Dmitry Tursunov,
Fernando Verdasco,
Stanislas Wawrinka.

The nominations for favourite doubles team are:
Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan
Michael Llodra/Nenad Zimonjic
Max Mirnyi/Daniel Nestor
Mahesh Bhupathi/Leander Paes
Jurgen Melzer/Philipp Petzschner
Robert Lindstedt/Horia Tecau
Rohan Bopanna/Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi
Eric Butorac/Jean-Julien Roger
Mariusz Fyrstenberg/Marcin Matkowski
John Isner/Sam Querrey
Marcelo Melo/Bruno Soares
Jonathan Erlich/Andy Ram

You can see the list of previous years' winners right here. Who would you pick this time?

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