It’s that time of the year again, nearly the end of the season, when the nominees for the different ATP awards are disclosed and when you can vote for your favourite singles player and doubles team. It is, really, an in-a-nutshell reflexion of the tennis year and the list of nominees came out today. Of course, we know that the number 1 single player and doubles team of the year are known via ranking, but most categories are voted by the players and the singles player and doubles team of the year are voted by us, the fans.
Here are this year’s nominees.
Awards voted by the players
Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award
Last year, Rafael Nadal broke Roger Federer’s streak of six consecutive awards for the player who “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.”
Both of them are nominated again this year and are joined by Novak Djokovic and doubles specialist Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi.
Tough one to predict. I’ll go with either Nadal or Djokovic.
Most improved player of the year
This one speaks for itself and seeing the rankings as of 31 December 2010 and that of 24 October 2011 says a lot too.
This year’s nominees are:
Alex Bogomolov Jr (196/79)
Mardy Fish (16/8)
Kei Nishikori (98/31)
Janko Tipsarevic (49/13)
After all his struggles of the last few years, combined with his dream season, it’s really tough to go against Alex Bogomolov Jr, I think.
Newcomer of the year
That’s the young player who really made his mark on the Tour this year. I call it the jinx award, as all those who won it over the last few years had a miserable season the year after.
This year, the battle will be between:
Matthew Ebden (196/79)
Ryan Harrison (173/75)
Milos Raonic (156/28)
Bernard Tomic (208/42)
Pretty easy to figure it will likely be Missile Milos for this one, no?
Comeback player of the year
That’s the one underlining the achievements of players who overcame serious injuries and came back strong to get back to the highest level of the game. One surprise in this year’s nominations, though:
Juan Martín del Potro (258/15)
Gilles Muller (134/49)
Gilles Simon (that’s the surprise) (41/12)
Dmitry Tursunov (197/39)
Instead of Gilles Simon, I would’ve chosen Ivo Karlovic, personally, as he has missed most of 2010 with an Achilles injury and came back strong this year. And compared to the plight of the other three nominees, Simon did not sustain an injury that made him miss most of the year.
However, del Potro is definitely my choice, favouritism notwithstanding. He went as low as no 485, only to climb his way back up to the top 15, and could very well end the year back in or almost back in the top 10, after having missed about all of last year with a serious wrist injury. My second choice in this category would be Dmitry Tursunov who, in 2010, had his third surgery in two years and just this year was able to find his rhythm again.
Fan favourite awards
This is where the fun is, for us fans: voting for our favourite singles player and favourite doubles team. Will this year bring changes to the Roger Federer / Bryan Brothers supremacy of the last seven (Federer) and five (the Bryans) years?
Visit the ATP Facebook page to vote for your favourites.
My picks: Delpo in singles (duh!) and I had a very hard time with the doubles (I like too many teams), so I closed my eyes and my mouse stopped on Jürgen Melzer/Philipp Petzschner.
Except for the tournament of the year in each of the tournament categories, all the winners will be known the day before the ATP World Tour Finals begin. You can find more info on the ATP Website.