Monday, April 15, 2024
HometennisIga Swiatek wins back-to-back WTA Player of the Year award

Iga Swiatek wins back-to-back WTA Player of the Year award

NEW YORK – World No. 1 Iga Swiatek was named WTA Player of the Year for a second successive season, the governing body of women’s tennis said.

Swiatek won the French Open for a third time to take her Grand Slam tally to four, and finished 2023 by claiming her first WTA Finals crown and regaining top spot in the rankings after briefly losing it to Aryna Sabalenka.

The 22-year-old Pole, who won a tour-leading six titles, became the first to be named WTA Player of the Year in back-to-back seasons since Serena Williams from 2012 to 2015.

Storm Hunter and Elise Mertens picked up the Doubles Team of the Year award, China’s Zheng Qinwen, 21, was named Most Improved Player, while Russian Mirra Andreeva, 16, won Newcomer of the Year.

Elina Svitolina, who returned to tennis in April following a maternity break, was named Comeback Player of the Year after reaching the Roland Garros quarter-finals and matching her best Grand Slam result by getting to the Wimbledon semi-finals.

Separately, the WTA announced on Dec 12 that Steve Simon will relinquish his role as its CEO but stay on as executive chairman in an organisational restructure.

Simon, who has held both roles since 2015, has come under increasing fire from the players recently, not least over the decision to hold the WTA Finals outdoors in Cancun, Mexico.

The revised structure will separate the roles of chairman and chief executive officer to allow greater focus on its mission and goals, WTA said in a statement, adding that the new CEO will be tasked with managing and growing its operations.

In the men’s tour, Rafael Nadal will face Carlos Alcaraz in an exhibition match in Las Vegas on March 3, said the fixture’s broadcaster and organiser Netflix.

Twenty-two time Grand Slam winner Nadal will meet Spanish compatriot and world No. 2 Alcaraz at the Michelob Ultra Arena at the Mandalay Bay Resort.

Nadal, 37, had said he will return to court in January after missing almost a year with injury.

Alcaraz, 20, won the 2022 US Open and 2023 Wimbledon and is considered Nadal’s heir apparent.

The pair have faced each other just three times, with Nadal winning twice but Alcaraz triumphed in their most recent encounter in the quarter-finals of the 2022 Madrid Masters, which he won.

Their upcoming clash has been dubbed The Netflix Slam. The United States-based streaming giant said more players and matches would later be announced for the event. AFP, REUTERS

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