We saw Serena Williams hit 22 and then hit 35—majors and years—and she’s still going. We had one star take a break on account of pregnancy. We had another star take a break for less wholesome and happy reasons. We witnessed das return of German tennis. And an American not named Williams entering the top 10. It was a year of transition…. But then again aren't they all?
The votes have been tabulated and certified by PriceWaterhouseCoopers. They’ve been delivered to us by our special guest presenter, Ray Moore, a good man who had a bad day and is now undertaking tennis community service. Without further ado, the envelopes please. Your 2016 awards for women’s tennis….
The first award goes to the WTA itself. We all love tennis. But also see the need for a longer off-season. The 2016 season wrapped up before Halloween. Two full months to recover is—well—a good start. The message: make us miss you.
Player of Year
The honors go to Angelique Kerber and it was a unanimous vote. Two majors—in Australia and New York. A runner-up-showing at Wimbledon. A silver medal. And proof that professionalism, hard work, speed and tactics can all be weapons.
Comeback Player of the Year
It started last year, but the notion that Venus Williams, deep into her 30s could re-enter the top ten and close the year as a top 15 player is just remarkable.
Comeback Player of the Fall
A loss at the U.S. Open and Caroline Wozniacki was in danger of careening out of the top 100. She reached the Final Four in New York, rode her hot streak into the fall, and finished back in the top 20—back where she belongs.
Newcomer of the Year
Naomi Osaka. One part Japanese, one part Haitian. Two parts awesome. She turned 19 in October and we’ll see which 20 comes first: her age or her ranking.
Breakthrough of the Year
Monica Puig went to the Rio Games with one WTA title to her name. She left Rio with a gold medal, memories of a magical week and status as first Puerto Rican—male or female—to step onto the highest platform of the Olympic medal stand.
Coach of the Year
In their second tour of duty together, Torben Beltz and Angie Kerber have hit the highest notes….Runner-up: Oracene Williams who, yet again, helps oversee TWO players at the top of the game.
Match of the Year
With an emphasis placed on weight of occasion, all four—yes, ALL FOUR—major finals we’re thoroughly entertaining, two of them going three sets and each featuring a winner seizing the occasion. No Slam final? How about Dominika Cibulkova beating Aga Radwanska at Wimbledon, 6-3, 5-7, 9-7.
Doubles Team of the Year
Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza, though sadly they will receive the award separately.
Best Use of the Changeover
Sheer entertainment, if you will. (And we know you will.) The best part: she came back and won the match.
Agent of the Year
Sorry, I see we’re out of time…
Get some rest. Get a haircut. And bring on 2017.
To see the ATP 2016 year-end awards, click here.