It’s the 2nd annual Tennis Tipster awards and it’s been quite a year so without further ado, let the ceremony begin!
Overachiever of the Year Award
Winner: David Ferrer Runner-Up: Juan Monaco
It’s true that Ferru won 7 titles, including 1 Masters title. It’s true he led the season in match wins. It’s true that he’s a good player, but I would argue he’s not a great player whenever the top 4 are in the draw. Pico Monaco had a career year and while I like him a lot, 4 titles seemed a little OTT for a guy that does not scare too many players.
Underachiever of the Year Award
Winner: Bernard Tomic Runner-Up: Julien Benneteau
Bernie just lost the plot in 2012. His off-court shenanigans must affect his professionalism and he has not shown the heart to do what it takes to win matches. Any. Benneteau is now 0-7 in tour finals, which is sad in many ways. He’s a great player and his record should show different. Let’s hope he wins one next year before retiring.
Breakthrough Player of the Year Award
Winner: Jerzy Janowicz Runner-Up: Martin Klizan
Jerzy ‘Shore’ Janowicz tore everyone a new one in the Paris indoors in 2012. After doing well on the Challenger circuit, he arrived on the main tour late but 2013 could be a big year for him. Klizan was the only 1st time tour winner in St. Petersburg and is another ‘big man’ leftie player. He won 4 Challenger events and looks to be the real deal for next year.
Comeback Player of the Year Award
Winner: Brian Baker Runner-Up: Sam Querry
Don’t be surprised if you see ‘Guts: The Brian Baker Story’ appear on Lifetime at some point. 4 years out and an incredible comeback in 2012. Can he follow it up in 2013? Another American, Querry, dropped to Challengers for a while after an injury. He’s now back and a legit threat to the big guns headed into 2013.
Veteran of the Year Award
Winner: Tommy Haas Runner-Up: Radek Stepanek
It felt like the year of the veteran this year, while the young guns floundered mostly, the oldies were picking up titles and moving up the rankings. Tommy Haas’ career looked over with injury but his perseverance paid off with a memorable win over Federer in Halle and recording 500 career match wins. Stepanek came up with the goods to clinch the Davis Cup for the Czech Republic at 33 years old, dismissing world number 11 Almagro. The Worm certainly turned.
Season to Forget Award
Winner: Gael Monfils Runner-Up: Donald Young
Both of these players have so much talent but such little bottle or core fitness. Monfils is a superb physical specimen akin to Nadal but why can’t he stay healthy? He lost to a Swedish qualifier ranked 200+ in his defense of the Stokholm Open and he used to be top 10! He needs a new coach fast. Same could be said for Young, who has claimed Murray’s scalp in his career. He almost stole Vince Spadea’s consecutive 1st round loss record this year, which was the only headlines he was making.
Golden Bagel Award
Winner: David Ferrer & Novak Djokovic (9)
A fitting tie between the two most dominant players in match wins. Taking a set by bagel shows a ruthlessness that these two have in spades and is no wonder they won 13 titles between them this season.
Bad Apple Award
Winner: Dimitar Kutrovsky Runner-Up: Wayne Odesnik
No one had heard of the Serbian Kutrovsky and no one ever will now. The murky lower tier doping scandals continue with no clear indication how prevalent this is. Wayne ‘HGH’ Odesnik takes runner up for getting caught and having little remorse or punishment to be honest.
Lifetime Achievement in Tennis Award
Winner: Andy Roddick Runner-Up: Juan Carlos Ferrero
Without a doubt, these two will enter the Hall of Fame within the next 10 years. Roddick ruled the hard courts and carried the torch of American tennis for 10 years, coming off the back of a golden generation in US tennis. With a title in every year he played, Roddick could or should have won more Grand Slams but another golden generation turned up right after he won the US Open. A similar pattern emerged for JCF. After his French Open success in 2003, his clay rule was limited by Nadal. Still with 15 titles he made a lasting impression on Spanish tennis for future generations.
Player of the Year Award
Winner: Andy Murray Runner-Up: Roger Federer
Despite Djokovic ending up the best player on paper in the rankings, Murray’s efforts to emerge out of the shadows of the Big 3 was impressive. With Lendl in his corner, he turned a champion on the grass of the Olympics and hard courts of the US Open. With the monkey off his back, he’s ready for a crack at number 1. Federer’s 6 titles including Wimbledon was impressive on account of the fire that still burns at 31 years old. With 2 kids, a wife and nothing to prove he’s still keeping the top players honest.
Most Improved Tennis Nation Award
Winner: Japan Runner-Up: Slovenia
Two of the smaller nations punched above their weight this season. Japan’s breakthrough player, Nishikori, is a top 10 player in waiting, while Go Soeda and Tatsuma Ito solidified their positions in the top 100. Japan has never had it so good. From out of nowhere it seems, Slovenia also have 3 top 100 players. Aljaz Bedene won 4 Challenger tour titles and looks to be one to watch next year. Their Davis Cup World Group chances look pretty good next year too.
Tournament of the Year Award
Winner: Olympics Runner-Up: US Open
Not only did the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Club put on an immaculate tournament this year, a few weeks later they turned it into an Olympic event. With all the pressure of hosting and Murray, both were victorious. Quite an accomplishment really. The US Open, a little maligned amongst the other 3 Grand Slam tournaments made improvements this year to their facility and the showtime atmosphere the event produces is like no other.
That’s a wrap. Thanks for reading and see you next year!