2018 WTA Tournament and Player Award Winners Announced, First Ever Coach Award is Presented
· BNP Paribas Open (Indian Wells) and Internazionali BNL d’Italia (Rome) reclaim the accolades they won in 2017, while Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open and St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy receive awards for the first time
· Petra Kvitova lands Karen Krantzcke Sportsmanship Award for sixth consecutive year, as Bethanie Mattek-Sands picks up her first Peachy Kellmeyer Player Service Award
· Sascha Bajin receives first-ever WTA Coach of the Year honors
ST. PETERSBURG, FL, USA – The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) announced today the winners of the annual year-end tournament and player awards, as voted for by the players themselves. In addition, members of the WTA Coach Program voted for the first ever WTA Coach of the Year.
The WTA Tournament of the Year Award winners have received recognition from WTA players due to the excellence of their staff and organization, passionate fans, and wider dedication to the sport and its athletes.
The tournament awards are broken down into four categories reflecting the different levels of WTA tournaments, with the winners as follows:
Since the new format was introduced in 2014 for Tournaments of the Year, 2018 marks the fifth year in a row (10th overall) that Indian Wells has been voted as winner in the Premier Mandatory category, as well as Rome’s third consecutive triumph in the Premier 5 category.
In the Premier classification, St. Petersburg picks up the award for the first time in the tournament’s short history, while Hong Kong also receives honors for the first time as the best International tournament of 2018.
Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova receives the Karen Krantzcke Sportsmanship Award for the sixth successive year and seventh time overall. This honor is granted to a player who conducts herself in a manner fitting of a professional sports figure and observes the rules of fair play, shows respect for others and is gracious on and off the court.
“It is a great honor to receive this award for my seventh time,” said Kvitova. “This award means so much to me, especially as it’s voted upon by my colleagues, and every year it makes me really proud. I always try to treat my opponents and the sport of tennis with great respect and that’s one thing I would love to pass on to future generations.”
Introduced in 1978, previous award winners of the Karen Krantzcke Sportsmanship Award include Kim Clijsters, Elena Dementieva, Ana Ivanovic, Lindsay Davenport, Chris Evert and Evonne Goolagong-Cawley.
Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the United States earns the Peachy Kellmeyer Player Service Award for the first time in her career, recognizing the work she has done to support her fellow players as well as other initiatives on behalf of the general player population.
“I’m very honored and thrilled to receive this award from my friends and peers on tour,” said Mattek-Sands. “I love giving back to the sport that has given me so much in my life and look forward to continuing to make a positive impact, both for these ladies playing now and the future WTA girls coming up.”
This Peachy Kellmeyer Player Service Award has been voted on by players since 1977 and has recognized athletes including Kim Clijsters, Nicole Pratt, Francesca Schiavone, Pam Shriver and Venus Williams.
Sascha Bajin, coach of Naomi Osaka, becomes the first recipient of the WTA Coach of the Year Award, which is given to the coach with not only success on the court, but also one who serves as an ambassador of the sport and brings coaching to the forefront of the game.
In their first year together, Bajin helped bring Osaka’s game to new heights, as she won her career first WTA title at the BNP Paribas Open (Indian Wells) and claimed her maiden Grand Slam title at the US Open. He also served as a Gold Member of the newly implemented WTA Coach Program, taking part in numerous tennis clinics, panel discussions and media interviews throughout the year to promote and enhance women’s tennis.
Click here to read more on the 2018 WTA Tournament, Player and Coach Awards.