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Iga Swiatek - Roland Garros 2022

Iga Swiatek wins player of the year at 2022 WTA Awards


World No.1 Iga Swiatek has headlined the 2022 WTA Awards, winning the prestigious player of the year gong for the first time in her career. 

Swiatek was awarded the player of the year by international tennis media who also voted for the doubles team of the year, most improved player of the year and comeback player of the year.

The now retired Ash Barty won the award last year, as Swiatek joins a reputable list with the likes of Serena Williams, Steffi Graf and Martina Navratilova, something that she has said she is honoured to do.

Swiatek, who won Newcomer of the Year in 2020, had an outstanding season in 2022, leading the way for finals reached, trophies won and matches won. The Pole won eight titles in all, including winning six events in a row and a record breaking 37-match winning streak.

Among those eight titles were two Grand Slams, at Roland Garros and the US Open. There were also four WTA 1000 titles in Doha, Indian Wells, Miami and Rome.

Her other two triumphs came at WTA 500 level, where she was victorious in Stuttgart and San Diego. Overall, Swiatek won a hugely impressive 67 matches this season, with her closest rival Ons Jabeur winning 47.

Barbora Krejcikova and doubles World No.1 Katerina Siniakova were awarded the Doubles Team of the Year for the second season in a row and third time overall.

The Czech pair won three titles in 2022, all coming at the majors, and they also reached the final at the WTA Finals in Fort Worth. Their title in New York secured them the career Grand Slam, a feat that has been achieved by only six other doubles teams.

 

The most improved player of the year is awarded to someone inside the top 100 and has showed significant improvement throughout the year. The aformentioned Krejcikova won the award last year, with Beatriz Haddad Maia taking home the award in 2022.

Haddad Maia becomes the first Brazilian woman to win a WTA Player Award since they were introduced in 1977. Her singles season took off in the grass court season, becoming the first woman to win the WTA 250 events in Nottingham and  Birmingham back-to-back, while also making the semi-finals at the WTA 500 in Eastbourne. She also broke into the top 20 for the first time following her run to the final at the WTA 1000 in Toronto, in August, and went on to post a new-career high ranking of No.15.

The newcomer of the year was always going to be a tough act to follow, with 2021 US Open champion Emma Raducanu winning the award last year. Qinwen Zheng claimed the honour this year, after rising over 100 places in the WTA rankings, sitting in the top 25 at the end of the season.

Despite not winning a WTA title yet, she has reached her first final in a WTA 500 in Tokyo, the semi-finals of the WTA 250 Melbourne Summer Set 1, the last eight at the WTA 1000 in Toronto and posted her best Grand Slam result by reaching the fourth round at Roland Garros.

The comeback player of the year is awarded to someone whose ranking previously dropped due to injury or personal reasons and has been able to regain form upon their return. That bill fits this years recipient with Tatjana Maria, who gave birth to her second child Cecilia in July 2021, enjoying a return to winning ways in 2022.

The German won only her second WTA title in Bogota, as a qualifier, and her first since 2018. She cemented her comeback with a fairytale run to the semi-finals at Wimbledon, losing out to her friend Jabeur at this stage. Had ranking points been available at SW19 Maria would be sat inside the world’s top 30, rather than just inside the top 70.

These were all the five player awards handed out this year, but there were also three player service awards handed out voted for by fellow WTA players.

Ons Jabeur received the first of those, the Karen Krantzcke Sportsmanship Award, for demonstrating conduct befitting of a professional sports figure and observing the rules of fair play, showing respect for others and being gracious on and off the court.

Gabriela Dabrowski won her third Peachy Kellmeyer Player Service Award for supporting her fellow players at all levels of the tour.

Maria Sakkari won the Jerry Diamond ACES Award, for consistently promoting the sport of women’s tennis to the fans, media and local communities. She joins the company of Angelique Kerber, Petra Kvitova and Victoria Azarenka who have all previously won this award.

The final award was for the 2022 WTA coach of the year, as voted for by WTA registered coaches. David Witt, who is the current coach of Jessica Pegula, was the recipient of this award.

This year Witt has guided Pegula up from No.18 to the third best player in the world, according to the WTA rankings. The American has enjoyed the best season of her career, winning her first WTA1000 singles title in Guadalajara as well as five doubles titles, enabling her to reach the WTA finals in both singles and doubles.

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