Rafael Nadal - Indian Wells 2022

Rafael Nadal crowned ITF World Tennis Champion for fifth time

Rafael Nadal has been named the ITF World Tennis Champion award for the fifth time, after an incredible season that saw him win both the Australian Open and Roland Garros. 

Only Novak Djokovic and Pete Sampras, with seven and six respectively, have won the award more than Nadal who moves level with Roger Federer.

The International Tennis Federation designates a world champion based on performances throughout the year, emphasising the Grand Slam tournaments and also considering team events such as the Davis Cup and the Billie Jean King Cup.

It was originally just for men’s and women’s singles champions when the award began in 1978, but now the title is also awarded for doubles, wheelchair, and junior players.

By winning the award Rafael Nadal becomes only the second men’s player this century to be named world champion when not the world No.1, with Carlos Alcaraz currently in that position. Ironically the other time this happened was in 2013 when Djokovic won the award, despite Nadal being No.1 at the time.

“I’m very happy to be named ITF World Champion for the fifth time,” said Nadal. “When I first won the award in 2008, I would not have expected to still be playing at such a high level 14 years later. It was really special to win the Australian Open for a second time, and of course to win Roland Garros. I am really grateful for the support of my team and my fans around the world and I am already looking forward to the 2023 season.”

There was much less competition for the women’s singles award, as Iga Swiatek became the first Polish woman to be crowned world champion. Swiatek is in-fact only the second Pole to win the award in any category after Lukasz Kubot, who won the men’s doubles award in 2017.

It has been a phenomenal season for world No.1 Swiatek who has translated her WTA dominance to the Grand Slam’s, winning Roland Garros, for the second time, and the US Open.

“This was a big year for me, and such significant awards show me how far I’ve come,” said Swiatek. “I appreciate it and I want to thank the ITF. It wouldn’t have happened without my team, my family, and my fans from Poland and all over the world. Consider it our joint award for amazing adventures on court in 2022.”

The men’s doubles award went to the Brit-American duo of Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram, who culminated their Grand Slam year with a victory in Flushing Meadows.

The women’s doubles title went to a familiar holder of this award, with Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova picking up the world champion title for a second consecutive year and a third time in total. The Czech pair have won three of the four Grand Slam titles this year, adding to their already impressive trophy haul.

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.