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Coco Gauff hits backhand at Australian Open 2020

tennishead awards ‘The Women’: We salute the standout female athletes from 2019 including Coco Gauff


The 2020 season will look very different to any other season even after the world has recovered from the devastation of the coronavirus. Right now we can just look back at fonder times from 2019 when tennis once again proved to be a sport that can deliver the most memorable performances from outstanding athletes, just like Coco Gauff.

 

Here, tennishead honours the standout female players and performances from the 2019 tennis season.

 

Ashleigh Barty Australian Open

 

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Ashleigh Barty

In a memorable year for the younger generation, Ashleigh Barty enjoyed great success at the highest level. The 23-year-old Australian won her first Grand Slam title in Paris, finished the year on top of the world-rankings and claimed the biggest cheque in tennis history by winning the year-end Shiseido WTA Finals.

 

COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Belinda Bencic

For one so young, 22-year-old Belinda Bencic seems to have been playing top-level tennis for a long time. Until this year, however, injuries regularly halted her progress. Having started 2019 ranked No 37 in the world, she ended it at No 8 and secured the last place at the year-end Shiseido WTA Finals, where she made the semi-finals.

 

Coco Gauff and Naomi Osaka at Australian Open

 

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR

Coco Gauff

After becoming the youngest player to come through the qualifying tournament at Wimbledon, 15-year-old Coco Gauff beat Venus Williams on her debut in the main draw at the All England Club and went on to make the fourth round. In October she won her first tour-level title, beating Jelena Ostapenko in the final in Linz.

 

Bianca Andreescu on comeback trail

 

MOST IMPROVED PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Bianca Andreescu

Bianca Andreescu had to qualify to play in her first tournament of the year in Auckland, but went on to beat four top 20 players to win the title in Indian Wells and triumphed at the US Open, where she beat Serena Williams in the final. World No 178 at the end of last year, the 19-year-old Canadian finished 2019 as world No 5.

 

DOUBLES TEAM OF THE YEAR

Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka

Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka, who are both top 20 singles players, won the doubles titles at Indian Wells, Miami and Flushing Meadows in their first year together. They also made the semi-finals at the French Open and the quarter-finals at Wimbledon.

 

WHEELCHAIR PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Diede de Groot

Diede de Groot would have claimed a clean sweep of the four Grand Slam singles titles but for her defeat by her doubles partner, Aniek van Koot, in the final at Wimbledon. De Groot, a 22-year-old Dutchwoman, has won five of the last six Grand Slam singles titles.

 

COACH OF THE YEAR

Craig Tyzzer

Ever since Ashleigh Barty returned to tennis after an 18-month break in 2016 she has been coached by Craig Tyzzer. Under the guidance of her fellow Australian, Barty has taken everything in her stride during her remarkable sequence of success in 2019.

 

Naomi Osaka Australian Open 2019

 

MATCH OF THE YEAR

Australian Open final

Naomi Osaka won her second successive Grand Slam title when she beat Petra Kvitova 7-6 5-7 6-4 in a pulsating final in Rod Laver Arena. Kvitova, in her first Grand Slam final since 2014, saved three match points in the second set and a fourth in the decider.

 

SHOT OF THE YEAR

Karolina Pliskova at the US Open

Johanna Konta appeared in control when she hit a fierce forehand cross-court, pushing Karolina Pliskova out wide to her forehand. As Konta closed in on the net, Pliskova stretched to slice an exquisite forehand across court and beyond her opponent’s reach.

 


Coco Gauff hits backhand at Australian Open 2020
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