Zootennis

Monday, December 21, 2020

Alcaraz, Tiafoe Claim 2020 ATP Awards; Donaldson Talks Development, Eyes Life After Tennis; ITA Winter Circuit Champions

Carlos Alcaraz is the 2020 ATP Newcomer of the Year

With the ITF World Tennis Junior Tour done for the year, there won't be much in the way of results to report over the next few weeks, but the year-end recaps are still being written and awards are being given for the bizarre year of 2020.

The ATP announced its award winners today, and although Djokovic, Nadal and Federer were among the regular recipients, there were a few that veered from the usual.  Seventeen-year-old Carlos Alcaraz of Spain was voted by his fellow ATP professionals as the Newcomer of the Year, after improving his ATP ranking from 491 to 136 this year despite fewer opportunities to compete due to the pandemic.  Andrey Rublev of Russia was named Most Improved by his fellow players, after rising from 23 to 8 in the ATP rankings, and his coach, Fernando Vincente was named Coach of the Year. 

Frances Tiafoe received the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award, awarded by the ATP, for his charitable work for Covid-19 relief and his advocacy for social justice.

For the complete list of the 2020 ATP Award recipients, see this article from the ATP website

The ITA Tour Winter Circuit by UTR has concluded, with the three-week session featuring 11 events ending this weekend. Below are the champions:

Week 1:

Newport Beach: Men, Eric Hadigian; Women, Kayla Day

Lawrenceville: Men, Kweisi Kenyatte; Women, Mackenzie White

Week 2:

Lawrenceville: Men, Jake Beasley; Women, Abigail Solomon

San Diego: Men, August Holmgren; Women, Maxine Murphy

Chatham: Men, Ryan Goetz; Women, Sophia Zaslow

Lexington: Men, Matthew DeGroot

West Palm Beach: Men, Jorge Santamaria

Houston: Men, Kenner Taylor; Women, Maria Kononova

Week 3:

Houston: Women, Rhiann Newborn

Chatham: Men, Michael Zheng; Women, Leila Epstein

Waco: Men, Charles Broom; Women, Hailey Zhang

Mike Cation and Noah Rubin spoke recently with Jared Donaldson about his absence from the ATP Tour on their Behind The Racquet podcast, giving his account of the knee injury and two surgeries that have kept him from competing for most of 2019 and all of 2020.  When I interviewed the now 24-year-old Donaldson during his junior career, I was always struck by how introspective and analytical he was, and after more years maturing and learning, with time away from the grind of professional competition, he is even more so in this conversation. Donaldson talks about his development plan, his status as "third string" in juniors when compared to Stefan Kozlov and Rubin, his run to the 2013 Kalamazoo 18s final; his hope to return to tennis, but why realistically he needs to prepare for his future beyond the game, what he likes and doesn't like about the sport, poker, his medical setbacks, the perils of early pro success and many other topics.  Very few players are so candid, and so engaging, when discussing their relationship to the sport. 

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