Vithun Illankovan’s 2020 Tennis Awards

Bob & Mike Bryan, winners of Vithun Illankovan's 2020 Lifetime Tennis Achievement Award

The 2020 Tennis season had a lot of iconic performances! Therefore, I have decided to give a shout out to those who I feel most deserve them for their play on tour this year. So without further a do, here are my winners:

2020 Tennis Awards

Men’s Singles Player – Dominic Thiem

Thiem was the only singles player (male or female) to reach the quarterfinals or better at all three Grand Slams this year. After finishing runner-up at the Australian Open, he won the US Open and then reached the quarterfinals at the French Open. In addition, he also finished runner-up at the last edition of the ATP Finals to be held in London.

Women’s Singles Player – Sofia Kenin

Kenin was the only WTA player to reach more than one Grand Slam semifinal this season, winning the Australian Open and finishing runner-up at the French Open. She also won another title in 2020 at the Lyon Open.

Doubles Team – Kristina Mladenovic & Timea Babos

The pair were the only team to win two Grand Slams in 2020, claiming victory at both the Australian Open and French Open. In fact they were unbeaten in Grand Slam competition, after their US Open run only ended prematurely when being forced to withdraw as Mladenovic had come in close contact with someone who tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

Lifetime Achievement – Bob Bryan & Mike Bryan

Whilst there were several big retirements this year, including those of former world #1s Maria Sharapova and Caroline Wozniacki, this award has been clinched by the Bryan Brothers because their success on the tour in doubles is unlikely to be matched anytime soon. As a team they won 16 Grand Slams, four ATP Finals and an Olympic Gold medal – congratulations on an outstanding career!

Coach – Nicolas Massu

From taking his player Dominic Thiem from a clay-court specialist to a hard-court Grand Slam champion, as well as inspiring Thiem to participate in the Olympics next year, Massu displayed both technical and mental coaching prowess in 2020.

Comeback Player – Tsvetana Pironkova

The Bulgarian made an unexpectedly successful return to the WTA tour having been inactive since 2017 due to shoulder injuries and pregnancy, reaching the quarterfinals of the US Open in her first tournament back. She also reached the 3rd round of the French Open.

Young Player – Iga Swiatek

The teenager made a dominant run to the French Open title, without dropping a set and beating two Top 5 players en route including top seed, former champion and tournament favourite Simona Halep. With this Grand Slam victory, she became the first player born in the 21st century to win a Grand Slam singles title. Aged just 19 with a superb forehand, Swiatek is likely to be one to watch in women’s tennis for many years to come.

Most Underrated – Aryna Sabalenka 

Winning three singles titles and one doubles title in 2020, finishing the season #10 in singles and #5 in doubles, Sabalenka proved that she is very much an all-rounder and not someone to be slept on.  She has yet to bring her peak game to the Singles Grand Slams but if she starts doing so in 2021, the other WTA stars should watch out!

Moment  – Dominic Thiem winning US Open

One of the most dramatic Grand Slams finals ever ended with a deserving winner. Having lost his first three Grand Slam finals, it was fourth time lucky for Thiem as he won the US Open on a final-set tiebreak against his good friend Alexander Zverev.

Who do you think deserves an award for their 2020 performances? Let me know in the comments!

Main photo:
Embed from Getty Images

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