Federer Hauls in Record Four Awards for 20
Miami, Florida, U.S.A.— World No. 1 Roger Federer collected a record four awards for his outstanding performance last season as the 2006 ATP Award Winners were announced here on Monday.
A web vignette of all winners is available on ATPtennis.com at 3 p.m. EST Monday. Each winner received their Waterford Crystal award on-site during the Sony Ericsson Open.
Off court, Federer earned the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year Award. The Roger Federer Foundation has been supporting children in South Africa since 2004, providing school and housing assistance and two meals a day for 30 children in the impoverished township of New Brighton, near Port Elizabeth. Federer is also a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador and late last year visited tsunami survivors in southern India on the two-year anniversary of the south Asia tsunami that claimed more than 200,000 lives.
The Swiss finished No. 1 for the third straight year, highlighted by an ATP-best 12 titles (most in a season since Thomas Muster in 1995). Federer's haul included three Grand Slam crowns for the second time in three years and four ATP Masters Series shields for the second straight season. He became the first player in the Open Era (since 196 to win at least 10 titles for three consecutive years and became only the fifth player since 1973 to end the year at No. 1 for at least three consecutive years. He was the first player to reach all four Grand Slam finals in a year since Rod Laver in 1969. Federer competed in 16 finals in 17 tournaments played and won a career-high 92 matches. He became the first player in history to surpass $8 million in a season. He won his third Tennis Masters Cup title.
For the third straight year, Federer was named ATP Player of the Year and he was voted by his peers as the recipient of the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award, presented by Stanford, for the third consecutive season. Just two others players - Edberg (1988-90) and Patrick Rafter (1999-2001) - have won the award three consecutive years. (Edberg also won the award in 1992 and '95; Rafter won the first of his four awards in 1997). For the fourth consecutive year Federer also won the ATPtennis.com Fans' Favorite Award presented by Ricoh.
Bob and Mike Bryan finished as the No. 1 team in the Stanford ATP Doubles Race and are the ATP Doubles Team of the Year presented by Stanford for the third time in four seasons, winning 66 matches and an ATP-high and personal-best seven titles in 10 finals. The Bryans claimed at least five titles for a fifth consecutive year. They won the Australian Open and then completed a career Grand Slam by winning Wimbledon (in their seventh consecutive Grand Slam final appearance). They went on a 21-match win streak beginning at Wimbledon until reaching the Cincinnati final, taking in titles at Wimbledon, Los Angeles, Washington and Toronto. The Bryans were also winners of the ATPtennis.com Fans' Favorite Doubles Award.
Serbian teenager Novak Djokovic, who climbed from 83 to No. 16 in the ATP Rankings and was the youngest player in the year-end Top 20, was voted ATP Most Improved Player of the Year. He compiled his best season by capturing two ATP titles (Amersfoort, Metz) in three finals and also made a breakthrough in Grand Slam play with a quarterfinal showing at Roland Garros. Djokovic led the ATP circuit with a 19-5 tie-break record.
For the second time in three years a German was named ATP Newcomer of the Year. Benjamin Becker, in his first season at the ATP level, made the biggest jump of any player in the Top 100 from the previous year, climbing 419 ranking positions to end the year at No. 58. The 25-year-old won nine ATP-level matches (despite not making his debut until Halle in June). In his second Grand Slam appearance he reached the fourth round of the US Open, ending Andre Agassi's career in the third round. German Florian Mayer earned the honor two years ago.
American Mardy Fish earned ATP Comeback Player of the Year after undergoing two left wrist operations in 2005, which saw his ranking drop to as low as No. 341 in February 2006 before climbing up the ATP Rankings to finish in the Top 50 at No. 47. Fish finished with a 22-18 record at ATP level - which included his second ATP title in Houston - and also won Challenger titles in Tallahassee and Surbiton.
For the fifth consecutive time, the Sony Ericsson Open was named the ATP Masters Series tournament of the year, while the Dubai Tennis Championships was voted the best International Series Gold Tournament for the fourth straight year. The Catella Swedish Open in Bastad shared or earned top billing for the fifth consecutive season as the best International Series tournaments, as voted by players.
The ATP’s Ron Bookman Media Excellence Award was presented to long-time British TV commentator and journalist John Barrett, who has written and broadcast tennis over 40 years. Barrett was part of BBC's Wimbledon team since 1971 until retiring after last year's Championships.
2006 ATP Awards Winners
Player of the Year: Roger Federer
Doubles Team of the Year presented by Stanford: Bob and Mike Bryan
Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship presented by Stanford: Roger Federer
Most Improved Player of the Year: Novak Djokovic
Newcomer of the Year: Benjamin Becker
Comeback Player of the Year: Mardy Fish
Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year: Roger Federer
ATPtennis.com Fans' Favorite Player presented by Ricoh: Roger Federer
ATPtennis.com Fans' Favorite Doubles Team: Bob and Mike Bryan
ATP Masters Series Tourn. of the Year: Sony Ericsson Open - Miami
ATP International Series Gold Tourn. of the Year: Dubai Tennis Championships - Dubai
ATP International Series Tourn. of the Year: Catella Swedish Open - Bastad
Ron Bookman Media Excellence: John Barrett [I agree on this one, too. Always enjoyed his commentary.]