Friday, December 20, 2019

Murray voted ATP Comeback Player of Year

Andy Murray rebounded from his second hip operation to win
a doubles title in his first tournament back and a singles crown
in October. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Andy Murray, who won the first two of his 46 tour-level singles titles in San Jose, Calif., was voted by fellow players as the ATP Comeback Player of the Year.
   Other award winners announced Thursday were Rafael Nadal (year-end No. 1 singles player), Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah (year-end No. 1 doubles team), Matteo Berrettini (Most Improved Player) and Jannik Sinner (Newcomer of the Year).
   Murray announced on Jan. 10 that he would retire after Wimbledon at the latest because of chronic hip pain. He had surgery on his right hip for the second time on Jan. 28 but returned to the tour in doubles in June, one month after his 32nd birthday.
   In Murray's first tournament back, he won the doubles title with Feliciano Lopez in the Fever-Tree Championships in London. Murray also won the singles crown in the European Open in Antwerp in October.
   Murray went 10-0 in singles the now-defunct SAP Open in San Jose, winning the crown in 2006 at 18 years old and the following year. He also won the Challenger in Aptos, Calif., a 45-minute drive south of San Jose, in 2005 at 18.
   Nadal, 33, became the oldest player to finish as the year-end No. 1 in the history of the ATP rankings. He took home four singles trophies this year, including his 12th in the French Open and fourth in the U.S. Open.
   With his Roland Garros crown, Nadal broke Margaret Court's record of 11 Australian Open singles titles, seven of which came when only amateurs were allowed to play.
   By winning the U.S. Open, Nadal pulled within one of Roger Federer's record of 20 Grand Slam men's singles titles.
   Cabal, 33, and Farah, 32, of Colombia won their first two Grand Slam titles at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. They became the second all-South American team to finish as the year-end No. 1 doubles team, following Hans Gildemeister of Chile and Andres Gomez of Ecuador in 1986.
   Farah reached the singles final in the 2012 Aptos Challenger, losing to former USC teammate Steve Johnson.
   Berrettini, a 23-year-old Italian, climbed from No. 54 to No. 8 in the 2018 and 2019 year-end rankings, respectively. He advanced to his first Grand Slam semifinal in the U.S. Open.
   Berrettini's countryman, 18-year-old Sinner, skyrocketed from No. 763 at the end of 2018 to No. 78 currently. He is the youngest player in the year-end top 80 since Nadal finished No. 47 at age 17 in 2003.
   Sinner lost in the second round of the $81,240 Aptos Challenger in August the week after winning the $54,160 Lexington (Ky.) Challenger.


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