Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Bay Area product named ATP Comeback Player of Year

Mackenzie McDonald, playing in Indian Wells in October, rebounded from
hamstring surgery to reach a career-high No. 54. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Mackenzie McDonald, who was born in Berkeley, Calif., and grew up in adjacent Piedmont, was named the ATP Comeback Player of the Year today.
   McDonald, now based in Orlando, Fla., underwent right hamstring surgery in June 2019 and fell as low as No. 272 in March 2020. This year, he reached the round of 16 in the Australian Open, advanced to his first ATP Tour final in Washington, D.C., and climbed to a career-high No. 54 on Nov. 1. The 5-foot-10 (1.78-meter), 160-pound (73-kilogram) veteran currently is No. 55.
   "It's extremely rewarding," the 26-year-old McDonald, who also reached the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2018, said on atptour.com. "For me, it's a massive accomplishment, honestly. At the end of the year, I was hoping I was going to be nominated. I got that, and then actually winning it is really cool for me.
   "It was a really big comeback, and I feel like I put in all the hard work. When I was going through the rehab process, I did everything I possibly could to get myself back."
   Players selected McDonald over Andy Murray (2019 hip surgery), Thanasi Kokkinakis (2020 right shoulder injury) and Jack Sock (2019 thumb surgery).
   Kokkinakis, who has been plagued by injuries throughout his career, won Aptos in 2018 and advanced to the 2019 Tiburon final in Northern California Challengers.
   Marcus Daniell of New Zealand was named the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year. Daniell, a doubles bronze medalist with countryman Michael Venus in the Tokyo Olympics, donates at least 10 percent of his earnings to charity.
   In November 2020, Daniell founded High Impact Athletes, which connects athletes and the general public with the most effective charities in the world.
   The ATP will announce the Newcomer of the Year this week. Nominees include Jenson Brooksby, 21, of Carmichael, Calif., in the Sacramento area. Like McDonald, Brooksby soared to the top 60, reached his first ATP final and advanced to the round of 16 in a Grand Slam tournament.
   Juniors — Kristina Penickova of Campbell in the San Francisco Bay Area is seeded second in the girls 12s in the singles-only Junior Orange Bowl, which begins Wednesday in Key Biscayne, Fla., and Coral Gables, Fla. Penickova won the Eddie Herr International Championships in Bradenton, Fla., two weeks ago.

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