ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA, USA – The WTA, Women’s Tennis Association, announced the winners of the 2010 annual Player Awards. Ten players were honored by the fans and the media for their outstanding achievements both on and off the court during the 2010 season.
Kim Clijsters was voted the WTA’s 2010 Player of the Year for the second time in her career, having first earned the accolade in 2005. Just one year since making a comeback to the sport after a two-year hiatus, the 27-year-old Belgian had a terrific 2010 season, highlighted by winning her third US Open title and reaching her “second-career” highest ranking of World No.3 on August 23, 2010. In 2010, Clijsters won five tournaments including the year-end WTA Championships (Doha), the Brisbane International (Brisbane), the Sony Ericsson Open (Miami), and the Western & Southern Financial Group Women’s Open (Cincinnati), in addition to defending her title at the US Open. Previous recipients of the Player of the Year award include such greats as Steffi Graf, Martina Navratilova, Serena Williams, Justine Henin, Maria Sharapova, Venus Williams, Lindsay Davenport and Martina Hingis, among others.
For her off the court achievements, Clijsters was also honored with the Player Service Award which recognizes the player who has done the most to support her fellow players through the WTA Players’ Council or other initiatives. “It’s really nice to win the Player of the Year award just one year after making a comeback and while I didn’t think it would come so quickly, I am thrilled with the news,” said Clijsters. “To be honored by your fellow players with the Player Service award means so much to me because I believe that the social contact with the rest of the players is very important. This year I met a lot of new girls and it was very nice that so many of them had positive reactions to my daughter Jada as well. I want to thank my fellow players and the media who voted for me and I look forward to seeing everyone again in Australia.”
The World No.1 doubles team of Flavia Pennetta and Gisela Dulko earned their first award for Doubles Team of the Year. While the competition in doubles was fierce during the 2010 WTA season, the Pennetta/Dulko duo topped the world rankings and won seven titles, highlighted by the WTA Championships in Doha.
Earlier in the season, they compiled a 17-match winning streak – the longest on Tour since March 2007
– which garnered three consecutive Premier-level titles at the Sony Ericsson Open (Miami), the Internazionali BNL d’Italia (Rome), and the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix (Stuttgart). The duo won three more titles later in the year – the Rogers Cup (Montreal), the Collector Swedish Open (Bastad) and the Kremlin Cup (Moscow) – and recorded strong Grand Slam results.
Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova won the Newcomer of the Year award after a breakthrough season that culminated with a semifinals birth at Wimbledon, having previously never won a match on grass. After her success at Wimbledon, Kvitova broke into the Top 30.
Comeback Player of the Year honors went to Belgium’s Justine Henin who made a successful return to the WTA in January after a break that lasted nearly two years. At the Brisbane International – her first tournament back – Henin reached the final, falling to Clijsters in the third set tiebreak after holding match points. She also reached the final of the Australian Open, her first major since 2008. Henin’s fourth round loss at Roland Garros (Stosur) ended a 24-match winning streak in Paris.
Elena Dementieva, who announced her retirement from the sport at the WTA Championships earlier this month, was honored with the Karen Krantzcke Sportsmanship Award for the second time in her career, which acknowledges a player’s conduct, attitude and sense of fair play.
The Humanitarian of the Year award went to Maria Sharapova for her role as a United Nations’ Goodwill Ambassador. In 2010, Maria visited the Chernobyl region and spent time with children affected by the disaster while pledging $250,000 to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Additionally, Sharapova won several fan awards including Favorite Singles Player of the Year and the Most Fashionable Player.
WTA players voted on their favorite tournaments and chose the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix (Stuttgart) as their favorite Premier event and the PTT Pattaya Open as their favorite International event.
The winners of the annual player awards for Player of the Year, Doubles Team of the Year, Most Improved Player of the Year and Comeback Player of the Year are determined by the global tennis media, with WTA players themselves selecting Tournaments of the Year, Sportsmanship and Player Service award.
For a complete listing of the 2010 WTA Player Awards, please visit