Swiatek wins WTA Player of Year; Pegula’s coach Witt honored

Dec 11, 2022, 6:15 PM | Updated: Dec 12, 2022, 8:16 am
FILE - Iga Swiatek of Poland reacts to scoring a point during the first set against Coco Gauff of t...

FILE - Iga Swiatek of Poland reacts to scoring a point during the first set against Coco Gauff of the United States during round-robin play on day six of the WTA Finals tennis tournament in Fort Worth, Texas, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022. No. 1. Iga Swiatek finished the year with a substantial lead in the final WTA rankings, which were released last month. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

(AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

Iga Swiatek was honored as WTA Player of the Year for the first time on Monday after rising to No. 1 in the rankings in April and remaining there for the rest of the season thanks in part to two Grand Slam titles.

Swiatek, a 21-year-old from Poland who was the WTA Newcomer of the Year in 2020, led the tour with 67 match wins and eight titles. That included a run of six trophies in a row during a 37-match winning streak that lasted from February to July and was the longest undefeated stretch in women’s tennis in a quarter of a century.

“I felt like everything clicked this season,” Swiatek said in a video interview with The Associated Press during her unbeaten streak. “And I wasn’t expecting to be that consistent.”

She ascended to the top of the rankings after Ash Barty suddenly retired at age 25 and relinquished that spot. Swiatek later won her second major championship at the French Open in June, then claimed the U.S. Open title in September, making her the first woman with two Slam trophies in one season since Angelique Kerber in 2016.

The WTA Coach of the Year award went to David Witt. He works with Jessica Pegula, a 28-year-old American who rose to a career-best No. 3 in the rankings during 2022 and was a quarterfinalist at three Grand Slam tournaments — losing to Barty or Swiatek each time.

Pegula also won the Guadalajara Open, made it to her first WTA 1000 final at the Madrid Open and qualified for the WTA Finals in singles and doubles (with Coco Gauff).

Witt’s honor was voted on by other registered coaches. Player awards determined by a vote of international media members included:

— Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic were the WTA Doubles Team of the Year for the second consecutive season and third time overall after winning the Australian Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open;

— Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil was the WTA Most Improved Player of the Year after rising from No. 80 to No. 15 in the rankings and winning her first two tour-level titles;

— Zheng Qinwen of China, who turned 20 in October, was the WTA Newcomer of the Year after rising more than 100 places in the rankings and reaching the fourth round in her French Open debut before bowing out against Swiatek;

— Tatjana Maria of Germany was the WTA Comeback Player of the Year after getting to her first career Grand Slam semifinal at Wimbledon at age 34, making her the oldest woman to make her debut at a major tournament. She twice took time away from the tour to have children.

Ons Jabeur received the Karen Krantzcke Sportsmanship Award, Gabriela Dabrowski collected the Peachy Kellmeyer Player Service Award for a third time and Maria Sakkari won the Jerry Diamond ACES Award for helping promote the sport via off-court activities.

___

AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) drives as Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley (11) defends during the f...
Associated Press

Young scores 27 to lead Hawks past Jazz, 115-108

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Trae Young had 27 points and six assists to lead the Atlanta Hawks to a 115-108 victory over the Utah Jazz on Friday night. De’Andre Hunter scored 26 points for the Hawks. Onyeka Okongwu had 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Dejounte Murray added 13 points and eight assists. Atlanta […]
1 day ago
Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (23) shoots a three point basket as Houston Rockets forward Jae...
Associated Press

VanVleet has 32 as Raptors get 117-111 win over Rockets

HOUSTON (AP) — Fred VanVleet scored 32 points, Gary Trent Jr. added 29 and the Toronto Raptors snapped a two-game skid with a 117-111 win over the Houston Rockets on Friday night. The Raptors took a commanding lead in the third quarter and were up by double-digits for most of the fourth. But five straight […]
1 day ago
Portland Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons (1) shoots against Washington Wizards guard Monte Morr...
Associated Press

Blazers rally from 20 down to end Wizards’ win streak

WASHINGTON (AP) — Anfernee Simons scored 20 of his 33 points in the third quarter and the Portland Trail Blazers erased a 20-point deficit, snapping Washington’s six-game winning streak Friday night with a 124-116 victory over the Wizards. Simons made six of Portland’s nine 3-pointers in the third, and the Trail Blazers finally caught and […]
1 day ago
Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) is fouled as he drives to the basket against San Antonio...
Associated Press

Embiid’s double-double keys 76ers as Spurs drop 8th straight

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Joel Embiid had 33 points and 10 rebounds and the Philadelphia 76ers beat San Antonio 137-125 on Friday night, sending the scuffling Spurs to their eighth straight loss. Tyrese Maxey had 25 points and James Harden added 16 for Philadelphia, which has the third-best record in the Eastern Conference. “Tonight was […]
1 day ago
A scrum breaks out between Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando Magic players during the second half ...
Associated Press

Fight between Magic, Timberwolves leads to 5 players ejected

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A fight broke out and punches were thrown during the game between the Orlando Magic and Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night. Five players were ejected following the brawl, which started in front of the Orlando bench late in the third quarter. Minnesota guard Austin Rivers and Magic center Mo Bamba were the […]
1 day ago
Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin (8) stands on the ice during the NHL All Star Skills Showcase, F...
Associated Press

NHL takes skills showcase outside, McDavid shines inside

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Sidney Crosby got dunked into a tank of water, Nick Suzuki holed a golf ball with a hockey stick and the NHL made hockey an outdoor sport for its skills showcase in South Florida. Two new events outside in the sun highlighted the league’s annual skills competition at All-Star Weekend, with […]
1 day ago
Swiatek wins WTA Player of Year; Pegula’s coach Witt honored