London | Barty, Swiatek, Goolagong Cawley, Sue Barker and the LTA honoured

It is the season of awards and, so far, Ash Barty has received Australia’s Don Award as well as the John Newcombe Medal, Iga Swiatek has been named WTA Player of the Year, Evonne Goolagong Cawley presented with the Spirit of Tennis award, Sue Barker honored with a British Tennis Journalists Association (BTJA) award for services to tennis, and the LTA picked up the silver prize for its ‘She Rallies’ initiative at the ITF Advantage All awards.

I stood here very proudly knowing that I absolutely fulfilled every ounce that I could to this beautiful sport that brought me so much more than I could have ever dreamed. It’s obviously an amazing way to cap off what has been an incredible journey. Ash Barty

Barty becomes only the third athlete to claim the Don Award, named after his most accomplished and famous cricketer Sir Don Bradman and considered the highest honor in Australian sport, multiple times.

“I am so honored to win The Don Award, one of the most special acknowledgments in Australian sport,” said Barty.

The Sport Australia Hall of Fame’s Don Award is given to an athlete or a team ‘which has provided the most inspiration to the country through performance and example in the past year’.

Barty, who also won the award in 2019, joins Olympic gold medal-winning hurdler Sally Pearson (2012, 2014) and Olympic champion pole vaulter Steve Hooker (2008, 2009) as a multiple winner of the award.

The 26-year old retired in March, ranked World No 1, and later revealed that she had made the decision ahead of the Australian Open that it would be her last major tournament.

“This year was certainly my most enjoyable Australian Open, because it felt free,” Barty said in a television interview on the Seven Networks special ‘Sport Australia Hall of Fame: Heroes and Legends’. “I played without consequence, I played like a little kid.

“In my eyes, there was no pressure. It was just about me trying to redeem myself, in a way, and playing how I’d always wanted to play — go out there and play like the kid that fell in love with sport.

“In my mind there was never going to be a perfect ending, but it was my perfect ending.

Barty, who married her long-time partner Garry Kissick in late July and now plays golf frequently, remains one of Australia’s favorite personalities and was the most googled Australian figure in 2022.

Evonne Goolagong Cawley received her Spirit of Tennis award from Ash Barty during the 2022 Newcombe Medal at Crown Entertainment Complex in Melbourne

© Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

Now Barty has also claimed a record fifth consecutive Newcombe Medal victory, but not without controversy after Nick Kyrgios posted that he had ‘no respect at all’ after missing out on the honor.

“This has obviously been a very big year in my career and in my life,” said Barty, who won the Australian Open title in January. “We’ve had exceptional change, we’ve had an amazing year of celebrating a journey of not only myself, but my team, and there is so much to be proud of.

“I stand here very proudly knowing that I absolutely fulfilled every ounce that I could to this beautiful sport that brought me so much more than I could have ever dreamed.

“It’s obviously an amazing way to cap off what has been an incredible journey.

“The journey of a lifetime, the journey of me chasing after my dreams and exploring what was possible out in the world.”

Despite retiring in March, Barty managed to outpoint Kyrgios and Ajla Tomljanović to claim Australian tennis’ top individual honor.

Kyrgios, who made the final at Wimbledon and won an Australian Open men’s doubles title alongside Thanasi Kokkinakis, posted on Instagram: “No respect at all. I don’t give af***.”

He then posted a graphic comparing his and Barty’s tournament victories, which Kyrgios leads 4-3, and match wins, 61-14 this season.

Barty has shared the honor twice, but has now won her third outright medal.

Kyrgios, Ajla Tomljanovic (after reaching the quarters at three Grand Slams), Alex de Minaur, Wimbledon doubles champions Matt Ebden & Max Purcell, and Billie Jean King Cup standout Storm Hunter (née Sanders) were the other nominees.

Earlier in the evening, Australian tennis great Evonne Goolagong Cawley was awarded the Spirit of Tennis Award, presented by Barty, for her work with the Evonne Goolagong Foundation.

Established in 2005, the foundation’s mission is to improve health and educational outcomes for young indigenous people, using tennis as a vehicle.

“I just wanted to say how proud I am to be here tonight,” Goolagong Cawley said. “And getting this award was a real surprise, I must admit, and from someone who I just absolutely adore.”

It came 11 months after Goolagong Cawley surprised Barty by presenting her with the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup for her Australian Open triumph.

Iga Swiatek won the WTA Player of the Year award from among an impressive list of nominees / WTAtennis.com

While Barty was winning Australia’s top tennis award, her replacement as World No 1 snapped up the WTA Player of the Year gong.

21-year year old Swiatek rose to the top of the rankings in April after Barty’s sudden retirement and has remained at the summit for the rest of the year, thanks, in part, to winning the titles at the French Open and US Open.

Swiatek, the WTA Newcomer of the Year only two years ago, led the tour with 67 match wins and 8 titles.

The WTA also announced further awards for 2022, including Barbora Krejcikova & Katerina Siniakova as the Doubles Team of the Year, Beatriz Haddad Maia as Most Improved Player of the Year, Zheng Qinwen as Newcomer of the Year, and Tatjana Maria as Comeback Player of the Year.

Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur won the Karen Krantzcke Sportsmanship Award for the first time in her career, voted by her athlete peers for demonstrating conduct befitting of a professional sports figure and observing the rules of fair play, showing respect for others and being gracious on and off the court.

Introduced in 1978, previous award winners include Petra Kvitova, Ana Ivanovic, Lindsay Davenport, Chris Evert and Goolagong Cawley.

The Peachy Kellmeyer Player Service Award went to Gabriela Dabrowski for a third time following her support to fellow players at all levels of the tour as well as to wider WTA initiatives.

Previous recipients include Venus Williams, Kim Clijsters and Pam Shriver.

Named after former WTA CEO Jerry Diamond, the ACES Award this year recognizes Greece’s Maria Sakkari, who in 2022 consistently went above and beyond to promote the sport of women’s tennis to fans, media and local communities by performing off-court promotional activities.

This honor, introduced in 1995, has previously been won by Angelique Kerber, Elina Svitolina and Kiki Bertens.

The Coach of the Year, as voted on by WTA registered coaches, went to David Witt, the current coach of Jessica Pegula, in recognition of his player’s success on the court this season and for serving as a great ambassador for the sport and bringing coaching to the forefront of the game.

Under his guidance, Pegula, who started the year at No 18, enjoyed her best season in 2022, peaking in the rankings at No 3.

Sue Barker, who retired this summer as a BBC Presenter, has received a special BTJA award for services to British tennis

© Julian Finney/Getty Images

Meanwhile, on home shores, Sue Barker was honored with a special British tennis award after her emotional Wimbledon farewell when she stepped down as the BBC’s host of The Championships this year.

“I had a wonderful Wimbledon this year, and those tributes will live with me forever, but so will this award,” Barker said. “It means so much to get it from people like you, who I respect so much, and I hope that our paths will cross around the grounds somewhere next year.”

The BTJA award for services to tennis was made in recognition of her long career and a near 30-year spell as the BBC’s host of their Wimbledon coverage.

Barker fronted the BBC’s coverage of Wimbledon since 1993 after a successful tennis career which saw her reach a high of World No 3 in 1977, winning 15 titles including the French Open in 1976.

Sue admits she took some persuasion to take up such a high profile role.

“I was introduced to David Hill, the boss of BSkyB, and he said he wanted me to be a presenter. I said there aren’t many women presenting sport, or former athletes – I think there was only Bob Wilson doing it.

“But he believed in me, and a few years later encouraged me to go to the BBC where I enjoyed 30 glorious years.”

It is not yet clear who will take over from Barker next year, but Clare Balding is the strong favorite having been a BBC stalwart since joining the corporation back in 1994 and presenting the ‘Today at Wimbledon’ highlights show since 2015.

LTA President David Rawlinson and Caroline Lepetit, LTA Head of Customer Engagement, receive the silver ITF Advantage All prize from ITF President David Haggerty

Credit: Paul Zimmer/ITF

The LTA has also been recognized with a silver award for its ‘She Rallies’ initiative at the ITF Advantage All Awards that promotes and improves gender equality in tennis.

The organization was one of three national governing bodies to be recognized at the ITF’s AGM in Glasgow.

Advantage All is the international governing body of tennis’ gender equality program and the LTA is one of the ITF’s 210 member national associations invited to submit entries highlighting the work in their nation to promote and progress lasting change towards gender balance and equal opportunity.

Tennis Ireland was awarded the Gold prize, while Tennis Australia received the Bronze.

“The LTA has had a long standing commitment to gender equality in our sport and ‘She Rallies’ has brought all our efforts and plans together, maximizing the impact we can have in the areas we can make the most significant changes,” LTA President, David Rawlinson said. “We’re very encouraged by the progress made so far and it’s extremely satisfying to receive international recognition of this.

“This award provides us with a springboard into 2023 as the hard work continues.”

ITF President, Dave Haggerty said: “Advantage All is a long-term project, and we salute all national tennis associations who have made even small steps to achieving an equitable gender balance both on and off the court.

“I have said from the outset, this is a collective obligation, not an option.

“We are tracking progress towards the goals we have set for the Advantage All Program and through our sport we can see the signs that we are making differences in our sport and, through our sport, in society.”

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