Spaniards Rafael Nadal and Garbine Muguruza have been named as the International Tennis Federation (ITF) 2017 world champions in what is the first time in 19 years that the awards have gone to players of the same nationality.
I am very happy to receive this award from the ITF and be the 2017 ITF World Champion. It is four years since I last finished No 1 on the ATP rankings and this has a special feeling. Congrats also to Garbine on her achievement which is great for our country. Rafa Nadal
Nadal, who claimed the honour for the third time having made a sensational comeback from an injury-plagued 2016 by winning a 10th French Open title and the U.S. Open to take his grand slam haul to 16 – three behind his main and long-time rival Roger Federer who also wicked up two of the year’s majors after returning from injury.
The 31-year-old Mallorcan ended the year as world number one, although he pulled out of the season-ending ATP Finals after his first match in London due to a knee injury.
“I am very happy to receive this award from the ITF and be the 2017 ITF World Champion,” Nadal said. “It is four years since I last finished No 1 on the ATP rankings and this has a special feeling.
“Congrats also to Garbine on her achievement which is great for our country.
“Many thanks to my team and my fans, and a special thank you to my uncle Toni for all these years.”
Muguruza won the award for the first time after capturing the Wimbledon title and climbing to the world number one ranking for the first time, albeit for a short period. She ended the year ranked number two behind Romania’s Simona Halep who has still to win a grand slam title.
“Becoming ITF World Champion in such a competitive year is amazing for me,” Muguruza said. “And (it) is even more special because Rafa has also been awarded on the men’s side.
“He is a great role model for all of us, so it is a great moment for tennis in Spain.
“I knew that putting in the hard work would pay off eventually and it made winning Wimbledon and achieving the No 1 ranking so special.
“I’m motivated to take everything I’ve learned this year and apply it to my work next season.”
The last time two players from the same country scooped the awards was in 1998 when Americans Pete Sampras and Lindsay Davenport took the top honours.
Lukasz Kubot of Poland and Marcelo Melo of Brazil won the men’s doubles award while Chan Yun-Jan of Chinese Taipei and the recently-retired Martina Hingis of Switzerland, took the women’s prize.
David Wagner of USA becomes the inaugural ITF Quad Wheelchair World Champion while Gustavo Fernandez of Argentina is named Men’s Wheelchair World Champion for the first time, with Japan’s Yui Kamiji earning her second Women’s Wheelchair World Champion honour.
Axel Geller of Argentina and Whitney Osuigwe of USA are named ITF Junior World Champions.
The ITF World Champions will receive their awards at the 2018 ITF World Champions Dinner on Tuesday 5 June, in Paris, during Roland Garros.