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Tennis News • Ricky Dimon’s Picks For 2020 ATP Awards, Including Player of the Year and Most Improved Player

World number one Novak Djokovic of Serbia world No. 1 added another Grand Slam title to his belt in 2020.

From 10sBalls •

The 2020 ATP season has–against a lot of odds–come to a successful conclusion. In the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, we made it through two Grand Slams (three in total counting the Australian Open back in January) and all the way to the Nitto ATP Finals.

With the end of the year comes awards, so it’s now time to hand them out.

Player of the Year

Novak Djokovic
– Djokovic had well-documented off-court issues throughout 2020 (and also the U.S. Open default, of course), but you cannot let those blind you from the reality of what happened on the court. The world No. 1 added another Grand Slam title to his haul (Aussie Open) and finished runner-up at another (French Open). He also won both of the Masters 1000 events in which he participated (Cincinnati and Rome). Dominic Thiem was also in the discussion, but he did not have two Masters 1000s to go along with his slam title (U.S. Open) and runner-up (Aussie Open). A Nitto ATP Finals title would have more than offset Djokovic’s two Masters 1000s, but the world No. 3 came up just short.

Runner-up: Dominic Thiem

Andrey Rublev of Russia soared from No.23 to No. 8 in 2020.

Most Improved

Andrey Rublev
– During a year in which it was so hard to move up (or down, for that matter!) in the rankings because of the reformatted structure, Rublev nonetheless soared all the way from No. 23 to No. 8. Based on 2020 points alone he would have finished in the top five. The 23-year-old Russian was the solo leader in ATP titles with five (including three 500s) and reached the quarterfinals at both the U.S. Open and French Open.

Runner-up: Ugo Humbert

Vasek Pospisil of Canada went 16-10 on the main tour in 2020.

Comeback Player of the Year

Vasek Pospisil
– Pospisil would be ranked much higher than No. 61 if not for the new ranking system in which players got to keep a ton of 2019. He barely earned any points in 2019! Pospisil did not play last year until Wimbledon and did not win an ATP-level match until the U.S. Open. In 2020, however, he stayed injury free and went 16-10 on the main tour. That consistency was highlighted by a fourth-round performance at Flushing Meadows and runner-up showings in Montpellier and Sofia. There wasn’t a whole lot to choose from in this category. It really came down only to a pair of veteran Canadians.

Runner-up: Milos Raonic

Humanitarian and all a round good guy, Diego Schwartzman of Argentina embarked on charitable endeavors in 2020.

Sportsmanship Award

Diego Schwartzman
– Not only did Schwartzman have a great year, but he is also just a great guy. In a TennisTV video at the Nitto ATP Finals, all of the participants were asked which opponent they get along with best off court and Schwartzman was the clear leader (Thiem probably had the second-most votes). The world No. 9 also embarked on some charitable endeavors during the coronavirus hiatus. He and fellow Argentine Manu Ginobili worked with Seamos Uno, an organization that raises money to provide food and hygiene boxes to families in need in Buenos Aires. Schwartzman also helped organize #LaChamplay, a FIFA20 competition in which celebrities raised money for Red Cross Argentina.

Runner-up: Ugo Humbert/Hubert Hurkacz

Former Chilean tennis player Nicolas Massu and coach of Dominic Thiem who had a great 2020 season.

Coach of the Year

Nicolas Massu (Dominic Thiem)
– This was (or is) a close race between Massu, Fernando Vicente (Andrey Rublev), Gilles Cervara (Daniil Medvedev), and Ricardo Piatti (Jannik Sinner). Cevara won it last year and Medvedev didn’t do enough until the end of 2020 for his coach to win it again. Piatti will be a candidate again next season if Sinner gets close to the top 10. Vicente is right there with Massu, but–as shamelessly mentioned earlier–I predicted Rublev’s meteoric rise long before it happened! Although Thiem was already near the top even before this year, the fact that he won a slam on a surface that isn’t his favorite is yet another testament to how good of a coach Massu is. It has been non-stop success for that partnership ever since it formed prior to the 2019 Indian Wells Masters. 

Runner-up: Fernando Vicente (Andrey Rublev)

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.