Ashleigh Barty and Alex de Minaur have won the Newcombe Medal together in a first in the award’s nine-year history.
The young stars were crowned Australia’s most outstanding tennis players of 2018 in Melbourne on Monday night, edging out John Millman and Dylan Alcott.
While Millman undoubtedly provided the moment of the year with his stunning victory over Roger Federer at the US Open, it was the class and consistency of Barty and de Minaur that stood out.
Last year’s medallist Barty was a deserving favourite to join Samantha Stosur (2010, 2011, 2012) as only the second multiple winner in the award’s nine-year history.
— TennisAustralia (@TennisAustralia) November 26, 2018
The 22-year-old enjoyed a stellar 2018, climbing to a career-high ranking of No.15 in singles and No.5 in doubles.
The former Wimbledon junior champion is one of only two women ranked inside the world’s top 20 in both singles and doubles.
Barty won the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai, another singles title on grass in Nottingham as well as four doubles titles – including her maiden grand slam alongside American Coco Vandeweghe in New York.
Barty amassed 46 singles wins for the season, reaching the Sydney final, semi-finals in Strasbourg, Montreal and Wuhan and making a career-best fourth-round run at the US Open in addition to her two title successes.
Her second Newcombe Medal wasn’t enough to stop de Minaur from following in her footsteps as he also earned the honour in a breakout year.
De Minaur was named the ATP’s Newcomer of the Year after rocketing from No.208 to a career-high 31st in the rankings in 2018.
The 19-year-old’s season kicked off with runs to the Brisbane semi-finals and Sydney final, which earned the teenager a Davis Cup debut, where he pushed then world No.4 Alexander Zverev to five sets.
He reached the Washington final before rounding out his year with a runner-up showing at Next Gen ATP Finals.
De Minaur also reached three finals on the second-tier Challenger tour, winning one.
Millman’s quarter-final effort at Flushing Meadows helped propel the 29-year-old to a career-high No.33 in the world and earned him a nomination as the ATP’s comeback player of the season.
Alcott, the 2016 Newcombe medallist, added a sixth grand slam title to his CV with a second victory in the US Open quad wheelchair singles.
Other winners on the night included Destanee Aiava (female junior athlete of the year) and Rinky Hijikata (male junior athlete of the year).
Darren Cahill was also honoured for coaching excellence after Simona Halep finished the year as world No.1, having reached the Australian Open final and won the French Open title.
Casey Dellacqua, who this week opened up on the beautiful reason why she retired from the sport, won the spirit of tennis award.