Ash Barty and Novak Djokovic honoured in major tennis announcement

Novak Djokovic and Ash Barty, pictured here after winning grand slams in 2021.
Novak Djokovic and Ash Barty have been named ITF world champions for 2021. Image: Getty

Tennis fans are congratulating Ash Barty and Novak Djokovic after the World No.1s were named the ITF world champions for 2021.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) bestowed their prized annual end-of-year honour on Barty and Djokovic on Thursday after their stellar seasons.

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Barty retained the title that she last won in 2019, the latest in a host of accolades heaped on the Australian superstar.

There was no award handed out in the pandemic-hit 2020 season, but Barty has maintained her position at the top of the women's game thanks to a triumphant global campaign that took in five titles, including her second grand slam singles triumph at Wimbledon.

Barty had already been named the Women's Tennis Association player of the year, and now joins an illustrious list of multiple winners of the ITF women's world championship award that has been running since 1978.

Steffi Graf has won it a record seven times, Martina Navratilova and Serena Williams (six), Chris Evert, Martina Hingis and Justine Henin (three) and Monica Seles (two).

"Being the ITF World Champion in 2021 is something I am very proud of," Barty said.

"I feel fortunate to play the sport I love for a living, especially in a year that was challenging and unpredictable for so many.

"I want to thank my team and my family for everything they do and a huge thank you to tennis fans around the world for continuing to support us."

And the ITF honour won't be the last gong she picks up, with Barty odds-on on to crown her magical year on Friday night with an unprecedented fourth-consecutive Newcombe Medal as Australia's most outstanding player of the year.

Ash Barty, pictured here after winning her second grand slam at Wimbledon.
Ash Barty won five titles in 2021, including her second grand slam at Wimbledon. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic wins record seventh ITF award

Meanwhile, Djokovic was handed the equivalent award for male players after winning the year's first three grand slams - the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon - and only deprived of the calendar Grand Slam in the US Open final by Daniil Medvedev.

Djokovic ended his own sensational year as the oldest-ever year-end World No.1, and he has now moved ahead of fellow great Pete Sampras by winning a record seventh ITF World Champion award.

Djokovic is now level with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on 20 major ttiles in a year when he overtook Federer for most weeks at World No.1 - 353 and counting - and also picked up a further two titles en route to a 55-7 win-loss record.

"After such a rewarding year for me, my team, family and fans, it is a great honour to be named the ITF World Champion for the seventh time," he said.

Australian wheelchair tennis maestro Dylan Alcott was named the ITF's Quad Wheelchair World Champion for the third-straight time in his final full season after winning all four grand slams and the Paralympic singles gold.

"This year I've had the proudest moments probably in my whole career, which is pretty awesome," he said.

"I'm really stoked that I could finish it off with the golden slam and I'm really looking forward to my last tournament coming up at the Australian Open."

Croatian duo Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic were named ITF men's doubles world champions after winning nine titles this season, while Czech pair Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova won the women's doubles award for a second time.

with AAP

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