Djokovic and Barty named 2021 ITF world champions
World number one Novak Djokovic and Australian ace Ash Barty have been crowned the 2021 International Tennis Federation (ITF) world champions for the men's and women's singles category respectively. The world tennis body confirmed the development on Twitter. Meanwhile, Australia's Dylan Alcott, Dutch player Diede de Groot and Japan's Shingo Kunieda have been named wheelchair ITF world champions.
- The ITF world champion is the highest honor in the tennis world.
- The prestigious award designates a world champion every year based on their performance, including the four Grand Slams, Fed Cup, and David Cup among others.
- To make it even more historic this year, Djokovic lifted his record seventh ITF world champion award by surpassing Pete Sampras while Barty claimed her second honor.
Ash Barty has retained the award. She was earlier bestowed with her first annual end-of-year honor in 2019. But, since, the award was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she maintained her position. Barty won five titles this year, including her second Grand Slam triumph at Wimbledon, where she defeated Karolína Pliskova 6-3, 6-7(4-7), 6-3.
"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," she added. She concluded her statement by thanking her friends and family for their continued support and love.
Djokovic won his seventh ITF men's world champion award on Thursday. Djokovic had a magical year as he won the first three Grand Slams of 2021 - Australian Open, French Open, and Wimbledon. He lost to Daniil Medvedev in US Open final and in the process missed out on becoming the first male player to win all four major Slams in a single year.
Djokovic said it's a great honor to be named the ITF world champion for the seventh occasion. "After such a rewarding year for me, my team, family, and fans, it is a great honor to be named the ITF world champion for the seventh time," Djokovic said. The Serbian ace recently completed 350 weeks as the world number one in the ATP Rankings.