The 2023 WTA Awards winners have finally been announced. The season-ending awards recognize the season’s top performers and shed light on the players and coaches whose accomplishments deserve recognition. Join us as we brief you through the categories, this year’s nominees, and the eventual winners.
WTA Awards Categories
Award winners are selected through 2 methods. The main awards concerned with the top-performing players are voted on by international tennis media. While the Player Service awards winners are chosen by WTA players. Let’s first talk about the main awards.
WTA Player of the Year 2023
Along with the Doubles Team of the Year title, the Player of the Year is a highly coveted title given to the woman with the most outstanding season performance spanning the Grand Slams and other top-level tournaments.
Steffi Graf with 8 titles has received the most Player of the Year titles. Martina Navratilova and Serena Willims follow closely behind with 7 titles each. Ranking and popularity play a very important role in deciding the victor. The 6 nominees for the Player of the Year were as follows:
Iga Swiatek, the current World No.1, has clinched the WTA Player of the Year award for the second consecutive year. This achievement makes her the first player since Serena Williams (2012-2016) to earn this honor in back-to-back seasons. Swiatek’s stellar performance included winning six titles throughout the tour.
Notably, she successfully defended her Grand Slam title at Roland Garros, triumphed at the WTA 1000 China Open in Beijing, secured victories at the WTA 500 events in the Qatar TotalEnergies Open (Doha) and Porsche Tennis Grand Prix (Stuttgart), and claimed the WTA 250 BNP Paribas Warsaw Open on home soil. To conclude the season, she finished undefeated at the GNP Seguros WTA Finals Cancun, where she secured her first WTA Finals crown. This outstanding performance also solidified her year-end No.1 singles ranking for the second consecutive season.
WTA Doubles Team of the Year 2023
The doubles counterpart to the player of the year, the Doubles Team of the Year celebrates the tennis pairing that made the biggest impact that particular season. The 2023 nominees were as follows:
|Storm Hunter/Elise Mertens
|Coco Gauff / Jessica Pegula
|Laura Siegemund/Vera Zvonareva
|Gabriela Dabrowski / Erin Routliffe
|Katerina Siniakova / Barbora Krejcikova
Storm Hunter and Elise Mertens had an exceptionally successful debut season as doubles partners. The potential for their fruitful collaboration became evident right from their first event, achieving a quarterfinal run at the Australian Open. Subsequently, they went on to secure WTA 1000 titles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome and the Guadalajara Open AKRON Presented by SANTANDER.
Their impressive journey also led them to the title match at the WTA 250 Rothesay Classic Birmingham and Wimbledon. As the season concluded, Hunter achieved the remarkable feat of finishing the year as the WTA doubles year-end No.1.
WTA Most Improved Player of the Year 2023
As the name suggests, this title is given to the players who showed the most growth and improvement in their play, which translated well into match wins and reflected on their rankings. For a player very low in the rankings to then break into the top 100, she could become a potential candidate for the Most Improved Player Award. The 5 in running for the title were:
Zheng Qinwen, the 2022 Newcomer of the Year, added to her honors by winning the Most Improved Player of the Year in the current season. She claimed her first title at the WTA 250 34 Palermo Ladies Open, achieved a quarterfinal run at the US Open, and secured a second title at the WTA 500 Bank of Communications Zhengzhou Open. Closing the season with a strong finish, Zheng won 12 of her last 15 matches, reaching the final at the Huafa Technology WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai and attaining a new career-high ranking of No. 15.
WTA Newcomer of the Year 2023
The Newcomer of the Year Award is similar to the Most Improved Player of the Year but relegated to new players who’ve either made a top 100 debut or had some other notable accomplishment. The award is a good way to draw attention to new and upcoming talent. The candidates for this year’s Newcomer of the Year title were:
Mirra Andreeva achieved the most significant rankings jump from No.405 to No.46 in the year-end WTA Top 100. The 16-year-old started her impressive season by reaching the Australian Open girls’ final. She then made a standout entry onto the Hologic WTA Tour with a Round of 16 run at the WTA 1000 Mutua Madrid Open, defeating two Top 20 players.
Andreeva continued her success by reaching the third round in her debut Grand Slam at Roland-Garros and replicated her impressive performance at Wimbledon, making it to the second week of the tournament.
WTA Comeback Player of the Year 2023
Players forced into hiatus due to either injury or other personal reasons ultimately experience a drop in ranking due to inactivity. Those players who return to play, recording some top wins, titles, or other achievements to restore their ranking are prime contenders for the Comeback Player of the Year Award. The 4 nominees were:
Elina Svitolina took a 12-month hiatus from the Hologic WTA Tour to welcome her daughter, Skaï, born in October 2022. Svitolina made her return in April 2023, she secured her 17th career title at the WTA 500 Internationaux de Strasbourg.
The comeback continued with a quarterfinal appearance at Roland Garros and a semifinal run at Wimbledon. One of her top performances where she defeated WTA World No.1 Iga Swiatek in Wimbledon. In five months, Svitolina finished the year at No.25, almost as if she had never taken a break.
WTA Player Service Awards Categories
The following 2 awards, Karen Krantzcke Sportsmanship Award and Peachy Kellmeyer Player Service Award both fall under this category. What distinguishes these 2 awards is that other WTA players will vote and select the award winners. They are also unique in their naming, being based on influential executives and iconic players.
WTA Coach of the Year 2023
The Coach of the Year Award is different compared to the WTA Awards and PLayer Service awards. It is voted on by WTA-registered coaches. Coaches are an often overlooked aspect of professional tennis that goes unnoticed by most fans. So, to highlight their importance to a player’s success and recognition, the Coach of the Year Award is given to those who have served as ambassadors for the sport and been great role models and teachers through and through. The nominees for this year were:
- Brad Gilbert & Pere Riba – Coco Gauff’s Coach
- Raemon Sluiter – Elina Svitolina’s Coach
- Tomasz Wiktorowski – Iga Swiatek’s Coach
- Anton Dubrov – Aryna Sabalenka’s Coach
- Emil Miske – Karolina Muchova’s Coach
- Stefano Vukov – Elina Rybakina’s Coach
Tomasz Wiktorowski, coach of World No.1 Iga Swiatek, earned the 2023 WTA Coach of the Year for his pivotal role. Voted by WTA registered coaches, Wiktorowski’s recognition stems from the pair’s resilience and mental strength, leading to a successful defense. The pair recapture the WTA No.1 ranking after WTA Finals 2023.
In 2023, they topped the tour in both titles won (six) and match wins (68). Notable highlights include Swiatek’s historic defense of the Roland Garros title. An undefeated run at the GNP Seguros WTA Finals Cancun, marking the first time since 2018.
Karen Krantzcke Sportsmanship & Peachy Kellmeyer Player Service Award 2023
This award is named in memory of Karen Krantzcke, an Australian player. She passed off from a heart attack at age 31 whilst she was jogging. The year after her death, this award was given to Evonne Goolagong for her exceptional sportsmanship. The award is given to players who serve as paragons for professional etiquette and behavior that fits international sports.
While Peachy Kellmeyer, the Current administrator is a very important part of women’s tennis history. The former player was the first tour director of the Virginia Slims circuit, the precursor to the WTA Tour. In her honor, the Peachy Kellmeyer Award is given to players and executives who have contributed to the tennis industry. Mainly through administration or as an executive.
For the respect and grace observed by Ons Jabeur when interacting with her opponents on and off the court, she was given the Karen Krantzcke Sportsmanship Award and Peachy Kellmeyer Player Service Award as well. In 2023, Ons Jabeur achieved dual honors, securing the Karen Sportsmanship Award for the second consecutive year and the Peachy Kellmeyer Player Service Award for the first time.
Voted on by her peers, these accolades recognize her gracious manner, fair play, and exceptional support for the player community. Jabeur, along with Kim Clijsters, stands as one of the rare individuals to win both awards in the same year.
Jerry Diamond Aces Award 2023
Established in 1995 to honor the late WTA CEO Jerry Diamond, this year’s ACES Award is bestowed upon Jessica Pegula. Recognized for her unwavering professionalism and commitment to promoting women’s tennis through off-court engagements and charitable activities. Pegula joins esteemed past recipients like Angelique Kerber, Elina Svitolina, and Maria Sakkari.