Top-ranked Novak Djokovic and double Olympic gold medalist Serena Williams were named world champions by the International Tennis Federation.
“This has been another memorable year for our sport, highlighted by the most successful Olympic tennis event in history,” ITF president Francesco Ricci Bitti said in an e-mailed statement today. “In such a strong era for men’s tennis, it is a great achievement for Novak to retain his year-end No. 1 ranking, while on the women’s side Serena proved herself to be one of the finest competitors of all time.”
Serbia’s Djokovic, who also received the ITF honor last year, successfully defended his Australian Open title at the start of the season, and reached the finals of the French Open and U.S. Open. The 25-year-old lost in the Wimbledon semifinals to champion Roger Federer of Switzerland in July, dropping out of the top spot. The Belgrade native reclaimed the top ranking at the start of November, and went on to beat Federer at the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals in London to take his tally of tournament wins to six this season.
“It was very difficult to follow up such a successful season in 2011, but it was extremely satisfying to win another Grand Slam title, reach two other major finals and finish the year at No. 1,” Djokovic said.
Williams, 31, found success after crashing out of the French Open in the first round in May. The third-ranked player won her fifth Wimbledon singles championship in July, before taking the gold medal in the singles and doubles tournament with her sister Venus at the London Olympics a month later. In September, she captured her 15th major title at the U.S. Open, and won the year-end WTA Championships a month later to finish the season with a Tour-best seven titles.
“It means a lot to be named ITF world champion for the third time,” Williams said. “It has been such an amazing experience this year to win the Olympics and two Grand Slam tournaments, and I look forward to having an awesome 2013.”
The ITF’s selection of its senior world champions is based on a system that considers not only performances in the Grand Slam events and respective tours, but also gives weight to performances in the two ITF elite team competitions, the Davis Cup and Fed Cup.
Just like last year, Bob and Mike Bryan were named men’s doubles world champions. The American twins won Olympic gold at the London Games and captured their 12th major title at the U.S. Open to tie the all-time record for Grand Slam doubles championships.
Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci were named women’s doubles world champions. The first Italian pair to receive the accolade, they were runners-up at the Australian Open and won Roland Garros and the U.S. Open.