Sania wins WTA Newcomer of the Year award
New Delhi, Mar 22: Sania Mirza continues to bask in the glory of her last year's performance and was announced the Newcomer of the Year by WTA for winning the Hyderabad Open and ending the year ranked a career best number 31.
Sania, who has had a disappointing season so far this year, was honured at the second annual joint ATP and Sony Ericsson WTA Awards ceremony last night, according to the WTA tour website.
The Hyderabadi was recently knocked out in the third round of the Pacific Life Open after failing to go beyond the second round of previous WTA events this year.
Meanwhile, Roger Federer and US Open Champion Kim Clijsters were named the 2005 Players of the Year and also won the Fans' Favourite Award. Federer's fellow players also voted him the Stefan Edberg Sportsman of the Year for the second straight year.
Clijsters, who rose to number 2 in the WTA rankings after a wrist injury sidelined her for most of 2004, picked up four awards in all including the Comeback Player of the Year by the media and the Karen Krantzcke Sportsmanship award, decide by her peers, for the fifth time.
Sixteen different players were honoured with 21 awards during the course of the evening.
Comeback Player of the Year honours for the ATP went to James Blake, who lost out to Roger Federer in the pacific Life Open finals, ended the previous year on a career best number 24 after missing the final six months of 2004 with a broken neck and then a bout with Zoster.
Spaniard Rafael Nadal was adjudged the Most Improved Player after he captured a teenage record 11 titles including four Masters Series shields and the Roland Garros crown.
Meanwhile, 2004's top junior Gael Monfils made a momentous climb of 200 spots up to a year-end number 31 in his first full year on the ATP circuit to earn Newcomer of the Year honour.
Bob and Mike Bryan earned the ATP Doubles Team of the Year and were also chosen as the overwhelming fan favorites.
Carlos Moyá, who donated a check of 52,000 dollars following his Chennai Open win, won the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian award for spearheading relief efforts following the tsunami in South Asia and calling on his fellow players to do their part.