2021 ATP award nominees
include five Americans
Victoria Chiesa | December 1, 2021
After four American women were nominated for season-ending WTA awards last week, five American men have followed suit on the ballots for year-end ATP awards. Jenson Brooksby, Mackenzie McDonald, Brandon Nakashima, Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe have been shortlisted for their successes in 2021 in awards that will be voted on by their peers.
For on-court results, Brooksby and Nakashima have been nominated for Newcomer of the Year while McDonald and Sock feature amongst the Comeback Player of the Year nominees. Tiafoe, the recipient of Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award for his off-court activism last year, has now been nominated for the tour's Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award, given to the player "who, throughout the year, conducted himself at the highest level of professionalism and integrity, who competed with his fellow players with the utmost spirit of fairness and who promoted the game through his off-court activities."ADVERTISEMENT
Brooksby, 21, skyrocketed to a career-high world No. 56 in the year-end rankings after beginning 2021 outside the Top 300, thanks in part to three ATP Challenger titles and a summer surge of tour-level results. Most notably, he reached the fourth round of the US Open as a wild card, where he took a set before losing to world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, reached his first ATP singles final in Newport, R.I. during the US Open Series, and advanced to two other semifinals in Washington, D.C. and Antwerp. His fellow Californian, 20-year-old Nakashima, shaved more than 100 places off his own ranking over the course of the year to a career-high world No. 62 in November. While still a teenager in July, Nakashima became the youngest American man to reach multiple tour-level finals in a season since Andy Roddick in 2001 with runner-up showings in Los Cabos and Atlanta. He also won two ATP Challenger titles on the season.
Both young stars qualified for the season-ending Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan, and while Brooksby could not compete there due to injury, Nakashima reached the semifinals. The two Americans are on the ballot with Argentina's Sebastian Baez and Juan Manuel Cerundolo and France's Hugo Gaston.
McDonald and Sock were rewarded for efforts in 2021 that saw them return to the tour after lengthy layoffs due to hamstring and hand injuries, respectively. McDonald was sidelined for the second half of 2019 as a result of the injury, and came out of 2020's COVID-shortened season ranked world No. 193. This year, the former UCLA Bruin reached the fourth round of the Australian Open for his best-ever Grand Slam result and reached his first ATP singles final in Washington, D.C. He returned to the Top 100 for the first time in two years and reached a career-high ranking of world No. 54 in November. Unranked two years ago following a 2018 season where he went 9-22 and a 2019 where he missed months as a result of surgery to repair torn ligaments in his thumb, Sock returned to the Top 150 in singles this year and also won his first doubles title in three years. He reached his first ATP singles quarterfinal since 2018 in Newport, and also reached the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time in since 2017 as a wild card at the US Open.
Tiafoe is joined on the ballot for the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award by Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime, Spain's Rafael Nadal and Noway's Casper Ruud.
ATP award-winners will be revealed later in December. In addition to player-voted awards, fans can vote for their favorite singles player and doubles team through Tuesday, Dec. 7.