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Pro Media & News

Mackenzie McDonald named 2021

ATP Comeback Player of the Year

Victoria Chiesa  |  December 14, 2021
<h1>Mackenzie McDonald named 2021</h1>
<h2>ATP Comeback Player of the Year</h2>
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A career-best season in the aftermath of a serious hamstring injury and the COVID-19 pandemic earned Mackenzie McDonald the ATP's Comeback Player of the Year award. The former UCLA Bruin was announced the winner of the ATP's annual honor on Tuesday, beating out Andy Murray, Jack Sock and Thanasi Kokkinakis.

 

"I'm super honored and appreciative to win this award," McDonald said in a video thank-you message. "It means a lot to me, coming back after my injury, but now that I'm back, I'm ready to do some damage in 2022."

 

Injured at the French Open in 2019, McDonald underwent surgery to repair a proximal hamstring tendon that July and was sidelined until the start of last year. He fell as low as world No. 272 in 2020, admitting that he "didn't find the groove" in the first two months of the season before tennis was suspended for six months as a result of the pandemic. ADVERTISEMENT He started 2021 ranked world No. 194. 

 

However, the 26-year-old started the Grand Slam season with a bang by reaching the fourth round at the Australian Open—his best-ever Grand Slam result—before losing to eventual finalist Daniil Medvedev, and won his first ATP Challenger title in three years in Kazakhstan in February. He was the lowest-ranked player to reach the last 16 at the Australian Open since world No. 248 Canas in 2004.

 

Successful efforts to qualify for both the French Open and Wimbledon followed for McDonald before he had his best tour-level result of the year at the Citi Open during the US Open Series, where he reached his first-ever ATP singles final. In the nation's capital, he defeated defending champion Nick Kyrgios, No. 13 seed Benoît Paire, Ilya Ivashka, Denis Kudla and 2015 champion and former US Open finalist Kei Nishikori before losing to Jannik Sinner in a three-hour, three-set  final. The result pushed McDonald back into the Top 100, and he went on to reach a career-high ranking of world No. 54 in November.

 

In the aftermath of his season-ending honor, McDonald told the ATP that he's seeking greater heights next season: “I feel like it was a great end of 2021 for me, having that be my start for 2022. Now I feel like I’m back. I really feel like I’ve come back, so now I can do some damage this next year. That’s what I want to do, capitalize even more. I want to accomplish a lot for next year as well."

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