Kenin named WTA Player of the Year,
Ahn, Keys, McHale, Stephens honored for service
Victoria Chiesa | December 8, 2020
A total of five American women have been recognized for their efforts in the 2020 tennis season in the year-end WTA awards.
U.S. No. 1 Sofia Kenin, the Australian Open champion and French Open finalist, has been named WTA Player of the Year after a vote of the sport’s international media, while Kristie Ahn, Madison Keys, Christina McHale and Sloane Stephens, members of the WTA Players' Council, have been honored with the Peachy Kellmeyer Player Service Award after a vote of their peers.
One of two players to reach the second week of the three Grand Slams that were held in a shortened 2020 season, Kenin became the youngest American to win a Slam title since 2002, when Serena Williams won three majors at the same age, by virtue of her triumph in January at Melbourne Park. She lost just one set in her first six matches, to teenager compatriot Coco Gauff in the fourth round, and upset world No. ADVERTISEMENT 1 and home favorite Ashleigh Barty in the semifinals before coming from a set down to defeat Garbiñe Muguruza in the championship match.
Among her other achievements, Kenin helped Team USA earn a spot in next year's Billie Jean King Cup Finals in Budapest, Hungary by winning two matches against Latvia in Everett, Wash. in February, and won her second title of the year in March in Lyon, France, saving a match point along the way in one of the last tournaments held prior to professional tennis' hiatus as a result of the pandemic.
When the tour resumed, Kenin continued her Grand Slam success by reaching the fourth round of the US Open and her second major final in Paris, finishing runner-up there to Poland's Iga Swiatek, who was herself honored as the WTA's Most Improved Player. Kenin ended the season ranked a career-high world No. 4, a perch she first reached on March 9.
The 22-year-old is the first American to win WTA Player of the Year honors since Serena Williams was selected for four straight years from 2012-15, and the eighth to earn the honor all-time.
The American quartet of Ahn, Keys, McHale and Stephens, four players on the 10-player council, were selected by their peers for the work they did as a whole in the face of unprecedented circumstances. In a release, the WTA lauded the group’s efforts in helping the tour restart safely in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying that it “worked tirelessly discussing proposals and obtaining feedback, while balancing and making tough decisions to help the Tour return safely and successfully, all with a dedicated commitment to their fellow players.”
Joining them in earning this honor are Canada’s Gabriela Dabrowski, Great Britain’s Johanna Konta, Serbia’s Aleksandra Krunic, France’s, Kristina Mladenovic, Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Croatia’s Donna Vekic.