Novak Djokovic and Romania’s Simona Halep have been named the 2018 ITF world champions by the International Tennis Federation, the governing body of global tennis as announced on Thursday.
Djokovic, who had a sensational second half of the season, rising from No.21 to No.1 in the world in four stunning months, received the honour for the sixth time.
“I am very honoured to be named ITF world champion again,” said Djokovic, who ended the year as the No.1 for a fifth time.
The 31-year-old had endured a spell of poor form following his return to competitive action after a surgery on his elbow, and fell out of the Top 20.
However, his breakthrough came after a quarterfinal loss to the unheralded Italian, Marco Cecchinato at the French Open in June. The Serb would go on a remarkable run, reaching the final in 7 of 8 tournaments and winning four, notably Wimbledon and the US Open.
“I am particularly proud of this achievement after all that I’ve been through physically this year, but part of me always believed I could make it back to the top. It is very satisfying to join Pete Sampras by winning my sixth award.”
Also, world No.1, Simona Halep had a year to remember. The Romanian finally clinched a Grand Slam crown at the French Open in June, having previously lost the 2014 and 2017 French Open finals as well as the 2018 Australian Open final.
She, however, failed to find her incredible spark towards the end of the season. Having reached the final of the Cincinnati Masters in August, Halep failed to win any of her next four matches before drawing the curtain on her season in October. Though, she had done just enough all season to finish the year atop the WTA rankings.
“It’s a great honour to be named as ITF world champion for the first time,” the 27-year-old said. “I had an incredible year, winning my first Grand Slam at Roland Garros and finishing the year as world number one. To be recognized in this way is really special and provides extra motivation to keep working for next season.”
In the doubles field, Mike Bryan and Jack Sock won the men’s award, while the women’s doubles world champions are Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova, who lifted the trophy at both Roland Garros and Wimbledon this year and were members of the Czech Republic team that won the Fed Cup title.
The ITF uses an objective system that considers all results during the year, but gives special weight to the Grand Slam tournaments and two ITF international team competitions, the Davis Cup and the Fed Cup.
The president of the ITF, David Haggerty lauded the awardee’s dedication and commended their contribution to the sport.
“Congratulations to our 2018 ITF world champions who have demonstrated immense skill, talent and dedication on their way to achieving great success on the court,” said Haggerty.
“They are a credit to our sport and have all contributed to another memorable year for tennis.”
The ITF World Champions will receive their awards at the 2019 ITF World Champions Dinner on June 4, in Paris, during the French Open.