The ITF announced on Thursday that Serbia’s Novak Djokovic and Romania’s Simona Halep have been named the 2018 ITF World Champions. Djokovic receives the honour for the sixth time, while it is the first year Halep has been recognised.
“I am very honoured to be named ITF World Champion again. 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,” said Djokovic.
Djokovic’s award caps a remarkable year which saw him recover from elbow surgery, win four titles including Wimbledon and the US Open, and climb from No. 22 in the rankings to secure the year-end world No. 1 position.
Halep also enjoyed Grand Slam success in 2018, claiming her maiden major title at Roland Garros and reaching the final at the Australian Open. The Romanian has spent 40 weeks of the year ranked as world No. 1.
“It’s a great honour to be named as ITF World Champion for the first time. I had an incredible year, winning my first Grand Slam at Roland Garros and finishing the year as world No. 1. To be recognised in this way is really special and provides extra motivation to keep working for next season,” said Halep for tftennis.com.
USA’s Mike Bryan and Jack Sock will receive the award in the men’s doubles category after winning two Grand Slam titles and triumphing at the ATP Finals. It will be the 12th time Bryan has received the award but the first time Sock has been honoured. 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.
Japan’s Shingo Kunieda, Netherlands’ Diede de Groot and Australia’s Dylan Alcott have been announced as the men’s, women’s and quad winners in the wheelchair division. Kunieda and Alcott both added two Grand Slam titles to their ever-increasing list of successes while de Groot was crowned champion at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open and finished the year with an impressive 40-4 win-loss record. Kunieda is now an eight-time ITF World Champion while it is an inaugural accolade for de Groot and Alcott.
The junior World Champions are Chinese Taipei’s Tseng Chun Hsin, who won back-to-back Grand Slam titles at Roland Garros and Wimbledon and finished with a commanding lead at the summit of the global rankings, and ITF Junior Masters winner and junior year-end No. 1 Clara Burel from France.
The ITF’s selection of its senior World Champions is based on 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, Davis Cup and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas.
The ITF World Champions will receive their awards at the 2019 ITF World Champions Dinner on Tuesday 4 June, in Paris, during Roland Garros.
ITF President David Haggerty said: “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. They are a credit to our sport and have all contributed to another memorable year for tennis.”