The ITF has announced that Gordon Reid of Great Britain and Yui Kamiji of Japan have been named Male Player of the Year and Female Player of the Year on the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour for 2012 after being nominated by their peers and fans of wheelchair tennis.
While Reid and Kamiji both win the Player of the Year Awards for the first time, the Sardinia Open is named Tournament of the Year for the second time after being voted joint winner of the award in 2004 alongside the Swiss Open.
For the second year in a row, the top players and tournaments nominated by email to the ITF Wheelchair Tennis Department were put to a final public vote in three separate polls on the ‘NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour’ Facebook page.
Male Player of the Year – Gordon Reid (GBR)
Reid is the first British player to win the Male Player of the Year Award after finishing ahead of men’s world No. 1 Shingo Kunieda of Japan and world No. 4 ranked quad singles player Nick Taylor of USA in the public Facebook poll, which closed on Sunday, 31 March.
Currently at his highest career singles world ranking of No. 7, Reid became the first British player to reach the men’s singles quarterfinals at a Paralympic Tennis Event at London 2012 and ended the year as only the second Brit to gain a top 10 men’s singles world ranking and earn qualification for the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters. He also reached his first Super Series final at the British Open.
Female Player of the Year – Yui Kamiji (JPN)
Kamiji is the first Japanese player to win the Female Player of the Year Award after finishing ahead of ITF World Champion and seven-time Paralympic gold medallist Esther Vergeer of the Netherlands and Germany’s Sabine Ellerbrock in the public Facebook poll.
Kamiji reached her highest career world singles ranking of No.6 in 2012 as well as ending the season as world No. 1 ranked junior in her final year as a junior player. She also reached the women’s singles quarterfinals at the London Paralympics after beating seventh seed Annick Sevenans of Belgium and partnered Ellerbrock to reach the women’s doubles final at Roland Garros and the Doubles Masters.
Tournament of the Year - Sardinia Open (ITA)
The Sardinia Open, joint winner of Tournament of the Year in 2004, wins the award outright for the first time after a beating two-time former winner the British Open in the public Facebook poll.
The Sardinia Open continues to demonstrate high levels of organisation and promotion under the leadership of Tournament Director Alberto Corradi and his team. At its idyllic setting, Tennis Club Allghero, the ITF 1 Series event remains among the highest quality events on the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour and one of the most popular with players from around the world.
The Player of the Year Awards are presented once a year to a male and female player on the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour, who are acknowledged because of his/her fairplay, sportsmanship, on court/off court behaviour, ability to make international friendships, support to other players and his/her contribution towards the development of wheelchair tennis on a national/international level.
The Tournament of the Year award is presented once a year to a tournament on the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour, which is acknowledged because of the contribution towards the development of wheelchair tennis at national/international level, the quality of organisation (includes all organisational aspects, such as officiating, transportation, hotel etc.), additional events organised during the event to entertain players and coaches and the promotion of the event and wheelchair tennis in general.