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Evans, Hewett and Watson named as ‘Player of the Year’ Winners at 2021 LTA Awards

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Dan Evans, Alfie Hewett and Heather Watson were the recipients of the ‘Player of the Year Awards’ at the 2021 LTA Awards ceremony.

Streamed on LTA Website, Facebook and YouTube channels on Thursday 24 June and presented by LTA Head of Men’s Tennis Leon Smith OBE, the national ceremony saw Evans, Hewett and Watson join a list of awards winners from the grassroots of the game, as part of an event that celebrates the achievements of outstanding tennis volunteers, coaches, officials, venues and players in Britain.

For the men’s award, it was the first time in the Awards’ six-year history that two players shared the accolade. The judges unable to separate Evans and Hewett who were both named male ‘LTA Player of the Year’, while Watson was the recipient of the women’s award. Matilda Mutavdzic was named the ‘LTA Junior Player of the Year’.

For the first time this year, judging for the Player of the Year awards included voting from tennis fans, with LTA Advantage member, James Droy selected to announce the male and female ‘Player of the Year’ winners as part of the online event.

Joint Men's Player of the Year - Dan Evans

British No.1 Dan Evans, and multiple Grand Slam Champion, Alfie Hewett prevailed from a shortlist also including Andy Lapthorne, Gordon Reid and Joe Salisbury. Evans had some of his best results in 2020, where he reached the semi-finals at Dubai, Antwerp and Vienna. The 31-year-old also broke into the top 30 for the first time and recorded his highest year end ranking at No.32.

Commenting on receiving the award, Evans said: “I’m thrilled to be named 2020 Player of the Year along with Alfie. Despite 2020 being such a challenging year, I have had some great results on the court. I would like to say thanks to the judging panel and to everybody who voted.”

Joint Men's Player of the Year - Alfie Hewett

Alfie Hewett claimed three men’s singles titles including lifting his fourth career Grand Slam trophy at Roland Garros, where he became a two-time champion. He finished the season unbeaten in doubles with Gordon Reid after the duo won all seven tournaments they entered, including at the Australian Open, Roland Garros and the US Open. Victory at Roland Garros ensured the pair completed the career doubles Grand slam.

On receiving the award, Hewett said: “I would just like to say a massive thank you to everyone who voted for me for this award, whether that be the judges or the fans out there.

“I know 2020 has been quite a difficult year for the majority of us, so it is a real honour to win the Men’s 2020 Player of the Year award alongside Dan Evans.

“It is something that is special, I have worked hard and it has been probably one of my best years’ on tour, so I am grateful for this and I’m delighted.”

Women's Player of the Year - Heather Watson

Heather Watson claimed the women’s ‘LTA Player of the Year’ title ahead of a shortlist featuring Harriet Dart, Francesca Jones, Johanna Konta and Jordanne Whiley. Watson won her fourth career title at Acapulco, battling past Leylah Fernandez to lift her first trophy since Monterrey in 2016. The 30-year-old finished the year ranked in the top 100 for the eighth time in 10 years.

Receiving the award, Watson said: “Thank you so much for this award and thank you to the panel and all the people that voted. I’m so grateful and happy to receive this award.”

Junior Player of the Year - Matilda Mutavdzic

Meanwhle, Oxford based, Matilda Mutavdzic, scooped the ‘LTA Junior Player of the Year’ award. The 16-year old, who finished runner-up in the girls’ doubles event at the Australian Open and achieved a career-high singles ranking of No.20, saw off competition from up and coming wheelchair tennis player Ben Bartram and teenager Arthur Fery to claim the gong.

Launched in 2015, the LTA Tennis Awards recognise the contributions of people from across tennis in Britain. This year saw a record number of over 2,600 nominations across all of the grassroots categories including ‘Young Person of the Year’ and ‘Club of the Year’.

The winners of this year’s awards were announced by a host of special guest presenters, including Judy Murray OBE, Sally Bolton OBE, Chief Executive of the All England Lawn Tennis Club and HRH the Duchess of Gloucester.

LTA President David Rawlinson said: “The LTA Tennis Awards are a real celebration of the people that make our sport thrive. They celebrate the achievements made by outstanding volunteers, coaches, officials, venues and players, who are all vital in helping us to grow the game.

“The past year has been challenging for everyone, but to see the tremendous positive contributions the nominees have made to the sport and to their communities has been tremendously uplifting. To be named a national winner is a fantastic achievement so I’d like to congratulate all of this year’s winners and extend my thanks to each and every one of them for all that they do for tennis in Britain.”