A host of familiar faces were selected as recipients for the 1998 COREL WTA TOUR awards, it was announced today. Each of the winners will be awarded custom-designed Waterford Crystal trophies in separate on-court ceremonies during the Chase Championships this week at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Balloting was conducted among players, worldwide media, and tournaments from early September through November 4. Balloting for the Most Exciting Player was conducted by fans on the Tour’s websi and on-site at several events, including the U.S. Open. Over 60,000 fans cast ballots.
Current World Number One Lindsay Davenport was the only multiple winner. Davenport was a near-unanimous selection for the Player of the Year Award, which was selected by worldwide media, and also took the Diamond Aces Award, which is selected by worldwide tournaments and goes to the player who has done the most to help grow the game both on and off the court.
Other players taking awards included Monica Seles, who was selected as “Comeback Player of the Year,” and Steffi Graf, who was selected by the fans as the Tour’s “Most Exciting Player” for the second time in three years. The doubles team of Martina Hingis and Jana Novotna won Doubles Team of the Year, while Serena Williams followed in the steps of her older sister Venus, taking “Newcomer of the Year.” Venus won the same award in 1997. Switzerland’s Patty Schnyder, who took five titles and broke into the Top 10 in 1998, was selected as “Most Improved Player,” while the players selected Yayuk Basuki for the Karen Krantzke Sportsmanship Award and Joannette Kruger for the Player Service Award.
In addition to the player awards three tournaments were selected for their outstanding efforts. The duMaurier Open in Montreal, Canada was named by the players as the Tier I/II Tournament of the Year, while the Bell Challenge in Quebec City, Canada was selected as the Tier III/IV Tournament of the Year, giving Tennis Canada a clean sweep. It is the fourth straight year the Bell Challenge has been honored. In addition, the IGA Classic in Oklahoma City, OK USA was selected for the Tour’s Tournament Achievement Award for its outstanding efforts in marketing the game and attracting new fans. The IGA Classic set a tournament attendance record this past February, drawing over 23,000 fans.
The awards will be presented throughout the course of the week, with Davenport being honored in an on-court ceremony prior to Saturday’s Chase Championships semi-finals at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Two other awards, the David Gray Service Award and the Ted Tinling Media Award, will be announced later in the week.