Williams, Fritz named ITF World Champions

December 22, 2015 10:12 AM

By E.J. Crawford, USTA.com

The season-ending awards keep pouring in for Serena Williams. For Taylor Fritz, he’s hoping this will be the first of many.

Williams, the world No. 1 who earlier this month was named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year, and Fritz, the reigning US Open boys’ singles champion and world junior No. 1, have been honored as 2015 ITF World Champions.

Williams, 34, earned the women’s award, while Fritz, 18, was named as the boys’ ITF Junior World Champion. Other 2015 ITF honorees included Novak Djokovic for men’s singles, Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza for women’s doubles, Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau for men’s doubles, Dalma Galfi for girls’ play, Jiske Griffioen for women’s wheelchair and Shingo Kunieda for men’s wheelchair.

This marks the sixth time Williams has been recognized as the ITF Women’s World Champion. It comes on the heels of a season in which she won the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon – completing the “Serena Slam” of holding all four major titles at once; she also won the 2014 US Open – and held the world’s top ranking from the beginning of the year until the end.

“It means a lot to me to be named the ITF World Champion for the sixth time,” Williams said in a statement. “I am proud to have achieved my second Serena Slam, in what has been an amazing year for me. Thank you for this recognition and for the undying support of the tennis community.”

In all, Williams won five titles in 2015 – the three Slams plus premier events in Cincinnati and Miami – and came within two matches of completing the first calendar-year Grand Slam since Steffi Graf in 1988. Williams lost in the 2015 US Open semifinals.

The 18-year-old Fritz, meantime, emerged as the world’s preeminent junior in 2015, reaching the French Open boys’ singles final, the Wimbledon boys’ semifinals and prevailing in the Flushing Meadows junior event.

The ITF World Champions will receive their awards on May 31 at the 2016 ITF World Champions Dinner in Paris, in conjunction with the 2016 French Open.