Player of the year: Serena Williams
If you take away the first half of the year, Serena Williams has had her best year on tour. Sweeping all the tournaments she participated with only 1 loss to Angelique Kerber, she proved that even at 30 years old, she can still dominate the sport. She left her competition gasping for air as she bulldozed her way to Wimbledon, Olympics, US Open and Year-End Championships titles. Even though she's ranked at a lowly number 3, she's no doubt the number 1 player in everyone's heart.
Honourable mention: Victoria Azarenka
Combine Victoria Azarenka's strong start of the year with Serena's strong finish, we will have a complete domination of the women's tour. Azarenka went on a 26 match winning streak and captured her maiden grand slam, Australian Open. She pushed Serena to her limits in their US Open finals but faltered at the crucial point. However, this is a positive sign as Serena can be pushed to the limit and Azarenka can take comfort in knowing she's only a few points from toppling the great Serena Williams
Most Improved Player: Sara Errani
Just after her breakthrough in Roland Garros, Sara Errani went through a rough patch and people are starting to write her off as a one hit wonder. However, she shut the haters up by reaching the US Open semi-finals and qualifying for the Year-End Championships. She gave a very good account of herself against Radwanska and looks set to stay in the top 10. To think that she started this year ranked 45, she has indeed made the biggest transition into the elites.
Honourable mention: Angelique Kerber
Angelique Kerber started her breakthrough late last year as she reached the semi-finals of the US Open. Most expected her showing to be a flash in the pan but did she prove everybody wrong. She went from strength to strength and achieved her career high ranking of 5 this year. She has beaten all of the older elites of the game this year: Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Kim Clijsters and Maria Sharapova. Not to mention her wins over former (although slumping) number 1, Caroline Wozniacki and Jelena Jankovic. I guess the reason Sara was picked was because of her superior record over Kerber and Angelique's improvement really started late last year. Anyway, I don't think Kerber will look too much into this as she continues to improve herself and establish herself as a threat on all surfaces.
Comeback player of the year: Yaroslava Shvedova
Ending 2011 with a ranking of 204, Yaroslava came back with a vengeance and ended the year inside the top 30 at 29. Highlighted by her quarter-final finish at the French Open and her demolition of Errani in Wimbledon, she had a season to remember. It is tough for somebody to comeback from a knee injury as there will always be doubts when you move on the court but Shvedova did just that. Let's hope that she can continue her form in 2013.
Honourable mention: Venus Williams
Venus Williams' struggle with her autoimmune disease is an inspiring tale as she doesn't know which day she will be affected. Despite that, she continued to battle her way and culminated in her first title since 2010 by winning in Luxembourg. Venus has had a wonderful career and could have just hanged up her racquet. However, she refused to give in and at the age of 32, still can beat the top players. Age is definitely a factor but Venus's fight make me want to root for her in 2013. All the best Venus!
Newcomer of the year: Laura Robson
Laura Robson wins this award after having a breakthrough event in the US Open. She defeated the beloved Kim Clijsters and top 10 player, Li Na, for a 4th round showing. Armed with a huge serve and stinging forehand, Robson was bound to breakthrough and it was done at the expense of my favourite player, Kim. Nevertheless, she has the game to make some real damage and she will be the one to watch for 2013 definitely.
Other award winners:
Doubles team of the year: Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci
Fan Favorite Singles Player: Agnieszka Radwanska
Fan Favorite Doubles Team: The Williams Sisters
Fan Favorite Twitter: Caroline Wozniacki
Fan Favorite Facebook: Agnieszka Radwanska
Fan Favorite Video: Agnieszka Radwanska & The Bee (click here)
Player Service Award: Venus WilliamsKaren Krantzcke Sportsmanship Award: Kim Clijsters