(December 22, 2015) The International Tennis Federation announced that Serena Williams of the United States and Novak Djokovic of Serbia are the 2015 ITF World Champions. Williams is named Women’s World Champion for the sixth time, while this is the fifth occasion that Djokovic has received the honor.
Martina Hingis of Switzerland and Sania Mirza of India become Women’s Doubles World Champions, while Jean-Julien Rojer of Netherlands and Romania’s Horia Tecau are Men’s Doubles World Champions. Hingis is an ITF World Champion 15 years after last being named World Champion in singles in 2000, while Tecau was previously World Champion in boys doubles in 2002.
Dalma Galfi of Hungary and USA’s Taylor Fritz are named ITF Junior World Champions, while the ITF Wheelchair World Champions are Jiske Griffioen of Netherlands and Japan’s Shingo Kunieda, who becomes men’s champion for the seventh time.
The ITF World Champions will receive their awards at the 2016 ITF World Champions Dinner on Tuesday 31 May, in Paris, during Roland Garros.
Serena Williams came within two matches of achieving the Grand Slam in 2015, winning the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon, and held all four Slams at the same time for the second time in her career. She won five titles overall, and finished No. 1 in the year-end rankings for the fifth time on the back of a 53-3 win-loss record.
Williams said: “It means a lot to me to be named the ITF World Champion for the sixth time. 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.”
Novak Djokovic won a career-best 11 titles in 2015, ending at No. 1 in the year-end rankings for the fourth time. He won three major titles at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open, and was runner-up at Roland Garros. He was in commanding form on all surfaces, boasting a career-best 82-6 win-loss record during the year.
Djokovic said: “It is an honour to be named ITF World Champion for the fifth time. My season was the best of my career with many highlights. It inspires me even more to keep on going, and I hope to continue to play at this level in 2016.”
Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau enjoyed a breakthrough season which saw the Dutch-Romanian pairing capture their first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon. They also won Rotterdam and the ATP World Tour Finals, capturing the season-ending title without losing a set to clinch the year-end No. 1 doubles team ranking. Both players have received support from the Grand Slam Development Fund.
Tecau said: “It is very rewarding and fulfilling to end the year as an ITF World Champion for the second time in my career. We have been improving all areas of our game, and are happy to be moving in the right direction. This is what we dream about, and it’s very motivating to carry on and try and push our limits again.”
Rojer said: “I’m extremely happy and glad with how the whole year went. It is very satisfying to have achieved these results with my partner Horia after putting in so much hard work.”
Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza only joined forces in March but proved a force to be reckoned with in 2015, winning two Grand Slam titles at Wimbledon and the US Open, and seven further tournaments. They won their last 22 matches from the start of the US Open through wins in Asia at Guangzhou, Wuhan, Beijing and the WTA Finals, ending the year with a 55-7 record.
Hingis said: “It is a great honour to be named ITF Women’s Doubles World Champions. Sania and I have enjoyed every minute of the season and we hope to continue in 2016 in the same fashion. We are set to join a long list of champions and it is a privilege to be recognised alongside them.”
Mirza said: “I am very honoured to receive this award from the ITF after what has been a great year for me and Martina. It is incredible that we have achieved so much in such a short time playing together. I am grateful to everyone that has helped me throughout my career and I hope that my success can inspire other girls in India.”
ITF President David Haggerty said: “Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams, who repeat as ITF World Champions, turned in exceptional performances in 2015, each winning three Grand Slam titles and dominating the rankings. In doubles, there are two new teams to receive this honour, Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau, and Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza. Both Rojer and Tecau are beneficiaries of the Grand Slam Development Fund, while both Tecau and Hingis are previous ITF World Champions.”
The ITF’s selection of its senior World Champions is based on an objective system that considers all results during the year, but gives special weight to the Grand Slam tournaments, and two ITF international team competitions, Davis Cup by BNP Paribas and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas.
Dalma Galfi is the first-ever Hungarian player to receive the ITF World Champion honour in any category. In a competitive girls’ season on the ITF Junior Circuit, the 17-year-old won the US Open and secured the year-end No. 1 ranking in the very last tournament of the year.
Galfi said: “I’m very happy and proud to be World Champion in 2015. I’m the first Hungarian to achieve this and it means a lot to me. I hope that the up-and-coming Hungarian players can follow in my footsteps, as there are a lot talented young players in our country.”
Taylor Fritz is the first American boy to be named ITF Junior World Champion since Donald Young in 2005. The 18-year-old reached two Grand Slam junior singles finals in 2015, winning the US Open, and after taking over the No. 1 ranking in June he held on to the top spot for the rest of the season.
Fritz said: “It feels amazing to be the ITF Junior World Champion. It’s been a goal of mine for many years and it feels great to actually achieve it. I loved ITF junior tennis and I hope I can build on the great foundation it has laid for me.”
As ITF World Champion for the seventh time, Shingo Kunieda is now the most decorated man in the wheelchair men’s category. The Japanese had another outstanding season, collecting seven titles on the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour, including all three Grand Slam singles titles, and achieving a 30-2 singles win-loss record.
Kunieda said: “I am really happy to be World Champion for the seventh time and set a new record. I am grateful for the support of my team who have helped me a lot this year, and my goal is now to win my third consecutive gold medal at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.”
Jiske Griffioen of Netherlands had a breakthrough 2015, winning her first Grand Slam wheelchair singles title at the Australian Open, and following up with a second major title at Roland Garros. Having been ranked continuously in the Top 5 since September 2010, the 30-year-old finally reached the top spot in June and stayed there for the rest of the year.
Griffioen said: “It was an amazing year for me. In January I won my first Grand Slam singles title, and then in June won my second Grand Slam title and took over the world No. 1 ranking for the first time in my career. This was a great reward for a lot of hard work.”
ITF President David Haggerty said: “I would like to thank all the 2015 ITF World Champions for their contribution to another memorable year for our sport.”