FEDERER, WOZNIACKI NAMED 2014 AMBASSADORS OF THE YEAR
Roger Federer and Caroline Wozniacki have won the International Tennis Writers Association’s top awards. The 33-year-old Swiss and the 24-year-old Dane were voted ITWA’s Ambassadors of the Year for 2014. It is the sixth time Federer has won the award and the second time it has gone to Wozniacki.
ITWA represents more than 120 of the world’s leading tennis journalists. Its awards recognise a combination of achievements on the court, conduct that shows tennis in the best possible light and co-operation with the media.
Roger Federer is presented with his award in Melbourne by ITWA’s co-presidents Sebastian Fest (left) and Paul Newman (Photograph: Ben Rothenberg)
Both Federer and Wozniacki had memorable years. Federer won more matches than any other player on the men’s tour and added the Davis Cup to his many trophies. Wozniacki returned to the world’s top 10, played in her first Grand Slam final for five years and ended the year raising a large sum for charity by running in the New York Marathon.
Federer last won the ITWA award in 2009, while Wozniacki’s previous award was won in 2011.
Sebastian Fest, co-president of ITWA, said: “Roger and Caroline are both great champions, but they are also superb ambassadors for their sport. Both understand that a good relationship with the media helps them, helps us and helps the sport.
"For many years Roger has given much of his time talking to the media and speaks in three languages at most of his press conferences. Caroline has also given many hours of time to the media, particularly over the last year.”
2015 C0-PRESIDENTS' MESSAGE
There was no subject of greater debate among members of the International Tennis Writers’ Association in 2014 than mixed zones. Unfortunately it is a matter that will remain on our agenda this year. As an association we have made clear our opposition to mixed zones as a substitute for press conferences, yet the ATP is pressing ahead with them. At last year’s World Tour Finals there were even times when the ATP put Novak Djokovic, the defending champion and world No 1, in a mixed zone rather than a press conference. At the same event Roger Federer was not made available to the press at all – we were instead given the transcript of an “ATP interview” - after pulling out of the final.
While there are a few of our own members who approve of mixed zones in certain situations, the overwhelming majority are against them. The reasons are simple. We do not believe that a mixed zone is the right environment in which to have a meaningful discussion with players. Immediately after a match – especially a long match or one which the player has lost – is not the time or place to discuss issues other than what happened in the match or their next opponent. In the modern world, where basic information on matches is instantly available to anyone with an internet connection, we need to communicate to our readers much more than simply how a match was won and lost.
Mixed zones have also meant much wasted time for our members. While we are usually advised to go to the mixed zone immediately after matches, players themselves, understandably, often prefer to talk to us later, after they have showered. On many occasions our members have been left in mixed zones waiting for long periods for players to appear.
We discussed mixed zones with Chris Kermode, the executive chairman and president of the ATP, and made clear our opposition to them. Nicola Arzani, the ATP’s Senior Vice President (PR & Marketing), attended an ITWA meeting in New York where members told him very clearly why we were opposed to mixed zones. However, there is no sign of a change of heart by the ATP. We therefore encourage all ITWA members to keep telling ATP officials what they think. We believe that replacing press conferences with mixed zones is bad for us but also bad for the sport. Nobody gains from giving us less meaningful access to players.
In the meantime we wish all our members a prosperous 2015. These are challenging times for all of us, with so many media organisations imposing budget cuts and restricting travel, but we believe there is no replacement for journalists reporting directly from events. ITWA is there to help facilitate conditions in which we can best do our jobs.
Remember to keep in touch via this website, where you will also find a feed of tweets from ITWA members. To join this feed, or if you have any other administrative queries, contact our secretary, Sophie Boussenac, on
We look forward to working alongside you all in 2015.
Sebastian Fest and Paul Newman
AUSTRALIAN OPEN, ATP WORLD TOUR MASTERS 1000 AT INDIAN WELLS RECEIVE HONORS
The Australian Open and the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 at Indian Wells have again been voted the most media-friendly tournaments in the sport by the world’s leading tennis journalists.
The two tournaments received their awards from the International Tennis Writers’ Association (ITWA) at a reception in New York sponsored by the International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum. The Australian Open was voted Media-Friendly Grand Slam Tournament of the Year, while the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells won the award for all other tournaments. It was the third year in a row that the two tournaments have won the awards.
The award winners and ITWA board members at the New York presentations (left to right): Paul Newman (ITWA), Alix Ramsay (ITWA), Matt Van Tuinen (BNP Paribas Open), Dee Dee Felich (BNP Paribas Open), Prue Ryan (Australian Open), Nick Imison (ITF), Sandy Harwitt (ITWA) and Sebastian Fest (ITWA).
Votes for the awards were cast by the 120 members of ITWA, which represents the world’s leading journalists. Sebastian Fest, co-president of ITWA, said that the Australian Open and BNP Paribas Open were worthy winners.
“Our members voted for a wide range of tournaments, but in the end there were two clear winners,” Fest said. “Both tournaments clearly appreciate the value of good relations with the media and work hard to enable our members to do their jobs.”
Nick Imison, from the International Tennis Federation’s Communications Department, was presented with the Bud Collins Award, which is given annually to an individual within the sport who has been of particular help to the media. Bud Collins is a founder member of ITWA and one of the sport’s best-known journalists.
Paul Newman, ITWA’s other co-president, said: “Nick Imison knows tennis inside out and is always helpful. A Grand Slam tournament in particular would just not be the same without him around as he does a brilliant job organising player press conferences and interviews.”
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Photos courtesy of the International Tennis Photographers Association.