Rafael Nadal and Iga Swiatek Crowned 2022 ITF World Champions
December 18, 2022
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has announced that Rafael Nadal and Iga Swiatek have been named 2022 ITF World Champions, following impressive seasons in which both players won two Grand Slam singles titles.
Nadal and Swiatek are among 11 players who have been announced as ITF World Champions this week. In the doubles category, Rajeev Ram of USA and Great Britain’s Joe Salisbury are first-time winners of the ITF Men’s Doubles World Champion award, while the Czech pair of Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova win the ITF Women’s Doubles World Champion award for the third time.
Japan’s Shingo Kunieda and Netherlands’ Diede de Groot were honoured in the men’s and women’s wheelchair categories, respectively – a 10th award for Kunieda and fourth for De Groot – while Niels Vink became the first Dutchman to be named ITF Quad Wheelchair World Champion.
At junior level, two-time Grand Slam boys’ singles runner-up Gilles Arnaud Bailly of Belgium has been rewarded for a season of consistent performances, while Roland Garros girls’ singles champion Lucie Havlickova of Czech Republic was crowned as ITF Girls World Champion.
Nadal said: “I’m very happy to be named ITF World Champion for the fifth time. When I first won the award in 2008, I would not have expected to still be playing at such a high level 14 years later. It was really special to win the Australian Open for a second time, and of course to win Roland Garros. I am really grateful for the support of my team and my fans around the world and, I am already looking forward to the 2023 season.”
Swiatek said: “This was a big year for me, and such significant awards show me how far I’ve come. I appreciate it and I want to thank the ITF. It wouldn’t have happened without my team, my family, and my fans from Poland and all over the world. Consider it our joint award for amazing adventure on court in 2022.”
David Haggerty, ITF President, said: “Congratulations to our 2022 ITF World Champions, all of whom have enjoyed exceptional years. It has been a pleasure to watch these 11 players, who are not just superb athletes but also fantastic ambassadors for our sport. We look forward to celebrating with them in person next July and I wish all of our World Champions the very best for 2023.”
The 11 World Champions will be honoured at the annual ITF World Champions Awards event on Saturday 8 July 2023. The Awards, previously held in Paris, are moving to London and being held at the beautiful and historic Victoria and Albert Museum, home to more than 2.8 million treasures celebrating art and design.
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 Rakuten and Billie Jean King Cup by Gainbridge.
ITF Singles World Champions
Rafael Nadal is named the ITF Men’s World Champion for the fifth time, having also received the award in 2008, 2010, 2017 and 2019. Victory for Nadal at the Australian Open in January – in which he recovered from 0-2 down to win in five sets in the final against Daniil Medvedev – saw him become the first man to win 21 Grand Slam singles titles. He followed up that success with a record-extending 14th Roland Garros and 22nd Grand Slam title in June, and reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon before having to withdraw due to an abdominal injury.
As ITF Women’s World Champion, Iga Swiatek becomes the first Polish singles player to win the award – and just the second Polish player to do so in any category, after 2017 ITF Men’s Doubles World Champion Lukasz Kubot. Swiatek embarked on a winning streak between February and May that saw her win 37 consecutive matches and six tournaments – including her second Grand Slam crown at Roland Garros. She won a third Grand Slam title at the US Open in September and ended the year as world No. 1 for the first time with a total of eight titles.
ITF Doubles World Champions
Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova are crowned ITF Women’s Doubles World Champions for the second straight year and the third time overall, having also received the award in 2018 and 2021. The Czech pair won three Grand Slam titles, triumphing at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open. Krejcikova and Siniakova have become just the fifth and sixth players to win the ‘career Golden Slam’ in women’s doubles, after Pam Shriver, Gigi Fernandez and Serena and Venus Williams.
A strong end to the year saw Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury become ITF Men’s Doubles World Champions for the first time, with Ram becoming the fourth American to receive the award (after 12-time winner Mike Bryan, 11-time winner Bob Bryan and 2018 winner Jack Sock) and Salisbury becoming the second Brit to earn the accolade after Jamie Murray in 2016. The duo won their third Grand Slam title together at the US Open and also won the ATP Finals title for the first time in November.
ITF Wheelchair World Champions
Diede de Groot is named ITF Women’s Wheelchair World Champion for the fourth consecutive year, after going unbeaten in singles all season. The 25-year-old won all 38 matches she contested in 2022 and swept all four Grand Slam singles titles for the second straight year. She goes into the 2023 season looking to extend a 74-match winning streak – and to continue to chase down the record 470-match winning streak set by her compatriot Esther Vergeer.
Shingo Kunieda extends his record for most ITF Men’s Wheelchair World Champion awards by winning for a 10th time. This season saw Kunieda complete his quest for a career Grand Slam with his victory in singles at Wimbledon. Having also won the titles at the Australian Open and Roland Garros, he came within one match of being the first player to win the calendar-year Grand Slam in men’s wheelchair singles but was defeated in the US Open final by Alfie Hewett.
Niels Vink becomes the third player to win the ITF Quad Wheelchair World Champion award since its introduction in 2017, after three-time winner Dylan Alcott and David Wagner. He is the first Dutchman to win a wheelchair World Champion award since Maikel Scheffers in 2011 – a fine reward for an excellent season. The 20-year-old ended the year as world No. 1 after winning his first two Grand Slam singles titles at Roland Garros and the US Open. His rivalry with Sam Schroder, who won the year’s other two Grand Slam singles titles and finished just nine points behind Vink in the year-end rankings, looks certain to be a key storyline in the quad wheelchair category in the years ahead.
ITF Junior World Champions
Gilles Bailly has been crowned as this year’s ITF Boys’ World Champion, becoming the first Belgian male to win a World Champion award in any category. He ended the season as world No. 1 following a string of consistent performances that saw him win three titles at Grade 1-level and finish runner-up in the boys’ singles at both Roland Garros and the US Open.
Lucie Havlickova has been named ITF Girls’ World Champion and is the first Czech player to win the award since Barbora Strycova in 2002. The 17-year-old won her first junior Grand Slam singles title at Roland Garros, after showing exceptional form on clay all season, having also won Grade A titles on clay in singles at Criciuma and in doubles at Offenbach. She also won two Grand Slam girls’ doubles titles, emerging triumphant at both Roland Garros and the US Open.
Other Player Quotes
Barbora Krejcikova (CZE) – ITF Women’s Doubles World Champion: “It is a great honour to receive the ITF Women’s Doubles World Champion award for the third time and I am grateful for the results and memories I have made with my doubles partner this year. We hope that our success will continue inspiring young kids around the world and help them believe in their dreams on and off the court. I am so grateful to my family, my coaching team, mentors, partners, fans and everyone else who has stood by me and who is constantly supporting me to achieve my dreams.”
Katerina Siniakova (CZE) – ITF Women’s Doubles World Champion: “I am so happy to be announced as best doubles team two years in a row. I am really satisfied with this season and looking forward to next year.”
Rajeev Ram (USA) – ITF Men’s Doubles World Champion: “It’s a huge honour to receive this award, and be included with all the names of the great champions that have won it in the past. Thank you to the ITF for the award.”
Joe Salisbury (GBR) – ITF Men’s Doubles World Champion: “We are very honoured to have won this prestigious award from the ITF as recognition for the successes we have had. We are very proud of all we have achieved this year.”
Diede de Groot (NED) – ITF Women’s Wheelchair World Champion: “I am incredibly proud to make back-to-back calendar Grand Slams and end 2022 as year-end No 1 again. It’s the result of consistency and all the hard work put in by my team and myself. I’m thankful for all the support.”
Shingo Kunieda (JPN) – ITF Men’s Wheelchair World Champion: “2022 became another special year for me. I finally won the Wimbledon singles for the first time in my career, achieving the career Grand Slam and the career Golden Slam for the first time in the history of men’s wheelchair tennis. I am proud of myself but these achievements didn’t happen without the support from my team – my wife, coach, physio, sponsors and fans. I would like to celebrate another monumental year with them.”
Niels Vink (NED) – ITF Quad Wheelchair World Champion: “It is a really special and amazing feeling to be named World Champion for the first time in my career. This was the best year so far for me. A few dreams became reality. I became world number one, I played in all four Grand Slams, I won my first and second Slam and three Grand Slams in doubles. On my own, I was never able to be in this position, so I really want to thank my team around me and a very special thanks to my coach Hans Jurgen.”
Gilles Arnaud Bailly (BEL) – ITF Boys World Champion: “It’s an incredible feeling to end the year as a junior world No. 1 and be named an ITF World Champion. I never thought this would be possible. I have been playing on the junior circuit for four to five years and it has been a fun, but long, journey. I could not have dreamed that I would reach this level and have an end to a year like this.”
Lucie Havlickova (CZE) – ITF Girls World Champion: “It feels really amazing to be a year-end junior world No. 1 and ITF World Champion – I’m very happy about it. This season is definitely my best season yet. At the beginning of the year, I was struggling and I couldn´t find my game for quite a long time. But then I won the Grade A tournament in Criciuma, which started everything. Sadly, I haven’t played any tournaments as the junior world No. 1, but it will give me confidence and many opportunities next year in my women’s career, which I want to focus on. It’s super great.”