Australian tennis young guns, Ashleigh Barty and Alex de Minaur were announced as joint winners of the Newcombe Medal at the annual awards ceremony on Monday night, recognising their outstanding achievements in the sport over the past year.
"It was extremely hard to make the decision".
"It's been a truly phenomenal year". The 22-year-old is now one of only two women ranked inside the world's top 20 in both disciplines.
Co-awarded, De Minaur skyrocketed in the global rankings this year from outside the top 200 to No. 31 after reaching the third round of both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.
The 19-year-old's breakout season began with runs to the Brisbane semi-finals and Sydney final, which earned the teenager a Davis Cup debut, where he pushed then-world number four Alexander Zverev to five sets.
He also reached the Washington final before rounding out his year with a runner-up showing at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan, earning him the praise of Rod Laver, who described him as a gift to Australian tennis.
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"This is something I definitely did not expect. I'm super proud of my efforts", de Minaur said.
"It's just about improving", he said.
"If you put the work in off court, the work will show on court so it's all about day by day and enjoying the moment".
"I feel like the level's there".
"I've been close against the top guys and now it's time to learn from the mistakes I did against those guys and hopefully I can get over the line in those big matches".