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International Tennis Writers Association
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MURRAY, MUGURUZA HONORED AS 2015 AMBASSADORS OF THE YEAR

Melbourne, 16 January 2016 - Andy Murray and Garbine Muguruza have won the International Tennis Writers Association’s top awards. The 28-year-old Scot and the 22-year-old Spaniard were voted ITWA’s Ambassadors of the Year for 2015. It is the second time Murray has won the award and the first time it has gone to Muguruza.


Andy Murray receives his award from the International Tennis Writers Association’s Simon Cambers (left) and Paul Newman.


Garbine Muguruza receives her award from the International Tennis Writers Association’s Chris Bowers (left) and Paul Newman.

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.

Both Murray and Muguruza had memorable years. Murray, who also won the award in 2012, had the most consistent year of his career, finishing at No 2 in the world rankings for the first time. He also played the key role in Britain’s Davis Cup triumph, winning all eight of his singles rubbers during the year and three doubles rubbers alongside his brother Jamie.

Muguruza reached her first Grand Slam final at Wimbledon and enjoyed consistent success through the year, which she finished as world No 3, having climbed 18 ranking places during the season. She won the title in Beijing, reached the final at Wuhan and competed in the WTA Finals, where she won all three of her group matches before losing in the semi-finals to Agnieszka Radwanska, the eventual champion.

Newman, co-president of ITWA, said: “Andy Murray and Garbine Muguruza are not only fine champions but also great ambassadors for their sport. Both understand that a good relationship with the media helps everyone.

“Murray has become one of the most eloquent players in the men’s game. We appreciate the respect that he gives to all his questioners, knowing that there are huge demands on his time.

“Garbine lit up Wimbledon in particular last summer. Her smiling demeanour and great enthusiasm for her sport have set an example to everybody.”

Both players were presented with their awards here this afternoon ahead of the start of the Australian Open on Monday. 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.

ITWA HOSTS PARTY AT 2015 US OPEN

Chris Kermode, the Executive Chairman and President of the Association of Tennis Professionals, and Stacey Allaster, the Chairman and CEO of the Women’s Tennis Association, were among the guests at the International Tennis Writers Association’s traditional pre-US Open Cocktails and Canapes Party.

The party, which was staged at the Yale Club of New York City, was sponsored by the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the Wuhan Open. Todd Martin, the chief executive of the Hall of Fame, addressed the gathering, while Allaster spoke on behalf of the Wuhan Open.

ITWA, which represents more than 120 of the world’s leading tennis journalists, presents an annual award at the meeting to recognise people or organisations who have been particularly helpful to the tennis media. The Bud Collins Award, which is named after one of ITWA’s most celebrated members, was given this year to ASAP Sports, which provides transcripts of player interviews at tournaments around the world. The award was presented to Peter Paul Balestrieri, ASAP’s founder.

Click here to view photos from the party.

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 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

We look forward to working alongside you all in 2015.

Sebastian Fest and Paul Newman
ITWA co-presidents

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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ITWA

The International Tennis Writers Association was formed in 2000 to represent the select group of journalists who travel the globe, week-in and week-out, covering tennis for the written and broadcast media. ITWA includes members from 18 countries and the coverage they provide brings tennis to millions worldwide. ITWA is committed to working with the sport's governing bodies, tournaments, agents and players both to improve the working conditions of tennis journalists and to gain recognition for the media's vital role in the promotion of the sport.

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