Hewett and Evans revel in being crowned joint LTA Men's Player of the Year

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Wheelchair ace Hewett, 23, and British No.1 Evans, 31, claimed the men's award while Heather Watson won the women's prize
Wheelchair ace Hewett, 23, and British No.1 Evans, 31, claimed the men's award while Heather Watson won the women's prize

Wimbledon champion Alfie Hewett says scooping the LTA's Men's Player of the Year Award makes months of gruelling lockdown restrictions finally seem worthwhile.

Wheelchair ace Hewett, 23, was a joint recipient of the prestigious award alongside British No.1 Dan Evans.

Hewett racked up a seventh Grand Slam title in two seasons on Saturday as he and doubles partner Gordon Reid followed up their US, Australian and French Open triumphs with a fourth victory at SW19.

They toppled the Netherlands' Tom Egberink and Belgian Joachim Gerard 7-5 6-2 and Hewett, now a 17-time Grand Slam champion, reckons receiving LTA recognition is the perfect end to a difficult year.

"I know 2020 has been quite a difficult year for the majority of us," said Hewett, who was announced as the winner by LTA Accredited Coach and Advantage Member James Droy at a live-streamed awards ceremony presented by LTA Head of Men's tennis and Great Britain's Davis Cup captain Leon Smith.

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"So it is a real honour to win the Men's 2020 Player of the Year award alongside Dan Evans.

"I would just like to say a massive thank you to everyone who voted for me for this award, whether that be the judges or the fans out there. 

"It is something that is special, I have worked hard and it has been probably one of my best year's on tour, so I am grateful for this and I'm delighted."

Evans, who went down in four sets against American Sebastian Korda in the SW19 last 32, added: "I'm thrilled to be named 2020 Player of the Year along with Alfie. 

"Despite 2020 being such a challenging year, I have had some great results on the court. 

"I would like to say thanks to the judging panel and to everybody who voted."

Heather Watson, the world No.68, claimed the LTA's Women's Player of the Year Award and the 29-year-old said: "Thank you so much for this award and thank you to the panel and all the people that voted. I’m so grateful and happy to receive this award."

The LTA Tennis Awards are now in their sixth year and celebrate the achievements and contributions of outstanding tennis volunteers, coaches, officials, venues and players across the country.

And Hewett was hand-picked as one of 16 national winners recognised at the awards ceremony, which honoured individuals involved in tennis at grassroots, county, regional and national level.

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Hewett, a two-time Paralympic silver medallist in Rio five years ago, followed up his searing Australian and French Open triumphs with another sparkling display with partner in crime Reid on Saturday.

And he's now setting his sights on the Tokyo Games this summer as he bids to go one better than his singles and doubles silvers in Brazil.

LTA Awards nominations were drawn from over 25,000 volunteers, nearly 5,000 coaches and 1,000 officials, 22,000 schools, nearly 3,000 clubs and over 9,000 LTA approved tournaments.

The quality and quantity of the nominations demonstrate outstanding work that has been done in tennis through the pandemic and David Rawlinson, LTA President, said: "The LTA Tennis Awards are a real celebration of the people that make our sport thrive.

"They celebrate the achievements made by outstanding volunteers, coaches, officials, venues and players, who are all vital in helping us to grow the game.

"The past year has been challenging for everyone, but to see the tremendous positive contributions the nominees have made to the sport and to their communities has been tremendously uplifting."

To find out more information about the LTA Tennis Awards or for information on how to play, coach, volunteer or officiate in tennis, head to www.lta.org.uk.

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