London, Dec 16  World number one Novak Djokovic has been named the 2021 ITF World Champion for a record seventh time while Ash Barty won her second crown, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) said on Thursday.

The 34-year-old Djokovic, who enjoyed another sensational year, finishing as the oldest-ever year-end No 1, has now moved ahead of fellow great Pete Sampras (six wins) for most men’s ITF World Champion awards.

The Serbian won the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon this year while he failed to win at the Tokyo Olympics and the US Open final in his quest for a rare golden slam.

“After such a rewarding year for me, my team, family and fans it is a great honour to be named the ITF World Champion for the seventh time,” Djokovic said.

“I am very grateful and proud for the results I’ve achieved and fortunate I had a chance to compete for the Serbian national team, too,” he added.

Meanwhile, the 25-year-old women’s World number one Barty, who won her first Wimbledon title this year and a bronze medal at the Olympics in mixed doubles, previously won the award in 2019.

“Being the ITF World Champion in 2021 is something I am very proud of. I feel fortunate to play the sport I love for a living, especially in a year that was challenging and unpredictable for so many. I want to thank my team and my family for everything they do and a huge thank you to tennis fans around the world for continuing to support us,” the Australian said.

Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic were named 2021 ITF World Champions in men’s doubles after a hugely successful season. Whereas, Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova won the women’s doubles award for a second time.

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