Aussie rewarded for top year with WTA award
Russian-born Aussie Daria Gavrilova has been acknowledged for her breakthrough 2015 season by being named WTA Newcomer of the Year.
The 21-year-old, who was born in Moscow but now calls Melbourne home, became a naturalised Australian late last month.
After starting the year ranked at No.233, victories over several big names including Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic and Lucie Safarova saw her finish at a career-high 36.
"Great news to wake up to!!!!!! Thank you everyone for voting!!! It means so much!," she said after learning of her award.
Gavrilova, now coached by former leading Australian player Nicole Pratt, wants to play Federation Cup for Australia and will team up with Nick Kyrgios at next month's Hopman Cup in Perth. Australia will have two teams in that tournament with Lleyton Hewitt to partner Jarmila Gajdosova.
Other WTA award winners included Serena and Venus Williams, Timea Bacsinszky, Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza.
After winning three majors during the year, it was no surprise Serena took out the player of the year award, while sister Venus, 35, won the comeback player of the year award after regaining a spot in the top 10.
Hingis and Mirza took out team of the year after winning nine doubles titles, including Wimbledon and the US Open, while Bacsinszky, who made the semi-finals at the French Open and quarters at Wimbledon, won most-improved player.