Raonic, Marino and Nestor Named Canada’s Best in 2011

Tennis Canada handed out its annual Excellence Awards this week following a breakthrough season for Canadian tennis in 2011.

Milos Raonic won three awards including Male Player of the Year, Male Singles Player of the Year and Most Improved Male Player. The 20-year-old enjoyed the greatest year on record for a Canadian male singles player. Raonic won his first ATP title in San Jose and improved his ranking more than 100 spots, reaching a career-high mark of no. 25 on May 2.

“My goal is to continue to grow and get better and hopefully be a role model to those back home following me,” Raonic said. I’m hoping that some of my success will inspire young kids in Canada to pick up a racquet and get involved in the sport.”

Doubles legend Daniel Nestor was named Doubles Player of the Year for an eleventh consecutive year. There is little that the 39-year-old has not accomplished on a tennis court and he continued to build his Hall of Fame credentials in 2011. With his new partner Max Mirnyi, Nestor captured his seventh Grand Slam at the French Open, winning his 800th match en route, and also lifted a second consecutive and fourth overall Barclays ATP World Tour Finals championship – his 75th career title.

Rebecca Marino also notched three awards in recognition of her standout season. The 20-year-old was named Female Player of the Year for the second consecutive year after a 2011 that included reaching her maiden WTA final in Memphis, advancing to the third round at the French Open and earning her first Top 15 victory over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. After finishing the 2010 season ranked No. 101, Marino improved by 63 spots to attain her career-high of No. 38, before ending the year at No. 64. Like Raonic, she also took home the awards for Singles Player of the Year and Most Improved Player on the women’s side.

“It was a really big year for me with a lot of firsts and a huge learning curve,” commented Marino. “I’m currently working really hard on my off-season training and am really looking forward to starting the 2012 season and hopefully building on my success from this past year.”

The Tennis Canada Excellence Awards are selected by a committee comprised of high-ranking Tennis Canada personnel and the country’s top national coaches. The remaining awards for junior, wheelchair and senior players will be announced in the New Year.