Tennis-Djokovic crowned ITF world champion for record seventh time

FILE PHOTO: Tennis - Davis Cup Semi-Finals - Serbia v Croatia - La Caja Magica, Madrid, Spain - December 3, 2021 Serbia
FILE PHOTO: Tennis - Davis Cup Semi-Finals - Serbia v Croatia - La Caja Magica, Madrid, Spain - December 3, 2021 Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates winning his match against Croatia's Marin Cilic REUTERS/Susana Vera

(Reuters) - Men's world number one Novak Djokovic has been named the 2021 ITF world champion for a record seventh time while women's number one Ash Barty has picked up her second crown, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) said on Thursday.

Djokovic, who finished the year as number one for a record seventh time, won the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon while he fell short at the Tokyo Olympics and the U.S. Open final in his quest for a rare golden slam.

The Serb was tied with American great Pete Sampras on six wins for the title first awarded in 1978. 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.

"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."

Djokovic is tied with Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer on 20 Grand Slams and could make the record his own if he wins next month's Australian Open - a tournament he has won a record nine times.

Croatian duo Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic were named ITF men's doubles world champions after winning nine titles this season, while Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova won the women's doubles award for a second time.

"It has been an incredible year for us - Wimbledon, Olympics, nine titles, year end number one and now first Croatian pair ever to be named ITF World Champions," Pavic said.

"It's something special and we're very happy about it."

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Giles Elgood)

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