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Sunday, 11 March, 2001, 03:17 GMT
Award seals Kuerten's dream year
Gustavo Kuerten
Gustavo Kuerten left it late to win the Champions Race
Gustavo Kuerten, who won the inaugural Champions Race, has been named the ATP Player of the Year for 2000 at the Tennis Masters Series in Indian Wells.

The Brazilian took five ATP titles in 2000, including a second Roland Garros crown and a thrilling victory at the Masters Cup in Lisbon, where he secured the world number one spot.

"It was an unbelievable year for me," said Kuerten, who also won the award for Fans' Favourite, determined by fans voting online at ATPtennis.com.

"Winning my first indoor title at the Tennis Masters Cup in Lisbon and finishing the year number one in the world is a dream come true."

Marat Safin, the US Open champion who won an ATP-best seven titles during the year, collected three awards.

The 21-year-old Russian was voted Most Improved Player by his fellow professionals.

BBC honour

He also won the New Balls Please Fans' Choice and ASAP Sports Most Quotable Player of the Year by the International Tennis Writers Association.

Said Safin: "It's a great honor for me to receive any award, but to receive three at once is very special."

Among the other winners were BBC Sport tennis correspondent Iain Carter, who claimed the Ron Bookman Media Excellence Award.

Marat Safin
Triple award-winner Marat Safin
Australian duo Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde collected the award for Doubles Team of the Year, their fifth such honour.

In their final year as a team, the "Woodies" won eight ATP titles including Roland Garros and the Ericsson Open Miami.

Two-time Roland Garros champion Sergi Bruguera became the first person to win the Comeback Player of the Year award for a second time.

The injury-plagued Spaniard rose from number 372 in 1999 to an ATP Champions Race 2000 finish of 84th. Bruguera also won the award in 1997.

Olivier Rochus of Belgium was voted Newcomer of the Year following his first ATP title in Palermo.

Richard Krajicek was named Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year, and Patrick Rafter won the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship award for the second consecutive year, and third time overall.

For a third consecutive year, John McEnroe won ATP Champions Tour Player of the Year honours.

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