1 December 2023 | Tennis Victoria
The Newcombe Medal is the most prestigious individual award in Australian tennis. It is named in honour of 26-time Grand Slam champion, the great John Newcombe who will present the Newcombe Medal to Australia’s most outstanding player for 2023 at a gala event at the Palladium Crown in Melbourne on Monday 11 December.
The Australian Tennis Awards will also be presented to celebrate the achievements and contributions of tennis clubs, volunteers, officials, coaches, schools, and talented junior players across 13 additional award categories.
Victoria’s Tina Keown, Roisin Gilheany, Antonie Vermaak, Hayden Eastwood and Heath Davidson have been nominated as Australian Tennis Awards finalists.
A standout field of six nominees for the Newcombe Medal has been announced, with Alex de Minaur (NSW), Matt Ebden (WA), Rinky Hijikata (NSW), Storm Hunter (WA), Alexei Popyrin (NSW) and Matt Purcell (NSW) all vying for the honour at the 13th edition of the Australian Tennis Awards.
“The Newcombe Medal, Australian Tennis Awards is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the achievements of our dedicated Australian tennis community,” Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley said.
“2023 has been a remarkable year for Australian tennis with many career best rankings, Grand Slam titles, a new world number 1 and back-to-back Davis Cup finals appearances.
“While we have an outstanding cohort of professional players excelling on and off the court and providing tremendous inspiration to the next generation of Australian players, this special event is also a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge our grassroots tennis community and everyone involved in the delivery of our great sport.
“Tennis clubs, volunteers, officials, coaches, schools and junior rising stars of the game remain at the very heart and soul of tennis in Australia and the Newcombe Medal provides recognition for the invaluable contribution they provide to the health of the game across Australia.
“To be part of the Newcombe Medal, Australian Tennis Awards is a wonderful honour and achievement and I wish all nominees and finalists the very best of luck on the night.”
The 2023 Newcombe Medal nominees:
ALEX DE MINAUR Reaching a career-high singles ranking of world No.11 in 2023, the No.1-ranked Australian is in career best form and knocking on the door of the top 10. De Minaur won his seventh ATP title overall and first at 500 level at the Mexican Open in March and achieved his 200th career win last month. The patriotic De Minaur produced some of his best tennis wearing the green and gold, playing a starring role in Australia’s second consecutive Davis Cup finals appearance. This included a stirring comeback victory from the brink of elimination in the quarterfinal showdown against Czech Republic. This is the fourth Newcombe Medal nomination for De Minaur, who last won the prestigious award alongside Ash Barty in 2018.
ALEXEI POPYRIN has scored three top-10 wins in a career-best season, with his ranking rising from outside the top 100 in March to a high of world No.39 last month. Popyrin won his second ATP singles title on clay at Umag in July and made his top-50 debut in August after reaching his first ATP Masters 1000 quarterfinal at Cincinnati. The 24-year-old featured in Australia’s Davis Cup team last month, his first appearance in the competition since 2021, posting his career-first win in a live Davis Cup rubber by overcoming Finland’s Otto Virtanen in the opening singles match of the semifinals.
MATT EBDEN This is Ebden’s third Newcombe Medal nomination, recognising one of his best years on the ATP Tour. The 36-year-old soared to a career-high doubles ranking of world No.4 during 2023 after becoming the first Australian since 2017 to reach the semifinals at the ATP Finals. In the most successful year of Ebden’s doubles career he reached seven doubles finals, including the US Open and at Indian Wells, where he won his first Masters 1000 title. He also reached the semifinals at Wimbledon.
RINKY HIJIKATA In only his second season on tour, 22-year-old Hijikata has shot up the rankings in both singles and doubles. He started 2023 with a wildcard into the Australian Open, where he recorded his first Grand Slam win, defeating Yannick Hanfmann in a come-from-behind victory. Hijikata had even more success pairing with Jason Kubler to conquer the field and take out their first Grand Slam men’s doubles title, becoming the second consecutive all-Australian champions at their home event. Hijikata made the most of a US Open wildcard, reaching the fourth round which resulted in his top-100 debut. After winning the Japan Open Tennis Championships doubles title with fellow nominee Max Purcell, Hijikata broke into the top 25 in doubles. A previous two-time Male Junior Athlete of the Year, this is Hijikata’s first Newcombe Medal nomination.
STORM HUNTER Australia’s newest world No.1 doubles star, 29-year-old Storm Hunter finished the year in the top spot after reaching the semifinals at the WTA Finals in Cancun in November. Pairing with Belgium’s Elise Mertens, the duo won two WTA 1000 titles at Rome and Guadalajara and were doubles finalists at Wimbledon. Hunter rose above American duo Jessica Pegula and Coco Gauff to hit No.1 in the WTA world doubles rankings and has been rewarded for a consistent season which saw her win 42 of her 56 matches. Hunter is only the third Australian woman – and first since 2007 – to hold the world No.1 ranking in doubles.
MAX PURCELL 25-year-old Purcell made his top-100 singles debut in March after winning three consecutive ATP Challenger titles in India and broke into the top 50 in August after reaching his first ATP Masters 1000 quarterfinal in Cincinnati. Success continued on the doubles court, teaming with fellow nominee Rinky Hijikata to take out his fourth career doubles title at the Japan Open in October, his biggest win since his 2022 Wimbledon triumph with Matt Ebden. This is Purcell’s second Newcombe Medal nomination.
The 2023 Newcombe Medal, Australian Tennis Awards finalists:
Coaching Excellence – Club
Tina Keown (Vic)
Tim Low (QLD)
Helen Rice (SA)
Most Outstanding School
St Joseph’s College (NSW)
Sunshine Coast Grammar School (Qld)
Torrens Valley Christian School (SA)
Junior Athlete of the Year – Male
Charlie Camus (ACT)
Hayden Jones (Qld)
Pavle Marinkov (NSW)
Junior Athlete of the Year – Female
Roisin Gilheany (Vic)
Emerson Jones (Qld)
Taylah Preston (WA)
Coaching Excellence – Development
Clint Fyfe (QLD)
Domenic Marafiote (SA)
Antonie Vermaak (Vic)
Excellence in Officiating
Gary Bigg (Qld)
Casey Jackson (SA)
Glenn Toland (NSW)
Volunteer Achievement Award
Hayden Eastwood (Vic)
Brendon Oliver-Ewen (Tas)
Rod Lang (NSW)
Most Outstanding Athlete with a Disability
Heath Davidson (Vic)
Archie Graham (Qld)
Michael Leigh (NSW)
Most Outstanding Tournament
2023 Queensland Head State Age (Qld)
Seacliff Tennis Club – February JDS (SA)
WorldPride Open Presented by Tennis Sydney (NSW)
Most Outstanding Tennis Club
Golden Grove Tennis Club (SA)
Melba Tennis Club (ACT)
Parkes Tennis Club (NSW)
Most Outstanding 35+ Tennis Senior
Ros Balodis (ACT)
Brendon Lee Moore (NSW)
Martin Richards (SA)
Coaching Excellence – Performance
Darren Cahill (SA)
Mark Draper (Qld)
Jay Gooding (USA)
Spirit of Tennis Award –
To be announced at the Newcombe Medal Awards
Click here to learn more about the 2023 Newcombe Medal.