Klizan, Janowicz among ATP newcomers in 2012

Martin Klizan, who reached the fourth round of the U.S. Open, was named ATP Newcomer of the Year for 2012. Klizan came out on top in a group of contenders that also included Paris finalist Jerzy Janowicz.

Newcomer of the Year: Martin Klizan. Having won only six ATP matches in his career prior to 2012, Klizan started the season at No. 117 in the world. He won four Challenger tournaments before graduating to the big show at the U.S. Open, where he upset Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on his way to the fourth round. The 23-year-old Slovak captured his first ATP title on the indoor hard courts of St. Petersburg in October, helping him finish in the Top 30.

Martin Klizan

Other nominees:

David Goffin– The baby-faced Belgian started 2012 with two career ATP match victories. He more than doubles that total at Grand Slams alone before ending the season with 19. Goffin reached the fourth round of the French Open as a lucky loser, tested Roger Federer in an entertaining four-setter, then made it to the third round at Wimbledon. He rose from 174th to No. 46 in the world rankings.

David Goffin

Jerzy Janowicz – One tournament does not a season make…unless you’re Jerzy Janowicz. Ranked 221st to begin the year, the powerful Pole will be seeded for the Australian Open thanks almost entirely to a hard-to-believe run to the Paris final, which included an upset of Andy Murray. Nobody will remember anything else, but Janowicz also reached the third round at Wimbledon.

Andrey Kuznetsov – Kuznetsov was just about on pace with Janowicz…until Paris, of course. The 21-year-old Russian dominated the Challenger circuit to spark his climb from No. 222 in the world to No. 78. He won four Challenger titles (plus two Futures tournaments), including three straight in September. However, Kuznetsov has by no means taken a step to the next level (he won only two ATP matches in 2012).

Other possibilities: Aljaz Bedene, Evgeny Donskoy, Guillaume Rufin, Igor Sijsling

Who should have won? Goffin. The four nominees were far and away the best of the bunch, with Klizan, Goffin, and Janowicz the elite three of that group. Goffin should have taken home the honor due to Grand Slam prowess and consistent results almost entirely at the ATP level. That being said, Klizan and Janowicz climbed the highest and Klizan did it thanks to a lot more than just one miracle tournament.

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