The inaugural SDA award winners were revealed during the first event of the SDA Pro Tour’s fourth season—the 2015 Maryland Club Open.
The awards were voted on by the tour professionals and presented during an on-court ceremony in between semifinals Saturday night.
Andrew Cordova, Maryland Club Open tournament director and one of the founders of the SDA tour four years ago, accepted the Tournament of the Year award on behalf of the Maryland Club in front of a standing ovation from the packed gallery.
“Selfishly speaking, it’s a great honor to be on court with these players tonight,” said Cordova during his acceptance speech. “I’ll remember this forever, it’s a great honor that we’re all receiving something on the same night. I’m the only non-player, but I don’t care, it’s going in the books. Thank you very much, they’re all really well deserved so congratulations to everyone.
“This is very much a team award. Everyone in this gallery has contributed to the event every year. Without the support of everyone here at the club, we couldn’t make a greater tournament year to year to constantly create, make new things happen—from the video to the site—everything has been a progression over time. Thank you for empowering me, and all of us working together as a team. This is for all of us.”
Perennial world No. 1’s Damien Mudge & Ben Gould received the team of the year award based on their eight titles and 28-3 record in 2014-2015. John Russell received player of the year after winning the Word title and Big Apple Open last year with partner Clive Leach.
Canadians Robin Clark & Scott Arnold earned Rookies of the Year following their debut third-place finish at the Bentley in Toronto, and their maiden title at the Pittsburgh Challenger.
Jonny Smith was voted for the Sportsmanship Award for his exemplary demeanor, and Maryland Club semifinalist Chris Callis earned the Most Improved Player award after improving his world ranking to world No. 17 from world No. 33.
2014-2015 SDA Awards:
Tournament of the Year: Maryland Club Open
Team of the Year: Damien Mudge & Ben Gould
Player of the Year: John Russell
Rookies of the Year: Robin Clark & Scott Arnold
Sportsmanship Award: Jonny Smith
Most Improved Award: Chris Callis