U.S. Open singles tennis champions Rafael Nadal and Kim Clijsters were named Male and Female Athlete of the Month for September by the United States Sports Academy.
At age 24 Nadal, the three-time Athlete of the Month selection for 2010, has nine grand slam titles, more than halfway to Roger Federer’s 16 trophies. The Spaniard’s ninth title came when he beat Novak Djokovic 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 in the finals of the U.S. Open in Flushing, N.Y.
Clijsters, from Belgium, won her second consecutive and third career U.S. Open title by defeating Vera Zvonareva in 59 minutes, 6-2, 6-1, in the finals.
NBA star Kevin Durant finished second to Nadal in the male balloting. The Oklahoma City Thunder forward scored 38 in the quarterfinals, 33 in the semifinals and 28 in the finals to earn MVP honors in the World Basketball Championships.
Finishing second to Clijsters was Amelie Caze of France. Caze won her third world pentathlon championship in China when she easily beat Donata Rimsaite of Lithuania, who placed second, and Olympic Champion Lena Schoneborn of Germany.
The third-place finisher on the male ballot was distance runner Leonard Patrick Komon of Kenya. The 22-year-old clocked a world-record 26:44 in the 10 kilometers at the ABN AMRO Singel loop in Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Australian basketball player Lauren Jackson finished third on the women’s side after the Seattle Storm’s forward/center became the fourth player to win the WNBA MVP and Finals MVP in the same season. She finished 4th in the league in scoring, 6th in rebounds and 5th in blocks.
The public is invited to participate in the worldwide Athlete of the Month nominating and balloting processes. Visit the Academy website and submit your vote, and return to the website the first week of each month to vote on the Athlete of the Month. Winners will be announced on the Academy’s website and in the online edition of the Academy Update.