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Samantha Stosur awarded Newcombe Medal

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Samantha Stosur was awarded the Newcombe Medal for a third consecutive year at the gala Newcombe Medal, Australian Tennis Awards at Crown Palladium in Melbourne tonight. The Queenslander, 28, received the accolade for being Australia's most outstanding player in 2012. Australian tennis legend John Newcombe presented Stosur, the current world No. 9, with the medal.

Stosur is the first Australian woman since Wendy Turnbull to finish in the world top 10 three years running.

The Newcombe Medal is the premier award on a night that recognises service to tennis at all levels - clubs, coaches, players, volunteers, community and officials.

"Receiving the Newcombe Medal for a third year in a row is an amazing honour," said Stosur, who captured the hearts of Australians last year when she defeated Serena Williams to win the 2011 US Open, her first Grand Slam singles title.

"The Newcombe Medal is a great occasion for the Australian tennis community to come together and celebrate our sport, recognise people's achievements and contributions to Australian tennis.

"I think it's great that the Australian tennis community continues to recognise the hard work of its members, who make the growth of our sport possible for the longevity of tennis in our country," Stosur continued.

The other finalists for this prestigious Award category were Australia's new No.1 male player Marinko Matosevic, along with former world No.1 Lleyton Hewitt and 2011 French Open mixed doubles champion Casey Dellacqua.

Another highlight of the evening was the presentation of the President's Spirit of Tennis Award to Ian Barclay (Park Orchards, Vic) for his contribution to the sport. Barclay is best known as the coach who guided Pat Cash from 11-year-old schoolboy to Wimbledon champion. His career stretches over five decades and during that time he has coached hundreds of talented young players.

Barclay now works as a coach mentor with Australia's network of talent development coaches where he continues his involvement with the establishment of our next generation of champions.

Australian Open 2011 junior boys' champion, Luke Saville (Barmera, SA), was also recognised as Male Junior Athlete of the Year, and Ashleigh Barty (Springfield, Qld) received the Female Junior Athlete of the Year accolade for a third consecutive year, recognising her achievement in winning four ITF titles and a rankings rise of more than 600 places since January.