Women represent strength, power, and determination. It makes sense that they would surpass all expectations and social mores in sports. Since the dawn of time, women have had a significant presence in the sport of tennis.
Today, more than ever before, the women's game is increasingly competitive and filled with top-class talent. The rise of social media has enabled us to get an insight into players' lives like never before, while the continued growth of streaming services means that you can watch almost any match anywhere in the world. So with that in mind, we compiled a list of 5 female tennis players who are playing at the top level.
You will see three key themes as you read through this list. First, this is a transitional year in tennis as the current generation of stars will be replaced by the next generation. With that in mind, you'll see that several of our selections are either young players on their way up or old players on their way out.
The second key theme is that this is a year when the Big Three in women's tennis are likely to be challenged for the first time. Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka, Wimbledon champion Ashleigh Barty, and US Open champion Halep have all enjoyed a great run of form in recent months.
If you are a fan of women's tennis and haven't been paying close attention, this could be when you fall in love with the sport all over again. After succeeding the departed Ashleigh Barty earlier this year, Iga Swiatek is still ranked as the world's top athlete. Since then, the 21-year-old Pole has been virtually unstoppable, amassing a sizable lead at the top of the rankings.
Since Wimbledon could not award ranking points, Swiatek wasn't penalized for her unexpected early exit. Aryna Sabalenka and Simona Halep have switched places within the top 10 in the most recent rankings update.
The WTA awards are based on a player's performance in specific tournaments, and this information is used to compile the global rankings for women's tennis. A player will receive extra points for moving forward in a sanctioned event. Grand slams award the most points, with the champion receiving 2000 and the runner-up receiving 1200. Rankings are updated weekly, and points earned in each competition are valid for a year.
Here are the top 5 women's tennis players who have left an indelible mark:
In 2018, 15-year-old Coco Gauff made a big impression by defeating Venus Williams in her Grand Slam debut. She won the 2021 Emilia-Romagna Open and concluded the 2021 season ranked 22 in the world.
With her accomplishments on clay, the 17-year-old won over everyone. She advanced to the semifinals of the Italian Open and the French Open's 2021 quarterfinals. Gauff most definitely has a chance to win a Major the following year. Gauff has won two singles titles on the WTA Tour, five doubles titles, one single title, and one double title on the ITF Tour.
Daria Kasatkina was a little older than Ana Konjuh when she turned pro in 2016, but she has been even more dominant in 2019. The 25-year-old Russian has won three WTA singles titles this year, including two Premier-level titles at Indian Wells and Miami. Her Miami title was her first Premier-level victory; Indian Wells was her second Premier-level victory in three tournaments at that level.
Kasatkina has also been remarkably consistent in significant events, making the semifinals or better at the Australian Open, French Open, and Wimbledon. Her overall record in 2019 is a ridiculous 66-4, which is the best mark for any player on the WTA Tour this year.
This year, Ons Jabeur made history as she became the first Arab woman to reach the top 10 in the WTA rankings. The star from Tunisia advanced to the pre-quarterfinals at Roland Garros and made it to Wimbledon's quarterfinals.
Jabeur sustained an injury at the 2021 Kremlin Cup and could not compete at the WTA Finals. However, she completed the year ranked 10th worldwide and won a WTA championship in Birmingham. She is probably one of the favorites to win a Slam this year, having one of the highest win percentages in 2021.
If you are a tennis fan whose attention has been focused on the women's game for the past few years, you might have missed Laura Robson's ascent to the top of the game. The 28-year-old from Britain has climbed from the very bottom of the rankings to #38 in just two years. Both tragedy and triumph have defined Robson's star-studded career. An eating disorder almost derailed her promising young career, and she had to take a year-long break from the game to recover from knee surgery. Robson has proven to be remarkably resilient, and she is finally on the verge of making a return to the top of the game.
She recently completed the semifinals of the Pan-American Championships, her best showing at a WTA event in almost two years. In the latter stages of her career, Robson required several hip surgeries, which again left her sidelined for the last three years. As a result, the 28-year-old announced her retirement from competitive tennis in 2022.
Ashleigh Barty is a former world #1 in junior tennis. She has won three WTA singles titles and reached the semifinals of multiple Grand Slam events. She has also won two WTA doubles titles and an Olympic gold medal. At just 26 years old, Barty is one of the most accomplished players in the history of women's tennis.
The Australian has been at the top of the game throughout this decade and is still contending for titles. She won the Australian Open in January and reached the semifinals of the French Open in May.
Barty is an Australian Open champion and a three-time Grand Slam singles champion. She and CoCo Vandeweghe won the 2018 US Open in doubles, becoming her a Grand Slam doubles champion as well. On the WTA Tour, Barty won 12 doubles titles and 15 single titles.
The women's game is at a fascinating stage right now. There is a changing of the guard coming, with some of the top-ranked women approaching their mid-30s. At the same time, we are seeing a new wave of young talent taking the game to new heights. This is a great time to be a fan of women's tennis, and this list is a great place to start. Follow womenwire.com for more articles on women empowerment and sports.