The 2011 season has just started and we're already thinking about the year-end rankings. Our friend John Bolan used a number of indicators to calculate how the Top 10 will look at the end of 2011. Isn't this a perfect time to get playful and test our projection abilities?
My friends and I play a game each year before the new tennis season begins: "Name the Top 10 players in order at the end of the year". We all have favorites, but I try to use a little logic in the picks.
First, see where the players finished this year. Then think about which good players have been injured for long periods during 2010. Finally, consider how many points players have to lose. Players with many points now must play better than players with fewer points to retain their ranking. Of course we all have personal favorites and think that different players will either rise or sink in the rankings.
My pick for number 1, Victoria Azarenka, has a combination of all the above factors – she has been injured, has fewer points to lose than anyone else in the Top 10, and is definitely a rising young star. Number 2, Justine Henin, and number 3, Maria Sharapova, also fit in the same mold.
One can’t forget to rank the Top 3 players from 2010. Kim Clijsters, Caroline Wozniacki and Vera Zvonareva are my next 3 picks. Although they have many points to subtract, they are the best 3 players in 2010.
Number 7 is Yanina Wickmayer. She is young and very strong. 2011 will be her breakout year.
Dinara Safina has very few points to lose, has been injured all 2010 and has more to prove than any other player. She will be back in the Top 10. Dinara is also my pick for a comeback player of the year 2011.
Ana Ivanovic is determined. She is working very hard.
In the last spot is Jelena Jankovic who will be steadier in 2011 and hold onto her Top 10 ranking.
There is no expectation on my part that any of you will agree with me on these picks! That is why we play the game! So use the comments and make your picks!
It will be interesting to get back to these projections when the 2011 season finishes. The time will come before we know it! (photos: Karla St John, John Bolan)