Last year our great contributor John Bolan merged his courage and talent for tennis predictions and shared with us as early as in January how he thought the season-ending WTA Top 10 would look like. And that wasn't all. He asked you to join him in predictions and James, the reader who turned out to be the best predictor, was awarded an autograph of a WTA star.
As we all enjoyed the little project, we decided to repeat it this year. John has made his 2013 predictions (I have to say that he sent me the finished article way before New Year's Eve and before the WTA action started, but I was a bit slow in putting it up together!), and you are more than welcome to comment on John's picks, to share your own Top 10 selection in the comments below this article and then we get to wait for the season to finish to see how we all fared. The best predictor will win an autograph of a Top 10 WTA player, so there's even an incentive to take some time and employ your foretelling skills! Now I'm giving the word to John!
It isn't easy to predict the Top 10 players for 2013 this early, but these are my choices for the end of 2013:
1. Maria Sharapova
2. Victoria Azarenka
3. Agnieszka Radwanska
4. Serena Williams
5. Li Na
6. Caroline Wozniacki
7. Samantha Stosur
8. Petra Kvitova
9. Sara Errani
10. Angelique Kerber
I have tried my best to keep personal preferences out of my thoughts while choosing these players. Instead, I checked out the most recent head-to-head matches, the number of tournaments played the past two years and injury reports. Injuries always have a big effect on the outcome of the Top 10. Vera Zvonareva and Andrea Petkovic are not included because they remain out of action and will not play in Australia this year.
The fact is Maria Sharapova was better than Victoria Azarenka at the end of the 2012 season. Those two were the top ranked players in 2012 and should remain at the top of the rankings in 2013, only in reverse order. Agnieszka Radwanska just can't beat Azarenka, but she defeats everyone else. She loves to play and will enter most tournaments again in 2013.
Where do we put Serena? Her history shows she plays the least number of tournaments of all Top 10 players. The injury factor has already come into play. She waited until December to have medical procedures performed on both big toes. This wasn't planned as she was forced to cancel an exhibition match. I'm putting her in fourth place, my lucky number, because the Top 3 will play in many more tournaments and play very consistent tennis.
Li Na moves up this to #5 year with the help of her new coach, Carlos Rodriguez. Caroline Wozniacki also improves to #6 as she adjusts to her new life with the world’s #1 golfer. Samantha Stosur and Petra Kvitova will remain in the Top 10 despite their nerves and sometimes inconsistency. Sara Errani and Angelique Kerber will prove 2012 was no fluke and they really belong in the Top 10.
Once again, most of you will disagree with my picks. Go ahead and use the comment section to make your own picks. If yours are the closest to the actual 2013 final rankings, you will receive an autographed picture of a Top 10 player. Best of luck!
Only comments received by January 14th will be taken into account.