For the third straight year Women's Tennis Blog's regular contributor John Bolan is brave enough to share with the world his WTA year-end ranking predictions. Quite a daring feat in the unstable world of women's tennis! Plus, John is traditionally providing an award to the best predictor among you. Comments received by January 1st, 2014 will be eligible for the prize. I'm giving the word to John, he'll further explain everything!
Please join me in predicting the Top 10 for 2014! Who do you think the Top 10 players will be at the end of 2014? I don’t think it will be as easy as in 2013 to pick the Top 10 for the coming year. If your picks are the most accurate, you will win an autographed picture of one of your favorite players.
There is no question Serena must be picked number one. She was unbeatable in 2013 – the best year of her career. She has focused on her game since her serious illness and is dedicated to her career. I believe she is thinking about her legacy and her standing among the greats, the very top female players of all time. The statistics show her now to be the fifth best all-time player. In 2014 she could easily move up to third place on the statistical all-time list.
As usual, I looked at the most recent head-to-head matches, the number of tournaments played, the injury reports, possible comebacks, coaching and personal situations. Injuries always have a big effect on the outcome of the Top 10. This year I did not include Vera Zvonareva and Andrea Petkovic, who are coming off serious injuries, because of the difficulty of coming back and the higher chance of re-injury occurring. I was unsure if I should include Maria Sharapova because she is so prone to injury and her right shoulder has been so heavily abused over the years.
Li Na will be the top contender for Serena’s crown. My top six picks are the best players in the WTA, and they should continue their dominance over the up-and-comers. The best two of these up-and-comers are Simona Halep and Sabine Lisicki. Halep just missed the Top 10 in 2013, finishing 11th and only missing the Top 10 by less than 200 ranking points. Lisicki finished 15th in 2013 and should have made the Top 10 before this, but injuries have kept her down. The two defensive wizards – Caroline Wozniacki and Jelena Jankovic – should remain in the Top 10.
These are my Top 10 choices for the end of 2014:
1. Serena Williams
2. Li Na
3. Victoria Azarenka
4. Maria Sharapova
5. Agnieszka Radwanska
6. Petra Kvitova
7. Simona Halep
8. Caroline Wozniacki
9. Jelena Jankovic
10. Sabine Lisicki
Once again, I realize many of you will disagree with my picks. Errani, Kerber, Stephens, Ivanovic, Suarez Navarro, Stosur, Flipkens, Makarova and some others are capable of a Top 10 finish. Please use the comment section to make your own picks. If yours are the most accurate compared to the actual 2014 final rankings, you will receive an autographed picture of one of your favorite players. Good luck – remember I only missed one in 2013!!!