As we’re heading into the 2017 season, it’s time for us to continue our tradition of year-end Top 10 predictions. Just as in the past six years, my friend John Bolan will share his Top 10 WTA year-end ranking forecast, while you’re invited to tell us your projected Top 10 in the comments below. The best predictor will win a WTA autograph of choice from our collection!
Predicting the Top 10 for 2016 was difficult. There were big surprises with Dominika Cibulkova making the Top 5 and Johanna Konta making the Top 10. Also, who would have thought Maria Sharapova would receive a doping ban, Victoria Azarenka would get pregnant and Petra Kvitova would not finish in the Top 10. Now, looking forward, it seems 2017 is going to be a much easier year for predictions.
First, I chose the players who deserved consideration for the 2017 Top 10 and, surprisingly, there were only 13 players in that group. Every player who finished in the Top 10 for 2016 deserved a chance to again finish on top for 2017. Who else? Petra Kvitova, until her injury and burglar attack, was a sure pick since she finished 2016 a very close 11th. Maria Sharapova who will be back in April and has proven once before she can finish in the Top 10 while missing four months of the year. The best young player, Elina Svitolina, ranked 14th in 2016 rounds out my 13 finalists.
Of course, we all have personal favorites. Your heart, not just your brain, joins in the decision. Choosing 10 players from my 13 finalist was very difficult and in the end, my heart helped me choose. My friends, Dominika Cibulkova, Elina Svitolina and Svetlana Kuznetsova deserve to be included. My brain also told me all three played great the last part of the year. I witnessed Elina’s win over Serena at the Olympics, Domi won the WTA Finals, Svetlana won the last big 2016 tournament in Moscow and famously cut off her hair before reaching the semifinals at Singapore.
Here are my Top 10 choices for 2017:
1. Serena Williams
2. Karolina Pliskova
3. Angelique Kerber
4. Agnieszka Radwanska
5. Madison Keys
6. Simona Halep
7. Dominika Cibulkova
8. Svetlana Kuznetsova
9. Maria Sharapova
10. Elina Svitolina
In 2017, the number one spot is no longer just for Serena, as Angelique proved in 2016. Serena’s age and injuries have leveled the playing field. Any of the thirteen players mentioned could finish number one, but I’m going with the veteran who still plays with the most determination, Serena Williams. She has proven to all she is the best player ever.
Of the other players, Karolina Plishkova has the best chance of being number one. She hits harder than Serena and has many more aces than any other player. She beat Serena in the last Grand Slam and now has the experience and poise on center court to be the champion.
There is no expectation on my part you will agree with me on these picks! You get to make your picks in the comment section. The winner will be the fan who is the most accurate predictor compared to the 2017 year-end WTA rankings. That fan will receive an autographed picture of a favorite player. Good luck!
The competition closes on December 31st, 2016. Comments submitted after that day will not be eligible for the prize.