For the ninth year in a row, my friend John Bolan is predicting the season-ending Top 10 WTA ranking for the coming year and he is again asking you to join him in his predictions. Write your 2019 season-ending WTA Top 10 in the comments below this article and the best predictor will win an autographed picture of one of your favorite women’s tennis players next December. Now I’m giving the word to John.
Who do you think the Top 10 players will be when the 2019 season is over? The answer isn’t easy. Emman Damian, our best predictor in 2018, only had 7 out of 10 correct picks.
Making my selection, I looked at the most recent head-to-head stats, the number of tournaments played, the injury reports, possible comebacks, coaching and personal situations. Having babies, as well as the wear and tear from playing 15 years or more always have a big effect on the outcome of the Top 10. This year will be the second year of great young players taking over the top ranks of the WTA. My picks include only one player over the age of 30.
It may be of interest to know the players I did not choose. This time in my Top 10 picks you won’t find long-time favorites such as Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams, Dominika Cibulkova, Venus Williams, Petra Kvitova, Simona Halep and Victoria Azarenka. Tennis is a tough sport and bodies only hold up so long. It is increasingly difficult to play at the top year after year, since players accumulate injuries and must play through pain.
For the second year in a row, Elina Svitolina is my pick for the No.1 player. Her dominance in the WTA Finals convinced me to pick her again at the top spot. Eight of my picks were included in the Top 10 in 2018 and will continue their excellent play during 2019. The best two young players who should move into Top 10 are 20-year-old Aryna Sabalenka and 22-year-old Ashleigh Barty. Both just missed the Top 10 in 2018, finishing 13th and 15th, respectively.
My Top 10 choices for the end of 2019
1. Elina Svitolina
2. Naomi Osaka
3. Sloane Stephens
4. Angelique Kerber
5. Karolina Pliskova
6. Aryna Sabalenka
7. Daria Kasatkina
8. Kiki Bertens
9. Caroline Wozniacki
10. Ashleigh Barty
Once again, I realize many of you think differently about who will be Top 10 players in 2019. This is your chance to make your opinion known. Please use the comment section to make your own picks. If yours are the most accurate compared to the actual final rankings in December 2019, you will receive an autographed picture of one of your favorite players. Please note you must make your choices and enter the contest before January 1, 2019. Good luck – you will need it!