5 Most Successful Women Tennis Players of the Last Decade
A number of extremely talented women have delighted tennis fans with their general brilliance over the past decade. These are the top five players that have impressed on a consistent basis and secured a great deal of silverware along the way:
Williams stunned the world when she announced that she had been pregnant during her Australian Open triumph in January 2017. That was her 23rd Grand Slam victory, leaving her just one behind Margaret Court in the list of the most successful players of all time. Williams did not drop a single set en route to the final, where she beat her sister 6-4, 6-4 to clinch the trophy.
It capped an astonishing seven-year spell of dominance for the American superstar, during which she won 12 Grand Slams and an Olympic gold medal. She also spent 236 weeks as world number one, including 186 consecutive weeks. Williams was out of action for almost 18 months after that Australian Open success in 2017. She gave birth to Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. and recovered from an intense labour in time to return to action in mid-2018.
Williams has not yet been able to add to her haul of Grand Slams after returning to the tour, but she has reached four finals. She needs just one more to move level with Court and cement her status as the greatest player of all time, and everyone is rooting for her to achieve that feat. Her dominance during the 2010s was undeniable – she won 368 matches and 37 singles titles, which is way more than anyone else – and she will bid to continue that supremacy now that tennis has returned following the coronavirus lockdown.
The German burst onto the scene with a run to the semi-finals of the US Open in 2011. That provided the perfect springboard for an assault on the top tier of the women’s game, and went on to enjoy a very successful decade.
Kerber reached her first Grand Slam final in 2016 and she was the huge underdog against the mighty Serena Williams. However, her athletic counterpunching style caused the American all manner of problems, and Kerber ended up securing a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 victory.
The women met again in the Wimbledon final that year, and Williams prevailed in straight sets. Yet Kerber was undeterred, and she battled her way into the US Open final a few months later. She beat Karolina Pliskova to clinch a second Grand Slam, and then won a third in 2018 when she beat Williams in straight sets in the Wimbledon final.
Kerber won 12 titles between 2011 and 2019 and racked up $29 million in prize money, making her the second highest earning player of the past decade. She also earned a silver medal at the Rio Olympics, and spent several months at the top of the world rankings.
The popular Romanian star made her WTA debut in April 2010 and played in her first Grand Slam a few months later. She enjoyed a steady upward trajectory over the ensuing decade and then topped the world rankings in 2017 following a number of impressive victories.
She reached her first Grand Slam final at the 2018 Australian Open, where she lost a tight three-set match to Caroline Wozniacki. Yet she remained on an upward curve, and obliterated all of her rivals to reach the French Open final a few months later. Halep was a set and a break down to Sloane Stephens, but she staged a stirring comeback to seize her first Grand Slam.
She went on to face Serena Williams in the Wimbledon final in 2019, and she produced one of the most devastating performances in history to win the match in under an hour. Halep dropped just two games in each set, and committed only three unforced errors in the entire match, the fewest ever recorded in a Grand Slam final.
She won her 20th WTA title at Dubai earlier this year, and she will be among the favourites in the exciting tennis prices when she is next back in action.
The Czech has been a model of consistency over the past decade. Seven other players won two Grand Slams during the 2010s – Kim Clijsters, Victoria Azarenka, Li Na, Maria Sharapova, Garbine Muguruza, Naomi Osaka and Halep – but Kvitova stands out as one of the real stars of the decade.
She has regularly been in the top 10 in the world over the past 10 years. She won Wimbledon twice and clinched victory at the 2011 WTA Finals, while she also won 26 singles titles on tour. Yet perhaps her greatest achievement is overcoming a serious hand injury she received when her house was burgled in 2016.
That forced her to spend several months out of the game, but she has since reached the final of the 2019 Australian Open. She is still just 30 years old, and there is still time to add to her impressive medal haul.
Wozniacki was the year-end number one in both 2010 and 2011 and she won a number of big singles titles during the past 10 years. However, a Grand Slam title continued to elude her, and many felt she would never get that monkey off her back.
Yet the Dane proved her detractors wrong when she got the better of Halep to win the Australian Open in 2018. Clijsters and Osaka may have won more Grand Slams than her, but the Belgian did not play between 2012 and 2020, while Osaka is still just 22 years old.
Sharapova’s decade was overshadowed by a drugs ban, and overall Wozniacki has been more consistent than Azarenka, Na and Muguruza, who has shone in quick bursts and then faded. Wozniacki was a real workhorse, winning 24 WTA titles in the past decade, including the 2017 WTA Finals.
She is fifth in the all time list of WTA prize money leaders, behind only the Williams sisters, Sharapova and Halep. The Dane retired in early 2020, and she can look back on a superb career.
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