The 15 players to finish as WTA year-end No 1 as Iga Swiatek ends second-straight year on top

Iga Światek wins WTA Finals in Cancun

There have been 29 players who have ascended to the peak of the WTA Rankings, with 10 of the women who have reached world No 1 currently active.

Chris Evert was the first player to ever be ranked No 1 on the WTA Tour, while current No 2 Aryna Sabalenka became the latest to climb to top spot after the 2023 US Open.

Here, we count down the 15 players who have ended a season as world No 1 since the WTA Rankings were introduced in 1975.

15. Iga Swiatek

Iga Swiatek is the 15th and most recent player to have finished a season as the WTA world No 1, having ended each of the last two years on top. The four-time Major winner reached top position in the WTA Rankings for the first time in April 2022 following previous No 1 Ashleigh Barty’s shock retirement from tennis.

The 22-year-old, a 17-time WTA titlist, finished an amazing 2022 season a staggering 6,030 points clear of world No 2 Ons Jabeur, before edging Aryna Sabalenka to repeat the feat in 2023.

14. Ashleigh Barty

Ashleigh Barty finished as the year-end No 1 in three consecutive seasons in 2019, 2020 and 2021, with Karolina Pliskova, Simona Halep and Sabalenka ending these respective campaigns in second position.

The three-time Grand Slam champion rose to the top of the WTA Rankings for the first time in June 2019, shortly after her maiden Major victory at Roland Garros. The 27-year-old Australian, who won 15 WTA titles, retired in March 2022.

13. Simona Halep

Prior to Barty, Simona Halep ended both 2017 and 2018 as the top-ranked player on the WTA Tour, ahead of Garbine Muguruza in the former and Angelique Kerber in the latter.

The 32-year-old Romanian, who is currently unable to compete due to a doping suspension, reached world No 1 for the first time in October 2017. Halep is a two-time Major champion and winner of 24 titles overall.

12. Angelique Kerber 

Angelique Kerber finished 2016 as the world No 1, ahead of Serena Williams in second, having secured both the Australian Open and US Open titles that year.

The German, who also won Wimbledon in 2018, climbed to the top of the WTA Rankings for the first time in September 2016. The 35-year-old, a 14-time WTA titlist, is set to make her return to the tour in 2024 following the birth of her first child earlier this year.

11. Victoria Azarenka 

Victoria Azarenka was the year-end No 1 in 2012 – a season during which she won the Australian Open and was a runner-up at the US Open. She edged No 2 Maria Sharapova, who remarkably never ended a season as world No 1 in her career.

The Belarusian, who defended her Australian Open title in 2013, first topped the Rankings in January 2012. She is a winner of 21 WTA titles.

10. Caroline Wozniacki 

Caroline Wozniacki ended both the 2010 and 2011 seasons as the top-ranked WTA player, finishing ahead of Vera Zvonareva and Petra Kvitova respectively, despite not winning a Major during either year.

The 33-year-old, who reached world No 1 for the first time in October 2010, won her maiden Grand Slam title at the 2018 Australian Open. The Dane, a 30-time titlist on the WTA Tour, came out of retirement to return to tennis this year.

9. Jelena Jankovic 

While Jelena Jankovic did not win a Major during her career, she finished the 2008 season as world No 1 above Serena Williams after reaching the US Open final and semi-finals at the Australian Open and French Open.

The Serbian, who announced her retirement in 2022 after last playing a match in 2017, topped the WTA Rankings for the first time in August 2008. She won 15 WTA titles.

8. Justine Henin

Justine Henin is a three-time WTA year-end No 1, having finished ahead of compatriot Kim Clijsters in 2003, Sharapova in 2006, and Svetlana Kuznetsova in 2007.

The Belgian, a winner of 43 WTA titles including seven Grand Slams, was ranked world No 1 for the first time in October 2003. The 41-year-old called time on her career in 2011, having initially retired in 2008.

7. Serena Williams 

Serena Williams finished at the pinnacle of the WTA Rankings five times during her career, above: Venus Williams in 2002, Dinara Safina in 2009, Azarenka in 2013, Sharapova in 2014, and Halep 2015.

The American, who first became world No 1 in July 2002, claimed 73 WTA titles and an Open Era record of 23 Major women’s singles crowns. The 42-year-old retired in 2022.

6. Lindsay Davenport

Lindsay Davenport ended the 1998, 2001, 2004 and 2005 seasons as the WTA world No 1, with Martina Hingis, Jennifer Capriati, Amelie Mauresmo and Clijsters finishing as No 2 in these respective years.

The three-time Grand Slam champion climbed to the top of the WTA Rankings for the first time in October 1998. The American, a winner of 55 WTA titles, retired in 2010.

5. Martina Hingis

Martina Hingis is a three-time year-end No 1, having finished above Jana Novotna in 1997, and Davenport in both 1999 and 2020.

The Swiss first reached world No 1 in the WTA Rankings in March 1997 and won five Major singles titles. The 43-year-old, who is a 43-time WTA singles titlist, retired for the third time in 2017.

4. Monica Seles 

Monica Seles finished three seasons as the WTA world No 1, having surpassed Steffi Graf in 1991 and 1992, before sharing the year-end No 1 with her German rival in 1995 after returning to action following her on-court stabbing in 1993.

The Yugoslavian-American, a nine-time Grand Slam winner, topped the Rankings for the first time in March 1991. The 49-year-old won 53 WTA titles and retired in 2008, having last played in 2003.

3. Steffi Graf

Steffi Graf holds the record for the most year-end No 1 finishes with a remarkable tally of eight, ahead of Martina Navratilova in 1987, 1988 and 1989, Seles in 1990 and 1996 (and joint in 1995), and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in 1993 and 1994.

The German won 107 WTA singles titles, including 22 Majors, before retiring in 1999. The 54-year-old first became world No 1 in August 1987.

2. Martina Navratilova

Martina Navratilova has ended seven seasons on top of the WTA Rankings and holds the record for most consecutive year-end No 1 finishes with five between 1982-1986. The Czechoslovakian-American, who also finished 1978 and 1979 as No 1, saw great rival Chris Evert finish second in all seven of these seasons.

The 18-time Grand Slam singles champion, who climbed to world No 1 for the first time in July 1978, won a record 167 WTA singles titles. The 67-year-old called an end to her career in 2006.

1. Chris Evert

Chris Evert was the first player to finish a year as world No 1 after the WTA Rankings were established and ended five seasons on top. She finished ahead of Virginia Wade in 1975, Evonne Goolagong in 1976, Billie Jean King in 1977, and Tracy Austin in 1980 and 1981.

The American, who first attained the WTA No 1 ranking in November 1975, claimed 157 titles, including 18 Majors. The 68-year-old retired in 1989.

READ MORE: Iga Swiatek sets a host of records to claim WTA Finals title in Cancun