This type of player could be the undoing of WTA’s big three
Mats Wilander believes that the WTA Tour is well-set when it comes to star players, thanks to the emergence of Elena Rybakina and Aryna Sabalenka as rivals to Iga Swiatek.
Wilander believes that fellow pundit Chris Evert’s claim that they could rival the men’s big three for impact on the game.
He also touched on what type of player needs to emerge to break up the reign of these three.
Wilander also touched on the qualities of each player and which member of the big three they match most closely.
He feels that Swiatek, herself a big fan of the Raging Bull, will be the WTA Tour’s own version of Rafael Nadal.
He reckons the calm, determined and tough-to-read Rybakina has qualities that make her like Novak Djokovic.
Wilander believes that Sabalenka’s strength is on faster courts and surfaces, and feels she could be a strong candidate to add a Wimbledon crowd to her Australian Open triumph.
He feels that the one thing missing from the tour right now is someone who is an excellent disruptor, like former world No 1 Justine Henin.
“That’s an incredible credit to Sabalenka, Rybakina and Swiatek,” Wilander, said on Eurosport.
“When Chris Evert calls them Roger, Rafa and Novak, the ‘big three’ already, I can see what she means because they all have their own weapons, and when they are playing at their best, I don’t think there is a women’s player out there that can disturb them at the moment.
“I think you need someone like [former world No. 1] Justine Henin to be able to destroy the rhythm that Sabalenka, Rybakina and Swiatek get into sometimes.
“There are different surfaces where they’re going to be better and I think they’ve proved that already.
“I think Swiatek is going to be dominating, and she’s going to be the Nadal of the ‘big three’.
“I think Sabalenka needs a little bit faster courts because I believe that she moves a little bit better than Rybakina, but she’s not as consistent in terms of her strokes and her serve. So a faster court would be better for her, which is still the Australian Open.
“And now you see Rybakina, she can play on anything. Absolutely. And she might be the one in the end that the other two are most worried about because Rybakina is calm, huge serve, so complete in terms of the groundstrokes and willing to learn more things.
“But it’s the attitude that I think makes her maybe the Djokovic out of the three, meaning she’s not really worried about the other two.”
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