The end of 2019 also brings the end of the
decade and I think its time we look back on the past 10 years and see who the very best
players were, this time focusing on the WTA. Starting us off at number 5 is Maria Sharapova
. The Russian beginning the decade ranked 14th was struggling to regain her slam winning
form after her 2008 shoulder surgery. She didn’t begin on a good foot at all falling
in the decades first major in the first round. She slowly began rounding into form reaching
the finals of the 2011 Wimbledon Championships and 2012 Australian Open, before winning the
2012 French Open. In doing so, she became the 10th woman to
complete the career grand slam a feat in which a player wins all four majors at least once. With her roland garros run, she also regained
the top ranking for the first time since 2008. That same year Masha became Russia’s first
female athlete to carry the flag at the Olympics grabbing a Silver Medal in London. 2013 was similarly successful for Maria she
racked up more big titles and reached another Roland Garros final falling to Serena. However, she had her third major career shoulder
injury later that year forcing her out of competition for 5 months. Maria however stormed back and reached her
third consecutive French Open final claiming her 5th and most recent slam. Sharapova’s results were fairly moderate
for the next few years reaching the finals of the 2015 Australian Open. 2016, however would be a whirlwind of a year
as she would be banned from competition for testing positive for meldonium a banned substance. For many this really dampened Maria’s legacy
as people felt that she took an unfair advantage of a loophole. After getting the ban reduced to 15 months
Maria returned to competitive tennis, where many injures would curtail her ambitions of
returning to the top echelons of the sport. With her accolades and achievements Maria
should honestly be ranked higher than she is. However, her missing and underperforming the
last half of the decade due to a ban really makes it hard for me to put her above players
who’ve been playing throughout most of it legally. Number 4 on the list is Victoria Azarenka. Like Sharapova Vika has two slams and has
experienced a significant decline towards the tail end of the decade. However I’ve decided to rank her above the
Russian due to her consistency and reasoning for the decline. Azarenka began the first two years of the
decade fairly well finishing 2011 ranked world number 3. She took her game to another level at the
start of 2012 going on 26-0 streak which brought her 4 titles including the Australian Open
and the world number one ranking. Vika would hold that top position 51 weeks
in this decade, and would be 2012’s year end ranked number one player. The very next year she would replicate this
early success defending her Aussie Open title once again. Besides these two major wins Azarenka would
have overall major success this decade reaching two US Open finals in 2012 and 2013. In addition to this she captured two medals
at the 2012 London Olympics: a gold in mixed doubles and a bronze in singles. Due to injury Vika’s 2014 season was mostly
a blur but she experienced somewhat of a resurgence in 2015 and 2016 winning the Indian Wells
title the latter year. Before we would see Vika go deep in majors
once again, she became pregnant and gave birth to her son Leo in December of 2016. Azarenka’s career has since been heavily
effected due to both an intense custody battle with her baby’s father and minor injuries. Regardless this her early dominance and valiant
efforts despite the adversity proves her to be a fighter and a deserved player on this
list. Number 3 on this list is 3 time major champion
Angelique Kerber. Now Angie unlike our first two women on this
list had a pretty low key first half of the decade finishing inside the top 10 from 2012
to 2015. In 2016, though she turned her career upside
down with her surprising Australian Open title run. That same year she’d reached the finals
of Wimbledon, the Rio Olympics, and the US Open winning the latter tournament for her
second major title. After her triumph in Flushing she would snatch
the world number ranking from Serena being the year-end world number one for 2018. After a subpar 2017, Kerber returned to her
slam winning form taking the 2018 Wimbledon championships. With a total of 34 weeks as world number one
and 12 titles, this decade will be one to remember for the German. At number two is two time major champion Simona
Halep. Now in terms of this decade, Simona was somewhat
of a late bloomer who really didn’t start making waves until 2013 a year in which she
won 6 WTA titles. The following year she reached her maiden
grand slam final falling to Sharapova at Roland Garros. From then on she would be a household name
in tennis finishing the year 2014, 2015, and 2016 inside the top 4. In 2017, Simona finally reached another slam
final and was the overwhelming favorite over Jelena Ostapenko. Unfortunately for her, she choked and lost
the match not winning a major that year. 2017 was still extremely successful for the
Romanian as she became the world number one and ended the year in that top position. In 2018, Halep reached her first hard court
slam final losing to Wozniacki at the Australian Open. She finally got the job done at Roland Garros
beating Sloane Stephens for her first major title. After once again finishing the year world
number one, Halep pulled off an unexpectedly title run at SW19 in 2019 beating Serena Williams
for her second major. Simona’s consistency throughout the decade
not only earned her a top 2 spot on this list, but a total of 64 weeks at number one and
19 overall titles. Our number one comes as no surprise the legendary
Serena Williams. Serena coming into this decade as the previous
decades best female player started off on the right foot winning two majors in the opening
year. However after stepping on broking glass in
July of 2010, she was sidelined and wouldn’t return to action until mid 2011. After losing in that years US Open final and
partnering with now-coach Patrick Mourataglou Serena would find immense success sweep 2012’s
Wimbledon, Olympics, and US Open. Serena continued her dominance for the next
five years winning 8 additional majors including the serena slam, holding the top spot for
236 weeks ending the year ranked number one three of these years. In addition to this Serena tied Steffi Graf
for the most consecutive weeks at number one with 186. After her 2017 Aussie Open triumph, Williams
took another extended break from tennis this time to give birth to her daughter Olympia. Since then she has reached 4 major finals
and is still a strong contender heading into 2019. Not only was Serena the most dominant this
decade but she was the most consistent ending each year in this decade ranked inside the
top 25. Legendary. That concludes our list but I do want to take
some time to acknowledge other women who almost made the cut. 2-time Petra Kvitova was certainly a defining
figure this decade but couldn’t match Maria in terms of major finals and being number
one. Kim Clijsters and Li Na are also strong contenders
for this list, but their retirements in the early half of the decade really disqualifies
them. Lastly, Caroline Wozniaki who spent 71 weeks
at number one was a prominent figure in the WTA in the 2010s but her inability to consistently
go deep in the slams put me from including her. What are your thoughts of this best of the
decade list? Do you agree or disagree with my placements? Leave your thoughts in the comment section
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Dennis Veasley

4 thoughts on “Top 5 WTA Tennis Players of the Decade”

  1. I agree most part with all but sharapava — the drug ban makes it hard to take her winning serious, would she have won as much had she not been on the enhancers , big question, for had that been serena she would have been stripped of her gs titles,so I don't think maria deserves the number 5

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