For years we have marvelled at the undisputed greatness of Serena Williams and in the same vein as Roger, Rafa and Novak we tell ourselves to enjoy this great champion while we can.
But as we know, such historymakers at the summit of both tours are their only similarity. Elsewhere we have two very beasts.
ATP reliant on Rafa and Co?
The health of the ATP is still very much reliant on its Big Four (Murray still rightfully garners a mention for his consistency despite Wawrinka and Cilic’s hot and cold heroics).
Roger is on his way out, Rafa still has a fee good years for sure and Novak will then dominate for a while too.
But it is no secret that the rest still haven’t got enough to challenge these guys in their pomp. There is still a lack of true depth for now and an air of inevitability come every big tournament, let alone a slam.
WTA revelling in rich field
Contrast this with the women’s tour: for a long time the instability and merry-go-round of also-rans at the no.1 spot threatened to undermine its relevance.
Now, this is its greatest strength; we have real strength in depth and proven champions producing quality tennis week week out.
A blend of generations past, present and future are delivering, and it makes the whole thing a real joy.
Now that the titanium pigment has all but settled for another year, let’s look at a few stats:
Four different major winners in Wozniacki (Oz), Halep (RG), Kerber (Wimbles) and Osaka (US). A different player (Pliskova) taking most titles overall and a different player again (Svitolina) nabbing the season-end. Halep clung onto her place at the top of the tree but her defence of this will prove to be just one of the fascinating battles next year.
We haven’t even mentioned other proven notables as Kvitova, Muguruza, Stephens and Ostapenko. The latter still part of the game’s exciting, fearless future encompassed by the Sabalenka’s, Mertens’ and Siniakova’s of the world.
Svitolina caps off another solid year
I’ll admit, I don’t pay enough attention to Elina Svitolina. She doesn’t have the personable vulnerability of a Kvitova or the gusto of a Muguruza or even the diminutive scrapping and heart-on-the-sleeve of Halep and countless others.
A bit aloof then (but then so was Hantuchova on court at least), for whatever reason she hasn’t registered on my radar as much as someone currently ranked 4th in the world should.
A slightly underwhelming year at the majors, the Ukrainian still defended her titles in Rome and Dubai and was undefeated against five of the season’s best in Singapore.
Could Elina now echo Caro’s springboard for a first major? With such a capable top 20 roster, you wouldn’t bet against it.