It’s hard to believe that my friend John Bolan is wrapping up a decade of making Top 10 year-end ranking predictions for the upcoming season. As always, he’s asking you to join him by posting your prediction for the 2020 year-end Top 10 in the comments below this post, no later than January 1st, 2020. But first, let’s give the word to John and hear the reasoning behind his predictions.
This year, I hope to beat my nine-year losing streak and finally win my own contest. I was close several times, but readers of Women’s Tennis Blog are better pickers than I am. More research and more time to choose the order may help me this year.
Injuries, coaching decisions and relationship changes seem to be as important as former rankings and head-to-head outcomes. Age is an important indicator of success, as the season is long and difficult. So many players learn to play through pain from chronic injuries, but their game suffers. None of my picks are over 30 years of age. Half are under 24.
I’m not giving up on Elina Svitolina as my number one pick for the third consecutive year. The Ukrainian has been ranked as high as No. 3. She seems more mature now, both on and off the court. She has patience and confidence in her game. At 25, she is the median age of the Top 10.
My Top 10 predictions for 2020
- Elina Svitolina
- Karolina Pliskova
- Aryna Sabalenka
- Ashleigh Barty
- Petra Kvitova
- Naomi Osaka
- Simona Halep
- Sofia Kenin
- Bianca Andreescu
- Johanna Konta
It was a very difficult decision not to put Karolina Pliskova at No.1. The former top-ranked player and the tallest woman in the Top 10 has so much going for her in 2020. I think she has the best team behind her. Her newest addition is the former men’s coach Daniel Vallverdu, who will fit in nicely with the best young coach in tennis, Olga Savchuk, fitness guru Azuz Simcich and Karolina’s husband Michal Hrdlicka as manager. Karolina already won her first tournament with Olga coaching during 2019, the Zhengzhou Open.
Tall, powerful Aryna Sabalenka has been my favorite from the first time I saw her play. There is no woman as powerful and physical as she is. She is such a nice person and at just 21 seems to be maturing into an even better player with a huge desire to win.
Ashleigh Barty is a sole example of a player who had quit tennis, learned another pro sport, then came back to the WTA tour and rose to No.1. A real Australian and a former cricketer, Ash will always be special.
Petra Kvitova is the oldest player in my Top 10. She is also tall and powerful and hits left-handed. She has been tested in life, has shown impressive ability to recover and consistently plays at the top of her game.
Naomi Osaka has risen to the top of the tennis world. The 22-year-old has the second most endorsements of all female players, but is still coached by her father. She seems shy, despite her being outspoken. Her worldwide fame is enhanced by her multicultural heritage (Haitian, Japanese and American).
Simona Halep finished 4th in 2019, despite her back issues. She has a great coach, Darren Cahill, and is the best defender in tennis. I’m not making the same mistake I made in 2019 by failing to include her in my Top 10.
Sofia Kenin had a breakout year in 2019, winning her first WTA titles, three in singles and two in doubles. The 21-year-old Sonya is still coached by her father and seems to be well-rounded with great hand-eye coordination. I predict her to be the top-ranked American in 2020.
Bianca Andreescu is the best teenager in tennis. Bibi has a great forehand, good variety of shots and very powerful strokes. I’m proud to have seen her breakout tournament in Auckland this year on my first trip to that venue. The reason the Canadian is only ranked 9th is because of her injuries and lack of play.
Johanna Konta did not play after the US Open in 2019 but still finished 12th in the year-end rankings. Once again, I only rank her 10th because of her knee injury and the persistent pain it causes her. Similar to Osaka, Johanna is from three countries – the United Kingdom, Australia and Hungary.
Now it is your turn! Choose your Top 10 players for 2020 and use the comments section to share your picks with us. You must enter before January 1, 2020. Good luck!