Last December we continued our over a decade long tradition with the year-end WTA ranking prediction contest. My friend John Bolan asked you to give us your 2021 Top 10 WTA ranking predictions in the comments and now that the season-ending rankings have finalized, we can select the winner. Let’s give the word to John and he will explain how we picked our 2021 winner. The prize is the Babolat Pure Drive tennis racquet!
2021 WTA season recap
The year of 2021 was far from normal for women’s tennis, though it was an improvement over 2020. However, with the cancelation of the Asian Swing, the postponement of Indian Wells, the quarantine farce in Australia and the WTA Finals moved from China to Mexico, 2021 was another challenging year for the WTA.
The players seemed happy to get back on the courts, although they played for less prize money and under varying COVID-19 restrictions during the year. The WTA returned to its normal ranking system from the revised one used in 2020.
The end-of-year controversy with China’s Peng Shuai is an incredibly sad situation and most unfortunate incident. The WTA has stood up for its player and for all women with its insistence that Peng should be free, uncensored and receive a fair hearing on her charges.
Year-end Top 10 WTA rankings for 2021
- Ashleigh Barty
- Aryna Sabalenka
- Garbine Muguruza
- Karolina Plishkova
- Barbora Krejcikova
- Maria Sakkari
- Anett Kontaveit
- Paula Badosa
- Iga Swiatek
- Ons Jabeur
And the best predictor is…
Over half of the final Top 10 list includes players who never appeared before on this list.
It was a tough year for contestants. The most correct picks for 2021 were five. Last year it took nine correct picks to win.
Three of our contestants picked five out of the Top 10 players. Chris, Shakti Indraprasta and Roberto picked five winners, forcing us to go to our tie breaker. Chris’ picks were closer to the exact finish. It is interesting to note, Chris was the very first person to enter the contest this year.
CONGRATULATIONS, CHRIS! YOU WILL RECEIVE THE BABOLAT PURE DRIVE RACQUET!
No contestant chose Barbora Krejcikova, Paula Badosa, or Ons Jabeur. Both Cat and Mr Arv chose Maria Sakkari. Only Dan chose Anett Kontaveit.
Ian’s pick of Dayana Yastremska may have been a good one, if Dayana had played the entire year. Although she was found not guilty of doping, the WTA did not allow her to play for the first six months of 2021.
Jim is still better at picking golf winners.
Doubles players need promotion, too. Darija Jurak, my friend and a wonderful person, made the Top 10 doubles list and the year-end championships for the first time. She is 37 years of age and has been playing professional tennis for over 20 years. Darija is an excellent example of perseverance – an essential character trait needed for successful professional athletes.
Last year, I predicted the world and tennis would be back to normal by the middle of 2021. I was wrong; COVID is still with us. Let us hope 2022 will bring back a sense of normalcy to the world and tennis.
We will continue this contest into 2022. Think about your Top 10 ranking picks for the end of 2022 and stay tuned as we will launch the contest later this month.
Congrats to Chris on winning the Pure Drive 2021 racquet. I’ve been using Pure Drive 2021 racquets since it was released Oct 2020. I’m on the lookout for a more arm friendly racquet though… maybe Yonex Ezone (98 or 100?).
My predictions for 1-3 all fell out of the top 10. I’m surprised to have even 4 of the guesses right. Thanks for the shoutout. I’m glad Muguruza is having a bit of a resurgence. Barty’s one of my favorites, so I’m glad to see her doing well. I would never have predicted Krejcikova or Badosa doing so well.
Thanks Marija, once again for running the contest. And to Cat for her kind words and graciousness.
If you’ll remember, Marija, when I won in 2019 (humble bragging here!), when we emailed I refused the player autographs that were the prizes; that participating in and winning the contest was way more than ample reward.
While I greatly and tremendously appreciate the Babolat racket, I once again decline to accept my winning. Truly and sincerely, thinking about, playing, then winning is all I could want. (And my own Simona-endorsed Wilson will always and forever be my racket, because of whose name it carries.)
I know you’ll find something suitable for it. My hope is that you hold it over for 2022’s winner (assuming it is not me for the third time in four years. Okay, THAT time the bragging was not so humble :)). Or else to donate such a valuable prize to a local charity that would surely appreciate such a generous donation. The only thing I might ask is that, if you still feel somewhat inclined to mail it to America, I might ask you to see if Philip K. Boosey who runs WTA Romania wants it. But I never got the impression Philip actually plays, and not to the level of needing such a quality racket. But since I am gifting it back to you, you may do with it as you wish.
When we email, I can confirm any of this.
Like you I too hope 2022 brings a return to normalcy. Happy Holidays , Marija.
So what were the winner’s predictions?
Chris, I sent you an email, but it looks like you haven’t received it. It is a different email address to the one you used to leave this comment. Never mind, it’s important that we’re in touch. You can let me know if your friend Philip K. Boosey would like to get your prize. If not, I will leave the racquet for one of our future contests. In 2022 we will most probably offer a different prize, just in order to switch things up a bit, but the racquet is always a great prize and there will be plenty of opportunities to offer it.
CLT, these were Chris’ predictions:
1 Sonya Kenin
2 Simona Halep
3 Ash Barry
4 Naomi Osaka
5 Aryna Sabalenka
6 Elina Svitolina
7 Garbine Muguruza
8 Karolina Pliskova
9 Belinda Bencic
10 Iga Swiatek
Marija, sorry about the confusion about using two different emails. I forgot which acct I had used last December.
Regardless, I had checked both, plus both spam folders, in the last couple of days and you are right, all were empty. I blame Yahoo. It often sends impt stuff to spam or delays delivery. I should upgrade my email service one of these years. Apologies again. And thanks once again for running the blog and contest.
Chris, no problem, you know that you are the winner and that’s what is important. Let me know if your friend would like to receive the prize instead of you and we will get in touch. Otherwise, I will leave the racquet for some future contest.
I took your streak off you in 2020 Chris. I definitely wanted to keep the racket, too bad Chris doesn’t want it, I would gladly receive it here. I hope that next year brings us wonderful matches and rivalries and as always my hopes pinned on Simona.
Congrats Chris! ahh so sad that I’m missing on a tie breaker. it was pretty close lol. hopefully it’s going to be my turn to win next year!
Juan Carmona and Shakti Indraprasta,
Thanks for being such good sports, and congrats to you both for your own strong performances in the contest.
Good luck to you both in 2022.