Following the conclusion of the WTA Finals, the stars of women’s tennis are currently taking a well-earned rest before the season starts again in January.
It has been a thrilling year for tennis fans around the world. Ashleigh Barty retained her world number one status as she won Wimbledon, while Emma Raducanu burst onto the scene with an astonishing victory at the US Open.
Naomi Osaka started her year with her fourth Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, but has otherwise been absent from the court as she takes time to protect her mental health.
Barbora Krejčíková made a name for herself at the French Open by claiming her maiden Grand Slam title, and she now sits at world number five.
With success comes prize money. Now the season has come to an end, GiveMeSport Women is able to list the highest WTA earners of 2021. It must be noted, the below list is determined by prize money alone, and does not include sponsorship and media earnings.
10) Maria Sakkari – $2,029,990
Maria Sakkari has enjoyed a breakthrough year, reaching the semi-finals of Roland Garros and the US Open.
The 26-year-old became the first Greek woman to break into tennis’s top 10 in September, and she is now at a career-high ranking of world number six.
Sakkari also became the first Greek player to earn a place at the WTA Finals. She reached the semi-finals at the tournament in Guadalajara, eventually falling to Anett Kontaveit.
9) Elise Mertens – $2,098,133
Despite being an excellent singles player, Elise Mertens has enjoyed the majority of her success this year in doubles tournaments.
The Belgian star won the Australian Open alongside Aryna Sabalenka, before triumphing at Wimbledon with Hsieh Su-wei.
Bolstered by another victory alongside Hsieh at Indian Wells, Mertens was propelled to doubles world number one. She has now slipped to fourth place, while her singles end-of-year ranking is 21st.
8) Naomi Osaka – $2,306,222
It has been a tumultuous year for the former world number one. Naomi Osaka got off to a good start by winning her fourth Grand Slam title, but things went downhill at the French Open.
The 24-year-old withdrew from the tournament after she caused a storm by refusing to carry out her media obligations. She returned for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and US Open, but stepped away from the court again after a number of disappointing performances.
Osaka revealed she did not feel "happy" while playing tennis, and was taking time out to regain her love for the sport. Fans will be hoping to see her return in January to defend her Australian Open title.
7) Paula Badosa – $2,655,962
Paula Badosa is another player who has enjoyed a breakthrough season. The Spaniard captured her second WTA title at Indian Wells after winning the Belgrade Open in May.
She also had a successful run at the French Open, finally falling to Tamara Zidanšek in the quarter-finals.
Badosa qualified for the WTA Finals, but was defeated in the semi-finals by compatriot Garbiñe Muguruza. The 25-year-old finishes the year as world number eight.
6) Emma Raducanu – $2,807,446
Emma Raducanu is a newcomer to the WTA Tour, but already has a Grand Slam title to her name. The Briton astonished tennis fans around the world as she embarked on an incredible run in the US Open, beating Leylah Fernandez in the final.
Having only started playing on the WTA Tour in June, Raducanu became the first qualifier, male or female, to earn a Grand Slam title.
The 19-year-old started the year outside of the world top 300, but finishes it as world number 19.
5) Garbiñe Muguruza – $2,846,871
Garbiñe Muguruza won the French Open in 2016 and Wimbledon in 2017, but then endured a dip in form for several years. She showed flashes of her former self last year by reaching the Australian Open final, and now looks to have returned to the top of women’s tennis.
The Spaniard picked up WTA titles at the Dubai Tennis Championships and the inaugural Chicago Classic, subsequently qualifying for the WTA Finals.
She defeated Anett Kontaveit in the final of the prestigious end-of-season event to cap off a successful year, finishing as world number three.
4) Karolína Plíšková – $2,868,865
Karolina Plíšková had a difficult start to the year, falling in the early rounds of the majority of tournaments she played in. She did reach the final of the Italian Open, but suffered an embarrassing 6-0, 6-0 defeat to Iga Świątek.
The 29-year-old Czech fell out of the world top 10, but crept back in after reaching the final of Wimbledon. She lost to Barty, but went on to make the Montréal Open final, Cincinnati Open semi-final, and US Open quarter-finals.
Despite failing to progress from the group stage of the WTA Finals, Plíšková finishes 2021 as the world number four.
3) Aryna Sabalenka – $2,909,281
Aryna Sabalenka began her season with victory at the Abu Dhabi WTA Women's Tennis Open, before defeating world number one Ashleigh Barty to win the Madrid Open in May. She also reached the semi-final at both Wimbledon and the US Open.
As world number two, the Belarusian qualified for the WTA Finals, but failed to get out of the group stages. Sabalenka will now have her eyes on the world number one spot come next season.
2) Barbora Krejčíková – $3,646,883
Barbora Krejčíková enjoyed an astonishing purple patch in May and June, going unbeaten for eight weeks. This period included Krejčíková’s first WTA title at the Strasbourg Open and her first Grand Slam title at Roland Garros.
She eventually lost to Barty in the fourth round of Wimbledon, but the Czech star went on to win the Prague Open and reach the US Open quarter-finals.
After an incredible year, the 25-year-old is now world number five.
1) Ashleigh Barty – $3,945,182
Ashleigh Barty consolidated her status as world number one by winning at the Melbourne Open, Miami Open, Stuttgart Open, Cincinnati Open and Wimbledon.
The 25-year-old has now been at the top of the WTA rankings for 102 weeks, the fifth highest streak in history.
Barty decided to drop out of the WTA Finals so she could return home to Australia and prepare for next season. Expect her to be back with force in January!News Now - Sport News