This is the annual post on Moo’s Tennis Blog where I have a bash at predicting next year’s season ending WTA rankings. 2021 was a mixed bag of predictions on MTB – view the results here. Please sound off in the comments with your top ten predictions for 2022!
10. Amanda Anismova: Let’s throw a new name into the gauntlet…. I’ve been excited about Anisimova for many years, but did simmer those expectations in 2021. It’s been a tough few years for Anisimova. She was close to a big win towards the end of this season and it didn’t quite happen. Just a feeling that things might fall into place in 2022.
9. Clara Tauson: With all the surprise additions we’ve seen to the top ten in 2021, i’ve thrown caution to the wind with this one! Tauson has a huge game, great tennis IQ and decent mentality. Consistency at back-to-back tournaments will take some time but she’s the type of player that can catch a hot streak. I think there’s a big Slam result incoming somewhere in 2022…
8. Maria Sakkari: More of the same for Sakkari. She has improved her ranking every single year of her career so far. This will be the toughest year to keep that trend going and I actually have Sakkari falling a few places. Still a few concerns mentally with how she tailed off in some big matches. I think Sakkari will keep growing. I’d fancy a Slam final appearance in 2022.
7. Aryna Sabalenka: Despite proving me wrong in 2021, I still have my doubts about Sabalenka. She overcame the last 16 Slam hurdle in 2021 but the manner of her semi-final defeat at the US Open to Leylah Fernandez still lingers. A huge effort will be required to dismiss the memories of that match. Will Sabalenka win a Slam in 2022? Right now, i’d say no.
6. Naomi Osaka: Tough one! On the fence as to whether Osaka will play the full year as she prioritised her mental health in 2021. Clay and grass continue to be a mystery. Personally, i’d love to see Osaka play at Wimbledon as I think her game can work on the grass with the right preparation. It’s encouraging to see that Osaka is on her way to Australia! ☺
5. Simona Halep: My biggest concerns about Halep are health to be honest. Otherwise I think she will rebound in 2022 and be absolutely chomping at the bit for the French which she missed last year. Surely there’s another RG trophy before she retires and I think ’22 could be the year.
4. Paula Badosa: It’s always a tricky one with players who have a breakout year and how they follow it up. Badosa improved throughout 2021, demonstrating both versatility and mental toughness. The latter, mental toughness, is so huge and I think Badosa’s here to stay in the top ten.
3. Iga Swiatek: I think Swiatek will be a mainstay in the world’s top ten for many years to come and will build on her consistent 2021 season with a more glittering series of results in 2022. I think there will be a couple of Slam semi-finals, perhaps another Slam final.
2. Garbiñe Muguruza: A slight sense of recency bias with how Muguruza ended 2021 by winning the Tour Finals but I tend to think she will have another strong season in 2022 and claim another Slam. Every year I go for the French so let’s mix it up this year and go for the Australian where Muguruza has performed superbly the past two years and only been beaten by the champion.
1. Ash Barty: Not very imaginative but I can’t look past Barty continuing her reign as the world number one. This is because she has such a solid base level with her serve and is so versatile across all surfaces. I think Barty will win another Slam in 2022.
Best of the rest:
Barbora Krejcikova: I think Krejcikova will have a season similar to that of Swiatek in 2021. I think she’ll maintain the consistency of playing top level singles tennis but without the astonishing highlights of 2021. Top 12
Anett Kontaveit: One of my favourite players so i’m kind of disappointed in myself for not having Kontaveit higher! I need to see more of Kontaveit, particularly at the Slams, before i’m convinced she’s a mainstay in the top ten. Top 12
Danielle Collins: My admiration for Collins has steadily grown over the past year or two and I think she’s got a game that can challenge anyone. Mentality is strong. I think this could be Collins’s best season yet. Top 15
Karolina Muchova: If Muchova hadn’t already pulled out of Australian Open then she’d be in my top 5. Her game reminds me of Barty and she has already developed that nack of winning when not playing her best. I think she was playing through the ab injury picked up in Oz for much of 2021, yet still managed some cracking results. I’m just worried about that injury that has never seemed to go away. Top 15.
Jessica Pegula: I’m sold on Pegula’s game. I don’t think 2021 was a flash in the pan and I think she’s more likely to go up than down, knocking on the door of the world’s top ten throughout the course of the year. Top 20.
Emma Raducanu: So hard to predict! I think 2022 will be more of an adjustment year for Raducanu. She hasn’t played a full year on tour and not played many of the tournaments. Talent undeniable but I think 2022 will be about building up experience. Top 25.
Sloane Stephens: I thought Stephens showed a lot of positive signs in 2021 without really turning that positivity into a big result. I think 2022 will be a good year for Sloane. Top 30.
Dayana Yastremska: Now back on the tour following her suspension, Yastremska is bound to improve her current ranking of 99. Her game still needs harnessing but there’s no doubt the talent is there. Top 30.
Kaja Juvan: I think 2022 will be Juvan’s best year on tour. Top 50.
Anastasia Gasanova: I liked what I saw of Gasanova in 2021. Top 75.
Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva: I’m a bit out of touch with the up-and-comers to be honest! VJK is my tip for the newcomer of the year and huge rankings rise in 2022. Top 100.
Australian Open: Muguruza
French Open: Halep
US Open: Tauson (🙃)