The WTA Season Review - UBITENNIS
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The WTA Season Review

Ubitennis reflects on the 2022 WTA season where Iga Swiatek won two Grand Slam titles.



Iga Swiatek - Stoccarda 2022 (foto Twitter @PorscheTennis)

Player of the year: Iga Swiatek

Iga Swiatek ended the year as the World number 1 for the first time in her career. The Polish player won eight titles, including the second and third Grand Slam titles of her career at Roland Garros and the US Open. She was also victorious at WTA 1000 tournaments in Doha, Indian Wells, Miami and Rome, as well as WTA 500 tournaments in Stuttgart and San Diego. She is the first player to win six titles in a row since Justine Henin in 2007 and 2008. 


Swiatek achieved a 37-match winning run between February and June, equalling the longest WTA Tour streak since 1990. 

Last June she beat US teenager Coco Gauff 6-1 6-3 to claim her second career title at Roland Garros in three years. She won her 35th consecutive match, tying Venus Williams for the best winning streak this century. The Pole has become the fourth youngest player to win the French Open more than once, only Monica Seles, Steffi Graf and Chris Evert were younger. She is the youngest woman to win multiple Grand Slam titles since Maria Sharapova won her second Major at the 2006 US Open at the age of 19.  

Iga Swiatek: “I am more aware of how it is to win a Grand Slam and what it takes. How every puzzle has to come together and basically every aspect of the game has to work. With that awareness, I was even more happy and even more proud of myself, because in 2020 I just felt that I was lucky. This time I felt like I really did the work”. 

Swiatek then beat Ons Jabeur 6-2 7-6 (7-5) in the US Open final to become the first Polish player to win the US Open. Earlier in the tournament, Swiatek came back from 2-4 down in the third set by winning the final four games in the semifinal against Aryna Sabalenka. She has become the third woman in the past 15 years to win multiple major titles in a season on different surfaces, joining Serena Williams and Justine Henin. 

“I needed to stay composed and focused on my goals. It’s mind-blowing for me. I am really proud I could handle it mentally. At the beginning, I realized that maybe I could have some good results on WTA events. I also made it to the semifinal at the Australian Open, but I was not sure if I was on the level yet to win a Grand Slam, especially at the US Open where the surface is so fast. It’s something that I wasn’t expecting for sure. It’s also a confirmation for me that sky’s the limit. I am proud but also surprised a little bit. I am just happy that I was able to do that”.
Switek on her US Open win

At the WTA Finals in Fort Worth (Texas) she won the group stage beating Daria Kasatkina, Caroline Garcia and Coco Gauff before losing to Aryna Sabalenka in the semifinals. 

Swiatek ended the season with 67 match wins, the most since Serena Williams in 2013. She has also become the first player to finish a season with more than 10000 ranking points since Willams in 2016. 

The comeback of the year: Caroline Garcia

French player Caroline Garcia returned to her best shape in the second half of the season by winning the most prestigious title of her career at the WTA Finals in Fort Worth. Garcia beat Aryna Sabalenka 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 in the championship match to become the second French player to win the WTA Finals title after Amelie Mauresmo in 2005. 

Garcia also won three more WTA tournaments at Bad Homburg, Warsaw and the WTA 1000 in Cincinnati as a qualifier. She also reached the US Open semifinals in what was her career-best performance at Grand Slam level. She started the season outside the top 70 in the WTA Ranking and ended the year at number 4. 

“It’s definitely a lot of giant happiness,” Garcia said of winning the biggest title in her career at the WTA Finals.
“A crazy final, a lot of intensity on every point. Just really proud of the work we did through all the year. It was a great match – really went for it. I’m really happy to win my biggest title.

The breakthrough of the year: Elena Rybakina

Elena Rybakina won her first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon after beating Ons Jabeur in the final. Earlier in the tournament, the Kazakh player defeated Simona Halep to reach her first Grand Slam final to become the youngest Wimbledon finalist since Garbine Muguruza in 2015. 

After dropping the first set, Rybakina battled back to beat Jabeur to claim her first Major title. She is the first Kazakh player in history to win a Grand Slam title. 

Rybakina is the fourth youngest active Grand Slam champion, older than only Swiatek, Bianca Andreescu and Emma Raducanu. 

Rybakina won her third career title at Wimbledon and her first since Hobart in 2020. She had lost four finals. She also lost to Elina Svitolina in the bronze medal match at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. 

Elena Rybakina on her Wimbledon triumph: “I am always very calm. I don’t know what should happen. When I was giving a speech in the end I was thinking: ‘I am going to cry now, but somehow I hold it. Maybe later when I am going alone in the room, I am going to cry somehow. Maybe because I can do deep inside. At the same time there are too many emotions. I was just trying to keep myself calm. Maybe one day you will see a huge reaction from me, but unfortunately not today”. 

Rybakina opened the season by finishing runner-up to Ashleigh Barty at the WTA 500 tournament in Adelaide. She also reached her third final of the year in Portoroz before losing to Katerina Siniakova in three sets. 

 The historic Grand Slam performance – Ons Jabeur 

Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur made a major breakthrough by becoming the first African woman in the Open Era to reach a Grand Slam singles final at Wimbledon after her three-set win over Tatjana Maria in the semifinal.

Jabeur: “I just love the atmosphere at Wimbledon. It was my main goal from the beginning of the season, and even from last year. I just love being here”. 

She also finished runner-up to Iga Swiatek in the US Open final and won two WTA titles in Madrid on clay and Berlin on grass. 

The African player reached a career-high ranking of world number 2 last June, becoming the first North African woman to break into the top 5 and qualify for the WTA Finals. 

The Rising star of the year – Coco Gauff

Coco Gauff became the first US teenager to reach a Grand Slam final since Serena Williams. At the French Open she beat Elise Mertens in the fourth round, Sloane Stephens in the quarter-finals, and Martina Trevisan in the semifinals before losing to Iga Swiatek in straight sets in the final. 

At the Canadian Open Gauff became the youngest player to reach back-to-back quarter-finals since Jennifer Capriati in 1990 and 1991. She beat Elena Rybakina and Aryna Sabalenka in third-set tie-breaks before losing to eventual champion Simona Halep in straight sets. 

Gauff reached the quarter-finals at the US Open for the first time to become the youngest US player to achieve this feat since 2009. She is also the youngest player to make their debut in the top 10 of the WTA Ranking since 2006.

The rising star became the youngest player in singles since Maria Sharapova to qualify for the WTA Finals. Gauff and her teammate Jessica Pegula also qualified for the WTA Finals in the doubles tournament, becoming the first US players since sisters Serena and Venus Williams in 2009 to qualify for both the singles and doubles at the WTA Finals. 

WTA doubles team of the year

Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova

The Czech team formed by Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova won three Grand Slam doubles titles at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. With their triumph in New York over Caty McNally and Taylor Townsend, they became the second team in WTA history to complete the career Grand Slam. They were undefeated in their three round-robin matches at the WTA Finals in Fort Worth before losing to Elise Mertens and Veronika Kudemertova in the final. They finished the season with a 27-4 win-loss record. 

Krejcikova and Siniakova have now won six Grand Slam doubles titles together. They have won two Roland Garros titles in 2018 and 2021, two Wimbledon titles in 2018 and 2022, the US Open in 2022 and an Australian Open title in 2022. They have joined a list of past doubles teams, who have completed a set of Grand Slam doubles titles, that includes Martina Navratilova and Pam Shriver, Serena and Venus Williams, Gigi Fernandez and Natasha Zvereva, Roberta Vinci and Sara Errani.  

Barbora Krejcikova: “I am really happy that we won the final Grand Slam that we were missing. It sounds great that we have achieved such an amazing feat”. 

Veronika Kudemertova and Elise Mertens

Veronika Kudemertova and Elise Mertens crowned their successful season by beating defending champions Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova to win the WTA Finals doubles title in Fort Worth. Kudemertova and Mertens reached the semifinals at the Australian Open. They won four more titles in Dubai, Doha, Miami and ‘s-Hertogenbosch. 

The Billie Jean King Cup team of the year – Switzerland

Switzerland clinched the Billie Jean King Cup title for the first time in history after wins from Belinda Bencic and Jill Teichmann in the final against Australia. The Swiss team finished runner-up in 2021. 

Belinda Bencic: “We were finalists last year and we were so heartbroken, but in the locker room Teichmann came to me and said: ‘Next year, we are going to do it, we are going to take it”. And we did, I am so proud”. 

The match of the year

Krejcikova beats Swiatek 5-7 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 in the Ostrava final

Barbora Krejcikova rallied from a set down to beat Iga Swiatek 5-7 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 in an epic 3-hour and 16-minute final in Ostrava. 

Krejcikova claimed her second title in consecutive weeks after winning the Tallinn Open. Meanwhile, Swiatek lost a final match for the first time since 2019. 

Krejcikova broke to love to earn a chance to serve for the match, but she did not convert six championship points in an epic final game. The Czech player sealed the win on her seventh opportunity with her seventh ace to win the fifth singles title of her career. 

Krejcikova: “It was a great atmosphere. We have been trying to offer the crowd the best match that we can. It feels great. I thank Iga for bringing the best out of me”. 


Iga Swiatek Criticises WTA’s Reform Of 2024 Calendar



Iga Swiatek has hit out at the WTA by claiming that only a handful of players were made aware of changes being made to the Tour calendar before they came into effect.


In recent weeks there has been an increase in frustration among players on the women’s Tour with letters being sent to the head of the WTA, Steve Simon, about their concerns. Swiatek has also sent her own letter to the governing body. According to The Athletic, some of the concerns that have been raised relates to higher pay on the Tour, adjustments to scheduling to help support players, expanded childcare and calls for a member of the PTPA to be present on the WTA Player’s Council.

The WTA has also been in the firing line concerning their management of the Tour finals which took place in Cancun last month and was won by Switek. Some of those who took part complained about the court conditions and lack of preparation they had. The stadium court wasn’t fully constructed until the same weekend the tournament began. 

Although, for the world No.1 her principle criticism concerns the 2024 calendar and the rules in place reagrding playing in mandatory events. Swiatek says some of the decisions have been made following discussions with ‘third parties’ and believes players are not being listened to. 

“There is room for improvement,” she said during an interview with newspaper Rzeczpospolita.
“As players, we are dissatisfied with the calendar for next year and the increase in the number of mandatory tournaments and restrictions related to withdrawing from them.’
“We want to change this. We need more balance and time to get back home. Sometimes, however, we beat our heads against the wall. Some decisions seem to be the result of promises made to third parties, federations and tournament organizers.’
“We find out about them after the fact. This causes frustration. Only a handful of players were aware of the calendar reform and the WTA cannot lead to such a situation again, since it considers itself an organization created for tennis players.”

The 22-year-old argues that these changes would give players more time to rest and see their families. Although Swiatek admits that she is in a more fortunate situation than some of her peers from a financial perspective. This season the Pole has earned $9,857,686 in prize money this year which is more than any other female player. 

“I hope that we will be able to change something – for example in the rules regarding withdrawing from tournaments,” she continued.
“Fortunately, I am in a situation where I can afford for my family to go on a trip with me, but not everyone can afford it. Many players rather save all their money to pay their coaches.’
“However, there is a difference between taking your family with you and returning home, when you can wash your clothes and spend time in the place where you grew up. I often miss Warsaw.”

Swiatek has won 68 out of 79 matches played this season, claiming six titles on the Tour. In the Grand Slams, she won the French Open, and reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon and the fourth round at the other two. She currently has a 245-point lead over second-place Aryna Sabalenka in the WTA standings. 

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‘A Long Way to Go’ – Iga Swiatek Must Improve A Key Element Of Her Game, Says Navratilova



Martina Navratilova has hailed Iga Swiatek’s winning end to her season but believes the Pole needs to continue working on a certain aspect of her game to become a better player. 


Swiatek reclaimed the world No.1 ranking during the WTA Finals where she clinched the year-end title in Mexico. She closes out the year on an 11-match winning streak after also winning the China Open before playing at the WTA Finals. Overall, she has reached the semi-finals or better at 12 out of 17 Tour events played and has won 68 out of 79 matches during 2023. In the Grand Slams, she won the French Open, reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon and the fourth round at the other two. 

Now sitting at the top of the WTA rankings with a 245-point lead over second place Aryna Sabalenka, Swiatek has begun her off-season which is the period that players normally use to work on their game. 

As to what she needs to work on, Navratilova believes a key issue for the four-time Grand Slam champion involves her volleying technique. Speaking to, Navratilova says there is ‘still a long way to go’ for the former world No.1 but adds that she will become a more formidable player on the Tour if she makes improvements. 

“The thing I’d target is getting to the net. I mean, she’s gotten better but there’s still a long way to go on the volley front, particularly that first volley — the transition volley, which is probably the most difficult shot in the game,” said Navratilova. 
“I think that’s where she can improve the most. Iga still has a tendency to run back to the baseline when she really should be going forward. And if she gets that going? Watch out. She can still get a few more mph on her serve, too. The groundstrokes are solid as a rock. And the drop shot — I think she had something like two drop shots all year. When she adds that and uses it at the right time — because with her topspin she really pushes people back behind the baseline — she’ll be even more deadly.”

Continuing her analysis, the 67-year-old believes Swiatek can also increase the speed of her serves even more. 

“She can still get a few more mph on her serve, too. The groundstrokes are solid as a rock. And the drop shot — I think she had something like two drop shots all year. When she adds that and uses it at the right time — because with her topspin she really pushes people back behind the baseline — she’ll be even more deadly.” She added. 

Navratilova has also highlighted areas that she believes other players need to work on. In her view, Sabalenka’s goal should be to work more on her movement during matches. Meanwhile, for US Open champion Coco Gauff, the development of her forehand will play an important part in her game. 

Swiatek ends the season with five WTA titles to her name. 

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Naomi Osaka Eager To Reclaim No.1 Spot, Says Coach




Naomi Osaka is targeting a return to the very top of the women’s game when she begins her comeback, according to a member of her team. 


Performance coach Florian Zitzelsberger has told that the four-time Grand Slam champion is ‘balanced and happy’ with herself after taking time away from the sport to give birth to her first child, a baby girl called Shai. The 26-year-old hasn’t played a competitive match on the Tour since the 2022 Pan Pacific Open and currently doesn’t have a ranking due to her inactivity. She has already confirmed her intention to resume her tennis career in 2024 but it is still unclear as to what her first tournament will be.

Providing a glimpse into Osaka’s current progress, Zitzelsberger says she is setting her sights on chasing after more Grand Slam titles. Zitzelsberger is the co-founder of Integralis Physiotherapie and has worked with Osaka in the past. He has also collaborated with the likes of Kevin Anderson, Julia Goerges and Petra Kvitova. 

“Where she is today is what makes working with her so inspiring,” he said. “She wants to get back to world No. 1, she wants to win Grand Slams. She gives me the impression of someone who is totally balanced and happy with herself. She’s very much grounded, mature and embracing the beauty of motherhood.”

In recent months there has been a growing trend of players returning to the sport after giving birth. Notable examples include Victoria Azarenka, Elina Svitolina and Caroline Wozniacki.

Zitzelsberger says his recent work with Osaka has been getting her back into shape and then working on certain areas of her game. 

“To reach the highest performance, we start by returning stability within the kinetic chain, which is typically lost somewhat during pregnancy and birth. The kinetic chain runs through the core, stomach and belly, and for a long time, her chain wasn’t playing tennis; it was growing a baby!” He explains. 
“Once that base is attained, we work on specific movement skills, whether that’s acceleration or deceleration, change of direction. The main objective is always strengthening to make the body strong, in addition to improving conditioning and mobility.”

Part of the training process has been trying to change what type of player Osaka is to adapt to the current level of the women’s Tour. After winning the 2021 Australian Open, she only reached one more Tour final which was the following year in Miami. During this period, she struggled with some injury issues and has been open about her experiences with mental health. 

“She’s obviously a great offense player, but I think things have changed in the game over the last half-decade where defense is getting more and more important,” Zitzelsberger commented.
We’re working to make Naomi into a player who can transition more effectively from defense to offense. That way, even if she’s getting pushed into a defensive position, she can still strike an offensive shot.”

Osaka has won seven WTA titles so far in her career and has earned more than $21M in prize money. 

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