The 2022 WTA Season engaged tennis fans from start to finish.
The year began with former World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty’s dream run to a first Australian Open title in her home country, only for her to announce a retirement from tennis just months later. With Barty gone, the stage was left wide open for the next great WTA star to emerge.
Iga Swiatek wasted no time capitalizing on Barty’s retirement, bursting onto the scene with one of the most dominant win streaks in the history of the sport. The 20-year-old Polish phenom reeled off a 37-match win streak from February to June, highlighted by titles at the BNP Paribas Open in March and French Open in May. It seemed destined to be the Summer of Swiatek, but a shock upset in the third round of Wimbledon opened the door for Elena Rybakina to become the next young women’s star to find the championship spotlight.
The Grand Slam season ended with another Swiatek victory at the US Open against two-time Grand Slam runner up in 2022 Ons Jabeur, and of course who could forget Serena Williams’ emotional farewell to the electrifying crowds at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York.
And when all was set and done, it was France’s Caroline Garcia who raised the trophy at the WTA Finals in Forth Worth, scoring the biggest victory of her career to cap off what was a rollercoaster season altogether on the tour.
Although there is plenty of unpredictability heading into 2023, what’s clear is that the next generation of WTA stars has arrived. With the new year just around the corner and the greatest stars in tennis set to descend on Indian Wells in just a few months, here are some of the top WTA storylines to watch for with the curtain officially now closed on 2022:
Although the world No. 1 Swiatek bowed out of this year’s WTA Finals earlier then she would have liked to with a semifinal loss to eventual champion Aryna Sabalenka, her record-breaking 37-match win streak earlier in the year proved just how dominant she can be when she’s playing her best tennis.
Her early exits at Wimbledon and the WTA Finals showed vulnerability, but the 2022 BNP Paribas Open champion still put together one of the most accomplished individual seasons in recent memory. Between two Grand Slams, four WTA 1000 wins and eight titles altogether, Swiatek emerged as the clear player to beat on the tour heading into 2023.
Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula’s breakthrough to the Top 10 highlighted what was a successful year for American women on the court, as 2022 was the first year since the 2016 WTA Finals that multiple American women qualified for the singles draw at the event. Although neither was able to advance out of the WTA Finals group stage, the two have shown they are the clear frontrunners to break the Grand Slam drought facing American women that dates back to Sofia Kenin’s Australian Open title in 2020.
Gauff’s dream run to the French Open final ultimately ended with a disappointing loss to the red hot Swiatek, but her success in 2022 should have her hungry for that first career title in 2023. Pegula’s WTA 1000 title in Guadalajara in October also marked a huge breakthrough, as she became the first American women to win a 1000-level title since Madison Keys in 2019.
With a competitive and electrifying on-court presence, no player was more fun to watch on the WTA Tour this year than Ons Jabeur. In what turned out to be a breakout season that saw the 28-year-old Tunisian reach two Grand Slam finals and capture her first career WTA 1000 title, it still feels like Jabeur is heading into 2023 with unfinished business.
Despite rising to career-high ranking of world No. 2 and qualifying for her first-ever WTA Finals, Jabeur will still be heading into next season with plenty of motivation, hungry for that ever-elusive signature victory. With the way she showed she could compete with the best this season, 2023 may just be the year that Jabeur gets over the hump and scores that marquee title.
Secure Your Tickets for the 2023 BNP Paribas Open!
It won’t be long before the greatest stars in Tennis head to the Coachella Valley for the 2023 BNP Paribas Open. Secure your chance to witness these world-class players and more take center stage in idyllic Tennis Paradise on March 6-19, 2022.