One Year Later: How Four Top 10 Players From 2022 Experienced Brutality Of Tennis

One Year Later: How Four Top 10 Players From 2022 Experienced Brutality Of Tennis

by Nurein Ahmed

In only one year, four of ten players that were ranked in the Top 10 on the WTA Tour are nowhere near, with one of them retired and the rest on a hiatus.

From last year's US Open, half of the Top 10 have stayed there. Only Poland's Iga Swiatek and Tunisia's Ons Jabeur have maintained the same position of first and fifth, respectively. Swiatek and Jabeur contested last year's showpiece final in New York, and it will be interesting to see if history could repeat itself.

Aryna Sabalenka, who was ranked sixth in last year's tournament, enters this year's event ranked in second spot and with more than twice the ranking points. Greece's Maria Sakkari drops down to eighth this time, a far cry from her career-high mark of third from 2022, while Jessica Pegula has shelved four spots to third place.

But the major subplot here is the list of absentees. Four of last year's Top 10 players at the US Open have either retired, injured, or on hiatus. The biggest disappointment from the list is certainly Anett Kontaveit, who became the highest-ranked Estonian in history last summer when she rose to No. 2.

Sadly, Kontaveit was forced into early retirement due to a chronic back injury this year, playing her last WTA match at this year's Wimbledon. Spain's Paula Badosa was on the doorstep of a breakthrough Slam when she entered last year's US Open ranked 4th in the rankings. But a second-round defeat to Petra Martic at the US Open was symbolic of what was to come.

Badosa endured a slump and her ranking tanked to outside the world's Top 40. This season, injuries have taken a toll on the Spaniard who was forced to miss the Australian Open and French Open. While she played at Wimbledon (reaching the second round), she retired during her match against Marta Kostyuk.

Badosa was expected to return to competition at the 2023 US Open but pulled out on the eve of the tournament due to back pain. What appeared to be an acute condition could possibly mean this is a much more serious injury after the 25-year-old confirmed she is shutting down the 2023 season.

Badosa isn't the only one on the list dealing with injury setbacks. British star Emma Raducanu ascended into the Top 10 last year, but the former US Open champion's career continues to be dictated by his health. Raducanu has played 10 matches this year and is currently recovering from multiple surgeries on her wrists and knee.

The 20-year-old is currently outside the world's Top 150 and has not set a return date. The situation is gloomy for Garbine Muguruza who took an indefinite break from tennis at the end of January after a string of early losses. A year ago, Muguruza was ranked 8th in the rankings, and despite plotting a comeback this summer, those plans have been postponed.

In May Muguruza announced that she was engaged to longtime boyfriend Arthur Borges, with the wedding planned for next summer in Spain. It is also next year when Muguruza is eyeing a comeback, but at this juncture, it's a guessing game if she'll ever be back on the tennis courts again.


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