Vondrousova & Svitolina Lead Nominations For WTA Comeback Player Of The Year

Vondrousova & Svitolina Lead Nominations For WTA Comeback Player Of The Year

by Nurein Ahmed

Marketa Vondrousova and Elina Svitolina are the biggest favorites to win the prestigious WTA Comeback Player of the Year award after the list of nominees was released.

As the WTA Tour rests after 11 months of intense competition, it's time to hand out the post-season accolades. The WTA does a good job of honoring some of the players in its customary annual awards in five categories.

One of those is the WTA Comeback Player of the Year award which recognizes the forgotten women on tour who enjoyed a resurgence this season. The five-woman shortlist has been determined and it is led by Vondrousova.

What a difference a year makes. At this time last year, the 24-year-old Czech had just won a W100 title in Shrewsbury. It was her breakthrough comeback tournament after a torrid year was hindered by a wrist injury.

Nobody doubted her talent, but could Vondrousova stay fit for a whole season? We got the answer in 2023. A healthy Vondrousova pulled off one of the most shocking Grand Slam triumphs in recent memory as she became the first unseeded women's champion at Wimbledon.

Another Czech also nominated in this list is Karolina Muchova. Like Vondrousova, she also played a Grand Slam final after years of being tormented by injuries. Unfortunately for Muchova, she played a red-hot Iga Swiatek in the Roland Garros final, but she finally made her long-awaited Top 10 debut this season.

Elina Svitolina is a strong contender too. Her story is one of desire. At a time when her home country was entangled in a war, Svitolina emerged from her maternity leave to play some of her best tennis at 29 and dedicated her victories to Ukraine.

She won her first WTA title as a mother in Strasbourg just two months after her big return. Svitolina also made deep runs at Roland Garros and Wimbledon, making the quarterfinal and semifinal respectively.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova was classified as a late bloomer when she made her first Grand Slam final at Roland Garros two years ago. Sadly for the Russian, what was to follow was a real nightmare.

She was able to play through the remainder of 2021, but a chronic knee injury sidelined her for a huge chunk of the 2022 season. She was ranked as low as No. 844 in February this season.

Incidentally, she managed to hit top form at the same tournament where her career highlight was written - Roland Garros. She entered the tournament as an underdog but was a giant slayer, earning three Top 30 wins en route to the quarterfinals where her run was snapped by Muchova.

Pavlyuchenkova finished the season ranked 58th in the world rankings - undoubtedly a stellar renaissance if there was one. And last on this list is former doubles No. 1 Hsieh Su-Wei.

The Taiwanese veteran is a shot-making genius. And as she enters the final peak of her career, it looks like we won't see her a lot on the singles court. Hsieh had taken a sabbatical for the entire 2022 season after toiling on tour for almost 20 straight years.

After giving her 37-year-old bones adequate rest time she was back on the grind - globetrotting and thrilling the fans with her creative and crisp tennis. She won a pair of Grand Slam doubles titles (Roland Garros and Wimbledon) - the first time in her career she won multiple majors in one season.


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