The list of accolades for Germany’s Angelique Kerber in 2016 keeps on increasing day by day! The year which presented her with two Grand Slam titles and the World No. 1 ranking has now awarded her another distinction that she can be proud of – the WTA year-end No. 1 ranking.
The German climbed to the pinnacle of the world rankings in September after Serena Williams slumped to a straight-sets defeat at the hands of Karolina Pliskova in the semi-finals of the US Open which snapped her Open Era record-equalling 186 weeks reign at the top. There was a possibility that the southpaw might retain the top spot at the end of the year with Serena pulling out of two tournaments post the US Open due to shoulder injury.
That became a reality following the American’s decision to withdraw from the season-ending WTA Finals as well which is scheduled to begin in Singapore this Sunday.
12th different player to be ranked Year-end No. 1
On Thursday, the WTA confirmed that Kerber will indeed be the 12th different singles player to finish the year as the numero uno since computer rankings were introduced in 1975. This will make the 28-year-old the second German in the history of the WTA rankings to hold on to the year-end top spot since the legendary Steffi Graf last did it in 1996. The 22-time Grand Slam champion Graf ended the year as the No. 1 a record eight times.
“It is a great honour and achievement to finish the year as the No 1 player in the world,” said Kerber on her latest accomplishment. “This is one of the things I’ve always been dreaming of — to become No 1. I have worked extremely hard to become the best player I can be and this is a reflection of that effort and the wonderful year I have had.”
This achievement is definitely a reward for the consistency and self-belief that Kerber has shown throughout the year. After stunning Serena in an enthralling Australian Open final in January, she defended her title at the Porsche Grand Prix in Stuttgart on clay in April.
Post the French Open, she began the most productive part of her season and reached the final of the Wimbledon Championships for the first time in her career. That prompted a run to the Olympic silver medal and the US Open title besides a runner-up finish at Cincinnati.
Kerber will be handed the Year-End No.1 trophy in a few days’ time at the WTA Finals where she will be the top seed.
Following is the full list of players who have held the WTA Year-End No.1 Ranking, as released by the WTA:
8 - Steffi Graf (1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996)
7 - Martina Navratilova (1978, 1979, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986)
5 - Chris Evert (1975, 1976, 1977, 1980, 1981)
5 - Serena Williams (2002, 2009, 2013, 2014, 2015)
4 - Lindsay Davenport (1998, 2001, 2004, 2005)
3 - Justine Henin (2003, 2006, 2007)
3 - Martina Hingis (1997, 1999, 2000)
2 - Monica Seles (1991, 1992)
2 - Caroline Wozniacki (2010, 2011)
1 - Angelique Kerber (2016)
1 - Victoria Azarenka (2012)
1 - Jelena Jankovic (2008)