The 2021 women's tennis season has come to an end, so the WTA is now taking a look at the players who left their mark on the tour. Nominees for the annual WTA Player Awards have been announced, and here's how the full lists look in each category:
2021 WTA Player of the Year
Ashleigh Barty is the clear frontrunner to win this one. The Australian won her second Grand Slam at Wimbledon in 2021 and another four titles, including two at the WTA 1000 level.
Barty also reigned atop the rankings throughout the year. Her total time spent at the top spot crossed 100 weeks during 2021, and she ended the season ranked No. 1 for the third straight year.
The other Slam champions of the year - Australian Open winner Naomi Osaka, Roland Garros winner Barbora Krejcikova and US Open winner Emma Raducanu - were also nominated. In addition, three other strong tour performers - Garbine Muguruza (WTA Finals champion), Aryna Sabalenka (Madrid champion) and Iga Swiatek (Rome champion) found a place in the list too.
2021 WTA Newcomer of the Year
Emma Raducanu became an overnight sensation by capturing the US Open. The first qualifier in tennis history to win a Grand Slam title, Raducanu produced a stunning run that catapulted her from outside the top 300 at the start of the year to No. 19 by the end of it.
Raducanu's fellow nominees have made giant strides too, with Clara Tauson winning two titles and Maria Camila Osorio Serrano being consistent throughout the year. But their results pale in comparison to what Raducanu achieved, and as such she is the overwhelming favorite to win in this category.
2021 WTA Most Improved Player Award
Barbora Krejcikova had been an established player in doubles for years, but in 2021 she made a successful transition to singles as well. Krejcikova won her maiden singles Slam at Roland Garros and performed consistently in that discipline throughout the year.
Perhaps just as impressively, the Czech continued her dominance in doubles as well. Krejcikova won a third consecutive mixed doubles title at the Australian Open, a second doubles title at Roland Garros and a doubles gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics, before finishing the season with the WTA Finals doubles crown.
Anett Kontaveit, Maria Sakkari and Paula Badosa made significant progress too (all three qualified for the WTA Finals), as did Leylah Fernandez (US Open runner-up) and Ons Jabeur (top 10 debutant). But Krejcikova's success in various disciplines gives her the clear edge in this category.
2021 WTA Comeback Player of the Year Award
This is a tough one to pick, but many believe Carla Suarez Navarro is the frontrunner here. The Spaniard successfully defeated cancer to return this year for a farewell tour, and each of her matches provided an emotional experience for the fans.
One of the most liked and respected players on the tour, Suarez Navarro gave it her all on the court even in 2021.
The likes of Sania Mirza (return from childbirth), Ana Konjuh (finishing inside the top 100 after years of injuries) and Elena Vesnina (tremendous doubles success after being away for a while) also achieved a great deal in 2021. But the emotional connect to Suarez Navarro's results might tilt the balance in her favor.
2021 WTA Doubles Team of the Year
Shuko Aoyama/Ena Shibahara
Hsieh Su-Wei/Elise Mertens
Barbora Krejcikova/Katerina Siniakova
Nicole Melichar-Martinez/Demi Schuurs
Alexa Guarachi/Desirae Krawczyk
Siniakova and Krejcikova have been among the most successful doubles teams of the last few years, and they continued their dominance in 2021 too. The Czech duo won their third Grand Slam title at Roland Garros, reached another final at the Australian Open, won the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics and clinched their first WTA Finals title.
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Their impressive resume this season makes them the clear favorites to win this award.