A year ago, following the retirement of tennis great Ashley Barty, former players and fans sounded the death knell for women’s tennis.
With Serena Williams retiring and another great, Venus Williams on the way out, Barty’s retirement wasn’t the only concern.
Many feel that the current crop of players is not consistent enough to lead women’s tennis, while others say there is a lack of quality and some argue that there is no competition on the WTA Tour.
In the year Flash forward to May 2023 and the outlook couldn’t be more different as the likes of Iga Sviatek, Aryna Sabalanka and Elena Rabakina prove at some point there is life after Batty, Serena and Venus.
And suddenly the praise is pouring in with legendary coach Patrick Mouratoglou – who has mentored the likes of Serena Williams, Simona Halep, Stefanos Tsitsipas – enthusing that women’s tennis has a “big three”.
“The WTA has a big-3! Arina Sabalenka, Iga Svitek, Elena Rabakina. “The third one is not ranked because the point she won from winning Wimbledon was not shown.” He tweeted after Saturday’s Madrid Open final.
WTA has the big 3!
Sabalenka, Sviatek, Rybakina
The third is not ranked because her points from winning Wimbledon are not shown.
— Patrick Mouratoglou (@pmuratoglou) May 7, 2023
That Madrid Open final was another highlight as World No. 1 Swiatek and World No. 2 Sabalenka prevailed in one of the best matches on the WTA Tour in recent years.
Sabalenka was victorious on Saturday, winning 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 for the third time in the 2023 season. However, it was Swiatek who walked away with the trophy after defeating her opponent 6-3, 6-4 in the Stuttgart final two weeks ago.
Former player and Amazon Prime analyst Marc Petchey was certainly pleased with the excitement in Madrid and the overall direction in which women’s tennis is headed.
“One of the best matches ever. What a conclusion. What kind of behavior from both. What charisma,” he wrote. “Competition-wise, women’s tennis hasn’t looked good for a while. The new frontier. “The New Normal.”
One of the best matches you will ever see. What a conclusion. What kind of behavior from both. What kind of character.
Competitively, women’s tennis hasn’t looked this good in a while.
The new frontier. The new normal.@SabalenkaA @tennischannel
— Mark Petchey (@_markpetchey) May 6, 2023
But Swiatek and Sabalenka are not the only ones who made Rybakina a big three, with many hoping that their competition will be similar to Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
Swiatek was at the top of her game last year, becoming the world No. 1, winning eight titles – including the French Open and the US Open – and posting a 37-match winning streak last year.
Rybakina was next to win her first Grand Slam at Wimbledon, and this year she finished second at the Australian Open, won the Indian Wells Masters and took another runner-up title at the Miami Open. Oh and she managed to get some impressive wins over Swiatek and Sabalenka along the way.
Sabalenka, meanwhile, finally hit some consistency. After years of promise and brief setbacks, the Belarusian won the Australian Open earlier in the year and finished second in India Wells and Stuttgart to record her second Madrid Open title.
There will still be ups and downs, but now women’s tennis is in good shape again.
The post ‘WTA has big three’ – Women’s tennis on the rise as Iga Swiatek, Aryna Sabalenka, Elena Rybakina dazzle appeared first on Tennis365.