Serena Williams inadvertently announced she was pregnant through snapchat the other day, which sent the tennis world dizzy and completely opened up the chances of a myriad of WTA players to win a Grand Slam for at least the rest of the season as Serena ends up with child. Lets check out where the tennis landscape is currently and look at what’s happened the past 5 Slams and who is likely to fill the big void that Serena leaves.
More recently Serena wins the Australian Open a few months ago, as we now learn whilst pregnant, continuing the domination the American has shown at the Slams where at least since the beginning of 2012 she has won 10 out of the last 21 Grand Slams, almost a 50% batting average, incredible. In 2016 the Slams went as follows: Australian Open – Angelique Kerber, French Open – Garbine Muguruza, Wimbledon – Serena, US Open – Kerber.
After the huge year Kerber had last season which included becoming number one in the world, the German has slipped this year, the demise includes a 4th round loss at the Australian Open and the fact the lefty hasn’t won an event in 8 tournaments played so far this season. Kerber is colder than a Siberian mountain goat.
Lets look at Garbine Muguruza, winner of the French last year, the Spainard currently ranked 6 hasn’t made a final since that famous victory over Serena in Paris and has gone a pedestrian 14-7 this year. So, the winners of the last five Slams either through an absence (Serena) or poor form (Kerber, Muguruza), have left a Grand Slam void asking for any player to put their hand up.
Running through the rest of the Top 10, and their match record this year you’ve got :
- Pliskova 23-4 with 2 Titles (Brisbane and Doha)
- Cibulkova 12-8
- Halep 6-4
- Konta 19-3 with 2 Titles (Sydney and Miami)
- Radwanska 9-7
- Kuznetsova 14-6
- Keys 3-3
The Sydney born British raised Konta has been the surprise packet, though it will be interesting to see through the French Open and Wimbledon how she performs now the expectations are raised especially in London and since that debacle with cranky pants Nastase in Fed Cup recently.
Pliskova has been hot for many months and was most pundits pick to win in Melbourne where she lost a tough QF to Lucic-Baroni. Of those two form players this season I see Pliskova making a Grand Slam move this season, especially considering she already contested last years’ US Open final. However, her form at the French last season (lost 1st round) and Wimbledon (lost 2nd round) is worrisome.
Ironcially the player who could take advantage of Serena’s absence is none other than everyone’s favourite squealer Maria Sharapova, who recently returned this week in Stuttgart from a reduced 2-year ban for taking a banned substance. I’m sure Maria has heard the whispers and downright smackdowns on her return to the tour and would love nothing more than to bury the naysayers and win a Slam this season now her nemesis Serena is sidelined.
Looking at the outside chances that could make a Grand Slam run we find Venus (ranked 12) and Wozniacki (ranked 11) who have both played well these past 12 months. What wouldn’t surprise me at all is that we see a merry go round of winners for the rest of the year, see golf in Tiger’s demise. No one player wins multiple Slams but a certain player gets hot for 2 weeks and can’t replicate that again.
If I had to choose a couple of players, I do expect Kerber to regain form at some point this season so watch out for her and Pliskova has the firepower and is the player most likely to put it together for 7 matches. Whoever it is now is the golden opportunity in Serena’s absence to write themselves into the history books.