There are only a few more sleeps to go until the Australian Open gets underway and all eyes will be on some of the biggest names of the game as history beckons for the likes of Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams and Ashleigh Barty.
The undoubted highlights for Australian tennis in 2019 were Ash Barty winning the French Open and going on to secure the world number one WTA ranking.
Barty was the first Australian to win the French Open singles since Margaret Court in 1973, and she became the first Australian woman to reach the top world ranking since Evonne Cawley in 1976. She also helped Australia to reach our first Federation Cup final since 1993, but we were beaten 3-2 by France in Perth last month. We haven’t won the Federation Cup since 1974.
Besides Barty, the other winners of the women’s grand slam singles events in 2019 were Japan’s Naomi Osaka (Australian Open), Romanian Simona Halep (Wimbledon) and 19-year-old Canadian Bianca Andreescu (US Open).
American Serena Williams lost two grand slam singles finals in 2019 (Wimbledon and the US Open), leaving her stranded on 23 career titles, one short of Margaret Court’s all-time record. At 38 years of age, time is running out for Williams to break (or even equal) the record.
The women’s top ten rankings at the end of 2019 are listed below, along with each player’s ranking at the end of 2018. Andreescu and Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic have jumped the most places during 2019.
1. Ash Barty – Australia (15)
2. Karolina Pliskova – Czech Republic (8)
3. Naomi Osaka – Japan (5)
4. Simona Halep – Romania (1)
5. Bianca Andreescu – Canada (107)
6. Elina Svitolina – Ukraine (4)
7. Petra Kvitova – Czech Republic (7)
8. Belinda Bencic – Switzerland (55)
9. Kiki Bertens – Netherlands (9)
10. Serena Williams – USA (16)
There’s been plenty of new entries into the men’s top ten rankings during 2019, but the big three (Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer) still fill the top three places. Here are the current standings (with each player’s ranking at the end of 2018 in brackets).
1. Rafael Nadal – Spain (2)
2. Novak Djokovic – Serbia (1)
3. Roger Federer – Switzerland (3)
4. Dominic Thiem – Austria (8)
5. Daniil Medvedev – Russia (16)
6. Stefanos Tsitsipas – Greece (15)
7. Alexander Zverev – Germany (4)
8. Matteo Berrettini – Italy (54)
9. Roberto Bautista Agut – Spain (24)
10. Gael Monfils – France (29)
Alex de Minaur is the highest-ranked Australian men’s player at 18.
Nadal and Djokovic split the four men’s grand slam singles titles in 2019, with Nadal winning the US and French Opens, and Djokovic claiming the Australian Open and Wimbledon crowns.
Federer still holds the all-time record of 20 men’s grand slam singles titles, but Nadal is breathing down his neck with 19. Time is on 33-year-old Nadal’s side more than it is for 38-year-old Federer, but Federer almost snatched another Wimbledon title this year. He lost a five-set epic to Djokovic in just under five hours.
Nadal also led Spain to a win over Canada in the revamped Davis Cup last month.