Tuesday, December 15, 2015

I Dream of Ms. Backspin

So, after declaring the 2015 "Ms. Backspin" race essentially over sometime during the summer, a funny thing happened on the way to the finish line. I felt the earth shift a bit under my feet, and when the dust settled on the full WTA season a few weeks ago, well, choosing the winner of this year's "Ms.B" honor was no longer a simple fait accompli. It was a real competition, filled with multiple realistic, worthy winners.

Well, three.

At the same time, other ideas and notions have apparently coalesced elsewhere. Within the span of a week Serena Williams was named the WTA Player of the Year, as well as Sports Illustrated's Sportsperson of the Year (the first solo female athlete to win the honor in thirty-two years). The former was expected, but the latter was something of a welcome surprise coming from a magazine that once featured tennis quite often but in recent decades failed to ever present the award to the likes of Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf (not even in '88) or Roger Federer. Granted, none of those players were U.S.-born, but Pete Sampras wasn't even given the honor of a cover story when he broke the (then) all-time slam title record at Wimbledon in '00. In recent years, a Williams-related cover presented her alongside a "Love Her, Hate Her... She's the Best Ever" headline.

So, a full-on embrace of the Serena brand wasn't exactly expected.

Naturally, though, the honor comes in a year in which it's easy to argue against Williams winning it solely for on her on-court efforts, while the likes of Tom Brady, Steph Curry, American Pharoah and even Jordan Spieth (who also came up short of a Grand Slam quest, but helped golf fill a Tiger-less void) were probably expected to finish ahead of her. But, I suppose, we can chalk it up to the creeping, and long-overdue, appreciation of Serena's abilities, off-court hurdles overcome and generally irreplaceable and unique spot on the sports landscape for the run of her entire career.

Williams is just the fourth tennis-related winner in the 62-year history of the SI award, but the most recent (Arthur Ashe in '92, following his HIV/AIDS diagnosis... he died two months after he won) was honored due to off-court circumstances. The last active player to be presented the award for their on-court accomplishments was Chris Evert in 1976 in the middle of the American tennis boom. Truthfully, Serena should have won the SI honor before now (in either 2012 or '13 after her return to power after a brush with death, if not during her original "Serena Slam" run over a decade ago), and rightly should have been a co-winner with sister Venus during the years when they formed a two-headed force that dominated the tour (and the slams) for a number of seasons. She did win the SportsWOMAN of the year for the short-lived Sports Illustrated Women magazine in 2002, but, well... that has sort of a "kids table" feeling to it, doesn't it? It doesn't help that the magazine ceased publication at the end of that year, either.

But now, thirteen years later, she gets the BIG award. So congrats to Serena, and good for Sports Illustrated, too. Finally. Late is better than never, I guess.

But none of that had or has any impact on "Ms. Backspin." Fact is, I'd already made my decision before any of the SI business happened. As it turned out, Serena's recent honors only served to strengthen the embrace of my actual choice. If you've followed this space for any amount of time, you'd probably realize that such swelling opinion in one direction would more than likely have led to me swinging the OTHER direction, anyway, just because I don't trust or believe in doing anything just because others have come to a certain conclusion. The more scenic route is almost always the most interesting.

A few months ago, it looked as if Serena was a sure-thing winner of her fourth "Ms.B" title (2002, '12 & '13) after winning the first three majors of the season (and four straight, her second "Serena Slam"). While it wasn't always a pretty run (and was sometimes downright ugly... see that Roland Garros semifinal), Williams was by far the dominant WTA singles player of 2015 (though probably not in all of tennis, as Novak Djokovic's season was downright astounding). She arrived in New York looking for the first Grand Slam season since Graf's "Golden Slam" year in '88, only to fall in the U.S. Open semifinals to Roberta Vinci, and then end her season soon afterward without playing another match.

Maybe that opened the door. Enter her competition. As far as this honor in concerned, what is essentially a "Player of the Year" award isn't necessarily reserved for a SINGLES player. Three times in the past seven years, a doubles or Fed Cup team have finished at #1 on this list. And Williams' main competitors for 2015's honor fit that same description, making a fourth multiple-player entry being crowned in eight years a distinct possibility.

While the continuation of their Fed Cup dynasty got their collective foot in the door, the unique quality of the Czech Maidens (who won a fourth FC title in five years in November) was no longer in their corner since they were the 2014 "Ms.B" winners, so I ruled them out. Thus, the "battle" for the '15 crown ultimately came down to weighing the difference between one player coming oh so close to a feat of historical significance against the accomplishments of a duo who have, individually, been at or near the top of their field for the past twenty years before joining together in a perfect combination of star power and overwhelming excellence this season to form a "Dream Team" that took the doubles tour by storm. When Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza first teamed up back in March they reeled off victories in their first fourteen matches, winning three straight titles in Miami, Indian Wells and Charleston. And the best was still to come.

Hingis and Mirza, who somehow had managed to never play doubles together before this year, proved to be an arguably even more dominant force on tour in 2015 than Serena. While Serena won three slam singles titles in four attempts, they won two of the three majors they played (and Hingis added three Mixed slams). Williams won five overall titles, while the Dreamers claimed nine as a duo (and both picked up a tenth title w/ other partners, as well). Serena went 53-3 (w/ three additional walkover losses) and had four unbroken winning streaks of 10+ matches. Hingis/Mirza were 55-7 with two streaks of 14+ victories, including a 22-match, five-title string to end the season.

But on which head(s) will the "Ms. Backspin" crown rest for the next twelve months?

Well, I suppose I've already sort of shown my hand, haven't I? Okay, then... let's just make it all official and such.

Here are the final "Ms. Backspin" rankings for 2015:

1. Martina Hingis & Sania Mirza, SUI/IND
...ah, the Dream Team. (Yes, I know they're calling themselves "Santina"... but I like my nickname better.) How did we live without them before this season? Even more, how did THEY live without each other? Separate and with other partners Hingis and Mirza are both stellar, but when their greatest skills -- Mirza's forehand and Hingis' net coverage -- were combined they immediately became the WTA's version of comic book superheroes. It didn't take long for their power to become apparent, as they won their first fourteen matches and swept the just-a-LITTLE-BIT-important swing of Premier events in Miami, Indian Wells and Charleston. Soon, their combined efforts pushed Mirza to #1 in doubles (Hingis held the spot for 36 weeks between 1998-2000, 29 of them while simultaneously also being #1 in singles), making her the first Indian woman to sit atop the WTA rankings. Mirza, for all her accomplishments, had failed to secure a women's doubles slam title in her career. Well, that was taken care of at Wimbledon, then added to at the U.S. Open. Hingis won the Mixed Doubles (w/ Leander Paes) at both events, as well, giving her three on the season after having won the Australian Open with the Indian vet, as well (giving her FIVE slam titles this season to run her overall career total to twenty). But the Dream Teamers weren't finished. They just couldn't help themselves. Giving the doubles a showcase duo whose only attention-getting equivalents in recent years (decades?) have been the Williams Sisters and the "Spice Girls" (Hingis again, this time with Anna Kournikova in the late 1990s/early 2000's) wasn't enough, Martina & Sania had to get theirs, too. They won the last five tournaments they played, going 22-0 with their season culminating in a spotlessly dominant run through the field at the WTA Finals in Singapore (where Mirza defended her title, having won in '14 with Cara Black). Their 55-7 record even came with its own "what if's," as a few of their losses on red clay (on which they were a mortal 7-4) came immediately after a tired and limping Hingis played just days after having made a return to singles action in Fed Cup (and Mirza had traveled half way around the world to Europe after being India's FC Captain in Asia only days earlier). Unfortunately, the Swiss-Indian pair can't team up at the Olympics in Rio next year. But what are the chances that their paths could still cross there? Hmmm, well, maybe pretty good considering that Hingis will likely "loan out" Paes to Mirza, while she teams with none other than Roger Federer. Geez... is there a title ABOVE "Dream Team" for that combination?

2. Serena Williams, USA
...really, the only thing that kept Williams from an unprecedented fourth "Ms. Backspin" crown (her three wins are already more than any other player) was her own super high standards. It says something about her career when winning three slams in a season and claiming four straight majors isn't a totally eye-popping result because, you know, she's ALREADY done that (2002-03). Her quest for a Grand Slam was the driving force pushing her entire season forward, and when she lost in the U.S. Open semis to Roberta Vinci it was difficult to not see her campaign as having "come up short." Obviously, it was a devastating enough result that she had to end her season early in order to put it all behind her and prepare for 2016. Of course, that doesn't mean her season was any less remarkable. While Serena often struggled with the pressure (and lingering injuries) over the course of the year, Williams still ran her career slam singles total to twenty (two behind Graf's Open era record, and four away from Margaret Court's all-time mark of 24), and her five overall singles titles (including her third straight, and eighth overall, in Miami) passed Billie Jean King and Evonne Goolagong to move her into 5th all-time with sixty-nine WTA singles wins. Serena put together winning streaks of 15, 12, 12 and 10 matches that were ended by both actual defeats or walkovers, and carried over her three-match streak to end '14 into this season, extending a nearly seven-month stretch that didn't see her lose a match on court until she was taken down by Petra Kvitova in Madrid in May, stopping the run at twenty-seven matches. Williams went 5-0 in finals, though, and has still only lost twice when a title was on the line (both vs. Vika Azarenka in '13) over the last four seasons. At 34, Serena is already the oldest women's #1, and she's closing in on Steffi Graf's record for consecutive weeks in the top spot (186 -- Williams will enter '16 with 149). If she remains #1 all next year she'll equal the German's accomplishment of doing so for three straight FULL seasons. As it is, Williams will start next year two years -- 104 weeks -- away from Graf's overall mark of 377 weeks at #1 during her career. Oh, and, of course, there's the issue of "unfinished business." I actually predicted a Grand Slam for Serena in '14, and she nearly pulled one off in '15. Could she compete for the same in '16, with the added incentive of an opportunity to match Graf's "Golden Slam" (four majors + Olympic Gold) feat of '88 being the overflowing pot o' gold at the end of the rainbow? Hmmm, probably not... but you can never rule out ANYTHING when it comes to Serena. That much we know for sure.

3. Czech Fed Cup Team
...like clockwork, the Czechs were once again crowned Fed Cup champions in 2015. The Maidens have now won four crowns in the past five years, with the stretch bookended by a pair of back-to-back championships. This season's title run had a somewhat different flavor than the other three, though. Rather than seeing FC Queen Petra Kvitova or resilient "#2" Lucie Safarova put the team on their shoulders en route to the title, this year it was Karolina Pliskova's turn in the driver's seat. The 23-year old was Backspin's Czech MVP in two of the squad's three FC outings this season, including in the 3-2 final against Russia in which Pliskova turned around a 2-1 deficit on Sunday and won back-to-back singles/doubles rubbers to secure a 3-2 victory. In the World Group 1st Round in February, without Kvitova or Safarova on the roster, Pliskova was the Numero Uno Maiden, taking out Canada with a clinching singles victory in a 4-0 win. In the semifinals against France, Kvitova was back in her customary role, going 2-0 against the Pastry numbers 1 and 2 (Kristina Mladenovic and Caroline Garcia, the latter of which against whom Safarova also staged a come-from-behind three-set victory to open the weekend) without dropping a set to clinch the win at 3-0 (a dead rubber French doubles win added a face-saving point to the Pastry total). In the final, with Safarova injured and out of action partly due to a recent hospitalization, Kvitova's lead role shifted to Pliskova after Petra lost a three-setter to Maria Sharapova in Match #3, setting up the younger Maiden's heroics. Pliskova and Barbora Strycova, the team's "secret weapon" in deciding doubles matches during their current dynastic run, won 4-6/6-3/6-2 over Pavlyuchenkova/Vesnina to secure yet another FC championship. The Czech reign might be sternly tested right off the bat in '16, as they'll face the deep Swarmette squad in a road tie in Romania in the opening round this coming February. The Czech Republic has gone 13-1 in FC ties since 2011 (including an impressive 6-1 road record). And, don't look now, but the NextGen Maidens are already stirring. This season, Marketa Vondrousova led the Czech girls to their first Fed Cup 16s title since 2001, as well. Gulp.

4. Angelique Kerber, GER
5. Simona Halep, ROU
6. Garbine Muguruza, ESP
7. Timea Bacsinszky, SUI

...so, the "secondary" group of "Ms.B" contenders combined to win ten titles, fill two of the top three spots on the WTA computer, and play in seventeen singles finals, three slam semis and the Wimbledon Ladies final.

Kerber's high finish is a testament to the career year she had on the regular tour, not at the slams. The German had her worst slam year since 2010, never advancing past the 3rd Round at any major after having produced ten Round of 16 or better results from 2011-14. But her four titles on a tour-best four different surfaces (hard/Stanford, grass/Birmingham, red clay/Stuttgart and green clay/Charleston) -- more titles than she'd collected in her entire career, after entering '15 having lost eight of her last nine finals -- allowed her to finish in the Top 10 for the fourth straight season. She failed to get what would have been a tour lead-tying fifth title in Hong Kong, losing in the final to Jelena Jankovic. Kerber was a persistent presence in a slew of Match of the Year contenders over the course of '15, but perhaps the one sticking point in her season was the match she DIDN'T play. With Germany in the Fed Cup semifinals and with a chance to play in back-to-back finals for the first time since 1983, Kerber (along with Andrea Petkovic) didn't play on Day 1 of her team's tie with Russia, which took place soon after the exhausted German had taken the long route to the Charleston title one week earlier. With the Germans down 0-2 going into Day 2, Kerber and Petko came to the rescue with singles victories (losing just four games in two matches) to knot the score, only to see Russia take the tie in the deciding doubles.

Halep ended 2014 ranked #3 and seemingly the odds-on favorite to be the NEXT first-time slam champ. She ended 2015 at #2, but in the intervening twelve months she lost quite a bit of the edge which had previously made her appear to be a "sure thing." Things started out swimmingly for the Romanian, though, as she won three of her first four tournaments of 2015. She claimed the first two big Premier events of the season in Dubai and Indian Wells to become the fourth woman in WTA history to claim the first two Tier I/$2m+ Premier events of the season. She then lost a tight three-set semifinal (7-5 3rd) to Serena Williams in Miami, narrowing missing out on a chance to become the first woman to ever sweep the first three biggest non-slam events in a season. She wouldn't win a another title all season, though, as Halep's only two early season losses -- in the Australian Open QF to Ekaterina Makarova and in Fed Cup to Garbine Muguruza -- hinted at what was the come. And it wasn't good. Frustrated against the Russian in Melbourne, Halep seemed to want to be anywhere but on the court, and quickly went down in defeat. Against the Spaniard in front of a Romanian crowd, Halep was crushed under the weight of expectation (and Muguruza's power) and admitted afterward to a crisis of confidence that led to her allowing the moment to get the best of her. She vowed to never give up again. For the most part, she held to that vow the rest of the season, too. Except for when she didn't in a few big moments. She reached back-to-back finals in Toronto and Cincinnati, retiring in the 3rd set against Belinda Bencic in the former and losing in straights to Serena in the latter. In the U.S. Open, after gutting through wins over Sabine Lisicki and Victoria Azarenka, she essentially failed to post once again in her non-competitive semifinal loss to eventual champ Flavia Pennetta. In the WTA Finals, as the #1 seed and a '14 finalist, she needed to win just one set vs. Aga Radwanska in her final round robin match to advance to the semis, only to squander a 5-1 1st set tie-break lead and lose in straights while the Pole advanced and went on to win the title. Soon after, Halep announced that she'll go with part-time coach Darren Cahill on a full-time basis in 2016. Will it be enough to get her past the big match, big stage rut she now finds herself in? Well, anyone who saw Cahill plead with Halep, to no avail, to do something -- anything -- on the court to "inspire" him as that Radwanska match was slipping way, has reason to wonder. As it is, she's been replaced in the #1 seat in the maiden slam winner waiting room by...

Muguruza. Unlike Halep, the Spaniard seems to enjoy the big stage, often rising to the occasion to produce some of her best moments when everyone is watching. It happened in '14 when she handed Serena Williams her worst career slam loss at Roland Garros, and it occurred periodically throughout the '15 season, as well. She reached the Wimbledon final, and gave Williams a fine game there. Suddenly, everyone knew who she was and what the tennis future might hold for her. The immediate stardom tract that followed sent Muguruza slightly off course, but she'd righted her path by the end of the season and strung together the most consistent string of performances of her career in the closing weeks, during which began a coaching relationship with Sam Suymk that surely seemed to get the very best out of the hard-hitting Spaniard's big game. Muguruza ended 2015 on a 12-2 sprint which included a final in Wuhan, a title in Beijing (her first since early '14) and a semifinal result at the WTA Finals, where while she failed to secure a title she was the on-the-ground "star" of the event with a featured role in both singles and doubles (she and CSN reached the final). The great finish lifted her season-ending rank to #3, the best by a Spanish woman since 1996. She enters '16 precisely where Halep entered '15, at the top of the "next first-time slam champ" possibility list and with seemingly much room to grow even while only two players currently appear above her in the WTA rankings. This could get very fun very soon.

It's a simple fact that it's impossible to NOT root for Bacsinszky, who has embraced her second chance at a WTA career with the expected gusto and appreciation of a player whose favorite Twitter hashtag is "#ILoveMyJob." The Swiss has gone from being resigned to a career in hotel management as recently as early 2014, having been beaten down by the usual maladies that seek out and destroy young tennis players, to seeing her decision to give the tour one final, last-ditch try pay off more handsomely than she could have ever dreamed possible. After modest success last season, Bacsinszky was one of the most improved players on tour in 2015. She began her season with a run to the Shenzhen final and reached a (then) career-best slam 3rd Round at the Australian Open (upsetting Jelena Jankovic in the 1st Round), then was crowned the unofficial "Queen of Mexico" with back-to-back titles in Acapulco and Monterrey, her first on tour since 2009. A QF in Indian Wells was sandwiched by successful stints in the lead role on the Swiss Fed Cup team (5-0 in s/d in two wins, as Switzerland will play in the World Group next year for the first time since '04 pretty much soley because of her efforts). Next came a semifinal at Roland Garros (and Serena's biggest Houdini escape of the entire slam season) and a QF at Wimbledon. The effects of her hard charge finally dragged the Swiss down during the summer hard court season, where she went 0-4 before finally regaining her feet with a final in Beijing in October. Ready to finish '15 with the same sort of flourish with which it began, instead, Bacsinszky's season ended early with an injury in Luxembourg that kept her from the season-ending Elite Trophy event. Still, she lifted her ranking from #49 to #12 over the past year, climbing as high as #10. Her early-season 15-match winning streak tied with Serena for the longest on tour in 2015, and the Queen of Mexico now looks toward a 2016 season which will either see her results level off or throw her into a weekly who's-the-top-ranked-Swiss? competition all season long with #14 Belinda Bencic. Either way, Bacsinszky will continue to roll with the punches. After all, she loves her job.

8. Bethanie Mattek-Sands & Lucie Safarova, USA/CZE
9. Maria Sharapova, RUS
10. Karolina Pliskova, CZE

...before the Dream Team, there was the Dynamic Duo. Mattek-Sands, seeking a full comeback from spring '14 hip surgery, opened the year by winning a doubles title with none other than Sania Mirza in Sydney. But it was her first-time pairing with Lucie Safarova at the Australian Open that got the doubles world REALLY talking. The new duo won the title, leading to a season in which they went 29-6 and winning four titles, including a second slam at Roland Garros. Clicking off the court as well as on -- were there any players with wackier, but totally in character social media posts? -- the rising tide of their new partnership lifted both their boats. In Paris, the pair had their hands in EVERY possible final, as BMS also won the Mixed Doubles with Mike Bryan while Safarova reached the women's singles final, losing in three sets to Serena Williams. Safarova won her biggest career singles title in Doha and rose from #17 to #9 for the season, while Mattek-Sands rebounded by climbing from #175 to #60 and put up a strong fight in the early rounds against Serena at the U.S. Open. They both finished in the Top 4 in doubles, and even sported a 2-0 record against Hingis/Mirza during the clay court season that proved to be the high point of the DD year.

At first glance, Sharapova feels to have had an "off" season in 2015. But, in truth, while she failed to win a sixth slam title she did reach a major final (Australian Open, a loss to Serena) for the fifth straight year, won the first Week 1 title of her career (Brisbane) and for the second time in Rome (w/ 2012). She played in her first Wimbledon semifinal since 2011 and her first career Fed Cup final, getting a key singles win on Day 2 over Petra Kvitova that put the Russians up 2-1 (she'd accounted for the Day 1 win, as well, running her career FC record to 7-1), only to nervously -- and helplessly -- watch from the sidelines as her countrywomen failed to close out the championship. Her titles give her thirteen straight seasons with a tour crown, good for fourth all-time (one behind Graf's fourteen), and her #4 finish is her fifth straight Top 4 season and her tenth in the Top 10 in the last twelve. The 248-week streak of Top 10 rankings she'll carry into 2016 is the longest active streak on tour. But an 0-2 record vs. Serena Williams pushed her 17-match losing streak against the American into a second decade, and a lingering leg injury prevented her from completing a match between her Wimbledon semifinal (one of her losses to Williams) and her season-ending appearance in the wTA Finals. With the Rio Olympics, which will be Sharapova's second, ahead in 2016 the Russian can seek the only major singles title she's yet to claim. Well, unless you count the tour level tournament in Miami (she once again failed to win there in '15, losing in a 2nd Round upset to Daria Gavrilova after having lost in the final five previous times since '05). Oh, and her Instagram account in a constant joy... but that has nothing to do with this list. At least I don't think so.

As 2015 ends, Pliskova appears stealthily crouched in the weeds waiting to spring a semi-secret attack in 2016. Make no mistake about it, the Czech is on the cusp of greater success. It's just a matter of how long it takes her to fully find it. She's already at or near the top of a slew of tour statistics: 53 wins (1st), 79 matches (1st), six finals (1st), eight semis (3rd, one behind S.Williams & Halep), 71.7% First Serve Points Won (3rd) and 517 aces (1st, a tour record -- and she's the first to ever put together a 500 aces/50 wins season, too). She even came out on top in the U.S. Open Series through an "accounting error" otherwise known as USTA rules and regulations. But the only thing she didn't come close to leading in was actual titles. Pliskova won just one, in Prague in the spring, but ended her season on a high note by reaching the Elite Trophy final and then leading the Czech Maidens to a Fed Cup championship with singles and doubles victories on Day 2 that erased a 2-1 Russian lead and extended her nation's FC dynasty yet another year. With her late season confidence surge, lethal serve, crisp ground strokes and generally unemotional on-court demeanor (yes, as hard as it is to believe with that last trait, she IS indeed Czech) Pliskova might be perfectly suited for big-time success in '16 without, "Oh, Karolina" having to become part of the Backspin lexicon before she reaches her career height. But she IS still Czech... so we shall see.

*CONTENDERS... but still not in the Top 10*
11. Aga Radwanska, POL - Radwanska's was a season separated into two parts: her mediocre 15-13 start (which still included Poland's first Hopman Cup title in Perth), then the 36-12 resurgence that kicked in during the grass court season (Eastbourne final, Wimbledon SF) and saw the Pole finally shake off the demons of her '13 come-from-ahead loss in the SW19 semifinals. Aga truly hit full stride in the 4Q, winning three titles (two without dropping a set) and amazingly maneuvering her way through the WTA Finals field to claim the biggest title of her career, proving that she could take out consecutive big hitters (Muguruza and Kvitova) on a big stage. The run lifted her back into the Top 5 for the third time in four seasons after she'd fallen out of the Top 10 in the spring after a 187-week stint. Her 410 straight weeks in the Top 20 will begin 2016 as the longest active run on tour.

12. Venus Williams, USA - Venus had a solid presence on tour from January (when she won Auckland) to October/November (when she won in Wuhan and Zhuhai's Elite Trophy), becoming the fourth, fifth and sixth oldest singles champ in WTA history while winning her most titles since '09. That's the same year she also last finished in the Top 10 (she was #7 this year at age 35, the oldest season-ending Top 10er on tour since 1994). In between, she had two slam QF and a Round of 16 and prevented U.S. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez from TOTAL embarrassment by spearheading the Bannerettes' only FC win in '15 (going 2-0 in a win over Argentina that very nearly got away from the Americans in Buenos Aires). Of course, she was also 0-2 vs. Serena in slams... so the Venus 2015 renaissance was almost EXACTLY like "old times."

13. Belinda Bencic, SUI - the 18-year old built upon a '14 season that saw her reach her first tour singles final and slam QF (U.S. Open). In 2015, the New Swiss Miss reached four finals and won the first two titles of her career, including in Backspin's "Performance of the Year" in Toronto when all six of her wins (including over Serena and Halep) came against players who've been ranked #1, won a slam or reached a slam final. The second-youngest singles champ all year (behind Ana Konjuh) was also the youngest doubles winner, picking up her first two tour titles there, as well. Her only "step back" example would be her 1r-2r-4r-3r results in the slams. Of course, one could make a case that this just gives her room for improvement and a solid Top 10 year in '16.

14. Chan Hao-Ching & Chan Yung-Jan, TPE/TPE - titles in Pattaya, Cincinnati and Tokyo made the Chan sisters the winningest all-sibling duo in tour history not named Williams. Not only that, but they threw their hat into the ring for consideration as the second-best doubles team. Period. From Toronto forward, the Chans went 24-2 against every team other than Hingis/Mirza. Of course, they were just 1-5 vs. the Dream Team. So...

15. Russian Fed Cup Team - Captain Anastasia Myskina's guidance of the Hordettes back to the FC final (the eighth for Russia since 2001) erases the recent troubles with the Russian Tennis Federation that led to the nation sporting "C"-teams filled with FC neophytes. With Maria Sharapova aboard, the Russians held a 2-1 advantage on the final day and very nearly stopped the Czech domination of the event in recent years. The Hordettes haven't won a FC title since 2008. Could #5 finally come in 2016?

16. Petra Kvitova, CZE - the Czech was slowed by mono, failed to defend her Wimbledon crown (losing in the 3rd Rd. to JJ) and wasn't even the "lead" Maiden in the Fed Cup final, but she still scraped out another Top 5 season and got a big Premier title in Madrid (where she was the first to defeat Serena on the court in 27 matches).

17. Flavia Pennetta, ITA - it wasn't a memorable year for the Italian, save for maybe one final bit of Fed Cup glory in her hometown when she assisted in a take down of the Serena-led U.S. squad... well, you know, until she pulled off a surprise U.S. Open title run and turned 2015 into THE season for which she'll ALWAYS be remembered. The Tennis Gods are sneaky that way.

18. Washington Kastles - the World Team Tennis champs for a fifth consecutive time (and a way for Martina Hingis -- and Venus, too, for that matter -- to slip onto this list for a second time).
19. Madison Keys, USA - she didn't fly as high in '15 as her Australian Open semifinal once made it seem possible, but her career year still included her first Top 20 finish, her biggest final in Charleston and a Wimbledon QF. The "next step" will have to be taken without '15 coach Lindsay Davenport, though.
20. Jiske Griffioen, NED (WC) - the Dutch vet rose to the wheelchair #1 ranking with two singles (AO/RG) and two doubles (RG/US) slam titles.
21. Carla Suarez-Navarro, ESP - the Spanish vet reached big finals in Antwerp, Miami and Rome, but failed to follow up on the maiden tour title she finally won during the 2014 season. Still, she was one of three players (w/ Safarova and CSN doubles partner Muguruza) to finish the season in the Top 20 in both singles and doubles.
22. Anna Schmiedlova, SVK - she assumed the lead role on the SVK Fed Cup team, reached her first tour final in Rio and then notched two tour wins in Katowice and Bucharest in an under-the-radar breakout season that could set the stage for even bigger things in '16.
23. Jordanne Whiley, GBR (WC) - the Brit moved out of the shadow of friend and doubles partner Yui Kamiji by defeating her for the U.S. Open WC title. The duo also won doubles slam titles in Melbourne and London.
24. Timea Babos/Kristina Mladenovic, HUN/FRA - the longtime BFF's won three titles and a slam semi at SW19. Both reached Mixed slam finals, as well.
25. Raquel Kops-Jones/Abigail Spears, USA/USA - the veteran Bannerette team claimed three titles and reached the Wimbledon semifinals.
HM- Victoria Azarenka, BLR - Vika didn't have the great comeback season she'd have liked, but she showed flashes of her "old" self, reached a final in Doha, a pair of slam QF and had three quality matches against Serena Williams (nearly pulling off two upsets) in a near-Top 20 (#22) season. She'll need to fashion a Top 10 comeback in '16 for next season to be declared a "success."

Special Mention- Teliana Pereira, BRA - the Brazilian woke up the echoes of Maria Bueno, becoming the first woman from her county to win a title since 1988... then she won a SECOND, becoming the first Brazilian to pick up a tour title in Brazil (Florianopolis) in thirty years.

2001 Jennifer Capriati / USA
2002 Serena Williams / USA
2003 Justine Henin-Hardenne / BEL
2004 Maria Sharapova / RUS
2005 Kim Clijsters / BEL
2006 Amelie Mauresmo / FRA
2007 Justine Henin / BEL
2008 Cara Black & Liezel Huber / ZIM-USA
2009 Italian Fed Cup Team
2010 Francesca Schiavone / ITA
2011 Petra Kvitova / CZE
2012 Serena Williams / USA
2013 Serena Williams / USA
2014 Czech Fed Cup Team
2015 Martina Hingis & Sania Mirza / SUI-IND

=YEARLY "Ms. Backspin" Top 10's=
1. Jennifer Capriati, USA
2. Lindsay Davenport, USA
3. Venus Williams, USA
4t. Kim Clijsters, BEL
4t. Justine Henin, BEL
6. Martina Hingis, SUI
7. Jelena Dokic, AUS
8. Amelie Mauresmo, FRA
9. Serena Williams, USA
10. Monica Seles, USA
1. Serena Williams, USA
2. Venus Williams, USA
3. Jennifer Capriati, USA
4. Kim Clijsters, BEL
5. Anna Smashnova, ISR
6. Daniela Hantuchova, SVK
7. Monica Seles, USA
8. Justine Henin, BEL
9. Jelena Dokic, AUS
10. Paola Suarez, ARG
1. Justine Henin-Hardenne, BEL
2. Serena Williams, USA
3. Kim Clijsters, BEL
4t. Anastasia Myskina, RUS
4t. Elena Dementieva, RUS
6. Amelie Mauresmo, FRA
7. Maria Sharapova, RUS
8. Ai Sugiyama, JPN
9t. Virginia Ruano Pascual, ESP
9t. Paola Suarez, ARG
1. Maria Sharapova, RUS
2. Lindsay Davenport, USA
3. Anastasia Myskina, RUS
4. Amelie Mauresmo, FRA
5. Justine Henin-Hardenne, BEL
6. Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS
7. Virginia Ruano Pascual/Paola Suarez, ESP/ARG
8. Elena Dementieva, RUS
9. Serena Williams, USA
10. Vera Zvonareva, RUS
1. Kim Clijsters, BEL
2. Lindsay Davenport, USA
3. Mary Pierce, FRA
4. Justine Henin-Hardenne, BEL
5. Serena Williams & Venus Williams, USA/USA
6. Maria Sharapova, RUS
7. Amelie Mauresmo, FRA
8. Cara Black, ZIM
9. Patty Schnyder, SUI
10. Nadia Petrova, RUS
1. Amelie Mauresmo, FRA
2. Justine Henin-Hardenne, BEL
3. Maria Sharapova, RUS
4. Nadia Petrova, RUS
5. Lisa Raymond/Samantha Stosur, USA/AUS
6. Italian Fed Cup Team
7. Martina Hingis, SUI
8. Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS
9. Kim Clijsters, BEL
10. Nicole Vaidisova, CZE
1. Justine Henin, BEL
2. Jelena Jankovic, SRB
3. Venus Williams, USA
4. Cara Black/Liezel Huber, ZIM/USA
5. Serena Williams, USA
6. Ana Ivanovic, SRB
7. Anna Chakvetadze, RUS
8. Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS
9. Maria Sharapova, RUS
10. Lisa Raymond/Samantha Stosur, USA/AUS
1. Cara Black/Liezel Huber, ZIM/USA
2. Serena Williams, USA
3. Jelena Jankovic, SRB
4. Maria Sharapova, RUS
5. Venus Williams, USA
6. Dinara Safina, RUS
7. Ana Ivanovic, SRB
8. Russian Fed Cup Team
9. Elena Dementieva, RUS
10. Vera Zvonareva, RUS
1. Italian Fed Cup Team
2. Serena Williams, USA
3. Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS
4. Serena Williams/Venus Williams, USA/USA
5. Nuria Llagostera-Vives/Maria Jose Martinez-Sanchez, ESP/ESP
6. Dinara Safina, RUS
7. Caroline Wozniacki, DEN
8. Kim Clijsters, BEL
9. United States Fed Cup Team
10. Elena Dementieva, RUS
1. Francesca Schiavone, ITA
2. Kim Clijsters, BEL
3. Caroline Wozniacki, DEN
4. Serena Williams, USA
5. Gisela Dulko/Flavia Pennetta, ARG/ITA
6. Italian Fed Cup Team
7. Vera Zvonareva, RUS
8. Samantha Stosur, AUS
9. Vania King/Yaroslava Shvedova, USA/KAZ
10. United States Fed Cup Team
1. Petra Kvitova, CZE
2. Li Na, CHN
3. Liezel Huber, USA
4. Kveta Peschke/Katarina Srebotnik, CZE/SLO
5. Caroline Wozniacki, DEN
6. Liezel Huber/Lisa Raymond, USA/USA
7. Samantha Stosur, AUS
8. Czech Republic Fed Cup Team
9. Victoria Azarenka, BLR
10. Kim Clijsters, BEL
1. Serena Williams, USA
2. Victoria Azarenka, BLR
3. Maria Sharapova, RUS
4. Sara Errani/Roberta Vinci, ITA/ITA
5. Agnieszka Radwanska, POL
6. Sara Errani, ITA
7. Czech Fed Cup Team
8. Angelique Kerber, GER
9. Petra Kvitova, CZE
10. Serena Williams/Venus Williams, USA/USA
1. Serena Williams, USA
2. Victoria Azarenka, BLR
3. Simona Halep, ROU
4. Hsieh Su-Wei/Peng Shuai, TPE/CHN
5. Italian Fed Cup Team
6. Roberta Vinci, ITA
7. Maria Sharapova, RUS
8. Marion Bartoli, FRA
9. Sara Errani/Roberta Vinci, ITA/ITA
10. Ekaterina Makarova/Elena Vesnina, RUS/RUS
1. Czech Fed Cup Team
2. Serena Williams, USA
3. Maria Sharapova, RUS
4. Petra Kvitova, CZE
5. Sara Errani/Roberta Vinci, ITA/ITA
6. Simona Halep, ROU
7. Li Na, CHN
8. Genie Bouchard, CAN
9. Ana Ivanovic, SRB
10. Peng Shuai, CHN

So, here are 2015's Player Awards lists, as well as a recap of some past BSA winners (yes, lists of the players who've been atop the lists included in posts full of lists in years past... not that that's weird or anything):

1. Garbine Muguruza, ESP
2. Karolina Pliskova, CZE
3. Angelique Kerber, GER
4. Timea Bacsinszky, SUI
5. Madison Keys, USA
6. Kristina Mladenovic, FRA
7. Romanian Fed Cup Team
8. Spanish Fed Cup Team
9. Anna Schmiedlova, SVK
10. Sloane Stephens, USA
11. Carla Suarez-Navarro, ESP
12. Camila Giorgi, ITA
13. Danka Kovinic, MNE
14. Caroline Garcia, FRA
15. Teliana Pereira, BRA
16. Jordanne Whiley, GBR (WC)
17. Swiss Fed Cup Team
18. Coco Vandeweghe, USA
19. Kurumi Nara, JPN
20. Misaki Doi, JPN
21. Heather Watson, GBR
22. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, RUS
23. Alexandra Dulgheru, ROU
24. Zheng Saisai, CHN
25. Aniek Van Koot, NED (WC)
26. Yui Kamiji, JPN (WC)
27. Lesia Tsurenko, UKR
28. Aleksandra Krunic, SRB
29. Wang Yafan, CHN
30. Lara Arruabarrena, ESP
31. Zarina Diyas, KAZ
32. Dutch Fed Cup Team
33. Timea Babos, HUN
34. Bojana Jovanovski, SRB
35. Irina-Camelia Begu, ROU
36. Alison Van Uytvanck, BEL
37. Karin Knapp, ITA
38. Julia Goerges, GER
39. Ajla Tomljanovic, CRO/AUS
40. Monica Niculescu, ROU
41. Belarusian Fed Cup Team
42. Madison Brengle, USA
43. Anna Tatishvili, USA
44. Kiki Bertens, NED
45. Mona Barthel, GER
46. Monica Puig, PUR
47. Magdalena Rybarikova, SVK
48. Johanna Larsson, SWE
49. Mariana Duque, COL
50. Tereza Smitkova, CZE
HM- Wang Qiang, CHN

1. Belinda Bencic, SUI
2. Elina Svitolina, UKR
3. Daria Gavrilova, AUS
4. Daria Kasatkina, RUS
5. Margarita Gasparyan, RUS
6. Ana Konjuh, CRO
7. Naomi Osaka, JPN
8. Jelena Ostapenko, LAT
9. Anett Kontaveit, EST
10. Nao Hibino, JPN
11. Jana Fett, CRO
12. Francoise Abanda, CAN
13. Yulia Putintseva, KAZ
14. Annika Beck, GER
15. Denisa Allertova, CZE
16. Louisa Chirico, USA
17. Katerina Siniakova, CZE
18. Jana Cepelova, SVK
19. Oceane Dodin, FRA
20. Carina Witthoeft, GER
21. Evgeniya Kulichkova, RUS
22. Katerina Stewart, USA
23. Anna Bondar, HUN
24. Kristyna Pliskova, CZE
25. Donna Vekic, CRO
26. Barbora Krejcikova, CZE
27. Maria Sakkari, GRE
28. Anhelina Kalinina, UKR
29. Ipek Soylu, TUR
30. Beatriz Haddad Maia, BRA
31. Fiona Ferro, FRA
32. Lauren Davis, USA
33. Valentini Grammatikopoulou, GRE
34. Irina Khromacheva, RUS
35. Montserrat Gonzalez, PAR
36. Rebecca Peterson, SWE
37. Ons Jabeur, TUN
38. Ksenia Pervak, RUS
39. Marcela Zacarias, MEX
40. Samantha Crawford, USA
41. Gabriela Dabrowski, CAN
42. Chanel Simmonds, RSA
43. Shelby Rogers, USA
44. Sharon Fichman, CAN
45. Renata Zarazua, MEX
46. Sara Sorribes Tormo, ESP
47. Richel Hogenkamp, NED
48. Olga Fridman, UKR
49. Liu Fangzhou, CHN
50. Sachia Vickery, USA
HM- Marie Bouzkova, CZE

1. Dalma Galfi, HUN
2. Sofya Zhuk, RUS
3. Sonya Kenin, USA
4. Marketa Vondrousova, CZE
5. Czech Fed Cup 16s Team
6. Tamara Zidansek, SLO
7. CiCi Bellis, USA
8. Katie Swan, GBR
9. Russian Fed Cup 14s Team
10. Paula Badosa, ESP
11. Charlotte Robillad-Millette, CAN
12. Claire Liu, USA
13. Anna Blinkova, RUS
14. Bianca Andreescu, CAN
15. Iryna Shymanovich, BLR
16. Karman Thandi, IND
17. Tereza Mihalikova, SVK
18. Anna Kalinskaya, RUS
19. Usue Arconada, USA
20. Amanda Anisimova, USA
21. Xu Shilin, CHN
22. Tessah Andrianjafitrimo, FRA
23. Kylie McKenzie, USA
24. Michaela Gordon, USA
25. Tornado Alicia Black, USA
26. U.S. Fed Cup 14s & 16s Teams
27. Gabriela Elena Ruse, ROU
28. Kayla Day, USA
29. Anastasia Potopova, RUS
30. Anastasia Detiuc, MDA
31. Olesya Pervushina, RUS
32. Elena Rybakina, RUS
33. Kimberly Birrell, AUS
34. Greet Minnen, BEL
35. Priscilla Hon, AUS
36. Katherine Sebov, CAN
37. Hurricane Tyra Black, USA
38. Vera Lapko, BLR
39. Viktoria Kuzmova, SVK
40. Sara Tomic, AUS
41. Akvile Parazinskaite, LTU
42. Fanni Stollar, HUN
43. Katharina Hobgarski, GER
44. Manca Pislak, SLO
45. Freya Christie, GBR
46. Maia Lumsden, GBR
47. Caroline Dolehide, USA
48. Vlada Koval, RUS
49. Kristina Schmiedlova, SVK
50. Karin Kennel, SUI
51. Julieta Estable, ARG
52. Ingrid Neel, USA
53. Mai Hontoma, JPN
54. Aliona Bolsova, ESP
55. Raveena Kingsley, USA
56. Aleksandra Pospelova, RUS
57. Margot Yerolymos, FRA
58. Jil Teichmann, SUI
59. Miriam Kolodziejova, CZE
60. Emily Arbuthnott, GBR
61. Kelly Chen, USA
62. Caty McNally, USA
63. Hanna Chang, USA
64. Olga Danilovic, SRB
65. Oana Gavrila, ROU
66. Zheng Wushuang, CHN
67. Anna Brogan, GBR
68. Luisa Stefani, BRA
69. Iona Diana Pietroiu, ROU
70. Rebeka Masarova, SUI
71. Pranjala Yadlapalli, IND
72. Olivia Tjandramulia, AUS
73. Jaqueline Cristian, ROU
74. Destanee Aiava, AUS
75. Georgia Andreea Craciun, ROU
HM- Chu Jiayu, CHN

*NCAA, ITF & Juniors*
1. Jamie Loeb, USA (North Carolina)
2. Vanderbilt Women's Tennis Team
3. Francesca Di Lorenzo, USA (Ohio State)
4. Carol Zhao, CAN (Stanford)
5. Astra Sharma, AUS (Vanderbilt)
6. Maya Jansen/Erin Routliffe, USA/USA (Alabama)
7. Robin Anderson, USA (UCLA)
8. Danielle Van Nguyen, USA (UCLA)
9. Guiliana Olmos, MEX (USC)
10. UCLA Women's Tennis Team
11. Jennifer Brady, USA (UCLA)
12. Stephanie Wagner, GER (Miami)
13. Josie Kuhlman, USA (Florida)
14. Maegan Manasse, USA (California)
15. Danielle Collins, USA (Virginia)
16. Brooke Austin, USA (Florida)
17. Julia Jones, USA (Mississippi)
18. Lynn Herring, USA (Georgia)
19. Rianna Valdes, USA (USC)
20. Frances Altick, USA (Vanderbilt)
HM- Julia Elbaba, USA (Virginia) & Erica Oosterhout (Harvard)

1. Johanna Konta, GBR
2. Andreea Mitu, ROU
3. Patricia Maria Tig, ROU
4. Laura Siegemund, GER
5. Teliana Pereira, BRA
6. Naomi Broady, GBR
7. Turkish Fed Cup Team
8. Anna-Lena Friedsam, GER
9. Aliaksandra Sasnovich, BLR
10. Magda Linette, POL
11. Alexandra Panova, RUS
12. Olga Govortsova, BLR
13. Vanderbilt Women's Tennis Team (NCAA)
14. Paula Kania, POL
15. Han Xinyun, CHN
16. Victoria Rodriguez, MEX
17. Veronica Cepede Royg, PAR
18. Paraguayan Fed Cup Team
19. Cagla Buyukakcay, TUR
20. Julia Glushko, ISR
21. Stefanie Voegele, SUI
22. Lithuanian Fed Cup Team
23. Duan Yingying, CHN
24. Paula Cristina Goncalves, BRA
25. Varatchaya Wongteanchai, THA
26. Kateryna Kozlova, UKR
27. Lyudmyla Kichenok, UKR
28. Marina Melnikova, RUS
29. Jessica Pegula, USA
30. Zhu Lin, CHN
31. Jennifer Brady, USA
32. Ankita Raina, IND
33. Prerna Bhambri, IND
34. Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar, ESP
35. Tereza Martincova, CZE
36. Anastasiya Komardina, RUS
37. Tereza Mrdeza, CRO
38. Dinah Pfizenmaier, GER
39. Yuliya Beygelzimer, UKR
40. Kajsa Rinaldo Persson, SWE
41. Amanda Carreras, GBR
42. Alize Lim, FRA
43. Ayla Aksu, TUR
44. Gabriela Ce, BRA
45. Lu Jiajing, CHN
46. Gabriela Pantuckova, CZE
47. Danielle Lao, USA
48. Katy Dunne, GBR
49. Peangtarn Plipuech, THA
50. Kathinka von Deichmann, LIE
51. Andrea Gamiz, VEN
52. Chiraz Bechri, TUN
53. Kanae Hisami/Kotomi Takahata, JPN/JPN
54. Yang Zhaoxuan, CHN
55. Nadiya Kolb/Maryna Kolb, UKR/UKR
56. You Xiao, CHN
57. Jenny Claffey, IRE
58. Lesedi Sheya Jacobs, NAM
59. Valeria Bhunu, ZIM
60. Olivia Rogowska, AUS
HM- Steffi Carruthers, SAM

1. Serena Williams, USA
2. Martina Hingis, SUI
3. Sania Mirza, IND
4. Lucie Safarova, CZE
5. Flavia Pennetta, ITA
6. Maria Sharapova, RUS
7. Venus Williams, USA
8. Bethanie Mattek-Sands, USA
9. Roberta Vinci, ITA
10. Carla Suarez-Navarro, ESP
11. Jelena Jankovic, SRB
12. Andrea Petkovic, GER
13. Samantha Stosur, AUS
14. Ekaterina Makarova, RUS
15. Jiske Griffioen, NED (WC)
16. Sara Errani, ITA
17. Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS
18. Katarina Srebotnik, SLO
19t. Raquel Kops-Jones, USA
19t. Abigail Spears, USA
21. Barbora Strycova, CZE
22. Dominika Cibulkova, SVK
23. Ana Ivanovic, SRB
24. Elena Vesnina, RUS
25. Yaroslava Shvedova, KAZ
26. Lucie Hradecka, CZE
27. Andrea Hlavackova, CZE
28. Anabel Medina-Garrigues, ESP
29. Arantxa Parra-Santonja, ESP
30. Hsieh Su-Wei, TPE
31. Petra Cetkovska, CZE
32. Kateryna Bondarenko, UKR
33. Casey Dellacqua, AUS
34. Alla Kudryavtseva, RUS
35. Petra Martic, CRO
36. Michaella Krajicek, NED
37. Daniela Hantuchova, SVK
38. Tsvetana Pironkova, BUL
39. Lourdes Dominguez-Lino, ESP
40. Maria Irigoyen, ARG
41. Kirsten Flipkens, BEL
42. Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, CRO
43. Varvara Lepchenko, USA
44. Virginie Razzano, FRA
45. Anastasia Rodionova, AUS
46. Renata Voracova, CZE
47. Mathilde Johansson, FRA
48. Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor, ESP
49. Kimiko Date-Krumm, JPN
50. Patty Schnyder, SUI
HM- Tamarine Tanasugarn, THA

1. Russian Fed Cup Team
2. Jelena Jankovic, SRB
3. Bethanie Mattek-Sands, USA
4. Venus Williams, USA
5. Serbian Fed Cup Team
6. Italian Fed Cup Team
7. Victoria Azarenka, BLR
8. Alexandra Dulgheru, ROU
9. Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS
10. Kateryna Bondarenko, UKR
11. Anastasija Sevastova, LAT
12. Andrea Hlavackova/Lucie Hradecka, CZE/CZE
13. Yanina Wickmayer, BEL
14. Ula Radwanska, POL
15. Tatjana Maria, GER
16. Petra Cetkovska, CZE
17. Chang Kai-Chen, TPE
18. Evgeniya Rodina, RUS
19. Tamira Paszek, AUT
20. Alexandra Cadantu, ROU
21. Patty Schnyder, SUI
22. Alisa Kleybanova, RUS
23. Slovakian Fed Cup Team
24. Sesil Karatantcheva, KAZ
25. Polona Hercog, SLO
26. Alexa Glatch, USA
27. Irina Falconi, USA
28. Vania King, USA
29. Nicole Vaidisova, CZE
30. Mihaela Buzarnescu, ROU
31. Jessica Pieri, ITA
32. Maria Fernanda Alvarez-Teran, BOL
33. Ulrikke Eikeri, NOR
34. Madalina Gojnea, ROU
35. Shahar Peer, ISR
36. Nastassja Burnett, ITA
37. Vicky Duval, USA
38. Vera Zvonareva, RUS
39. Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, ESP
40. Melanie Oudin, USA
HM- Laura Robson, GBR

1. Daria Gavrilova, AUS
2. Timea Bacsinszky, SUI
3. Johanna Konta, GBR
4. Lucie Safarova, CZE
5. Anna Schmiedlova, SVK
6. Kristina Mladenovic, FRA
7. Carla Suarez-Navarro, ESP
8. Margarita Gasparyan, RUS
9. Misaki Doi, JPN
10. Danka Kovinic, MNE
11. Olga Govortsova, BLR
12. Patricia Maria Tig, ROU
13. Jordanne Whiley, GBR (WC)
14. Teliana Pereira, BRA
15. Aleksandra Krunic, SRB
16. Alison Van Uytvanck, BEL
17. Madison Brengle, USA
18. Lara Arruabarrena, ESP
19. Aliaksandra Sasnovich, BLR
20. Cagla Buyukakcay, TUR
HM- Naomi Broady, GBR

1. Martina Hingis, SUI
2. Martina Hingis/Sania Mirza, SUI/IND
3. Sania Mirza, IND
4. Bethanie Mattek-Sands, USA
5. Bethanie Mattek-Sands/Lucie Safarova, USA/CZE
6. Chan Hao-Ching/Chan Yung-Jan, TPE/TPE
7. Kristina Mladenovic, FRA
8. Kristina Mladenovic/Caroline Garcia, FRA (FC)
9. Yui Kamiji/Jordanne Whiley, JPN/GBR (WC)
10. Kristina Mladenovic/Timea Babos, FRA/HUN
11. Casey Dellacqua/Yaroslava Shvedova, AUS/KAZ
12. Ekaterina Makarova/Elena Vesnina, RUS/RUS
13. Caroline Garcia/Katarina Srebotnik, FRA/SLO
14. Raquel Kops-Jones/Abigail Spears, USA/USA
15. Laura Siegemund, GER
16. Andrea Hlavackova/Lucie Hradecka, CZE/CZE
17. Bethanie Mattek-Sands/Sania Mirza, USA/IND
18. Martin Hingis/Sabine Lisicki, SUI/GER
19. Margarita Gasparyan/Alexandra Panova, RUS/RUS
20. Lyudmyla Kichenok/Nadiia Kichenok, UKR/UKR
21. Jiske Griffioen/Aniek Van Koot, NED/NED (WC)
22. Veronica Cepede Royg/Montserrat Gonzalez, PAR (FC)
23. Zheng Saisai, CHN
24. Marketa Vondrousova/Miriam Kolodziejova, CZE/CZE (Jr.)
25. Liang Chen/Wang Yafan, CHN/CHN
26. Timea Bacsinszky/Viktorija Golubic, SUI (FC)
27. Zheng Saisai/Xu Yifan, CHN/CHN
28. Victoria Azarenka/Olga Govortsova, BLR (FC)
29. Anastasia Rodionova, AUS (WTT/Washington)
30. Anabel Medina-Garrigues/Arantxa Parra-Santonja, ESP/ESP
31. Gabriela Dabrowski/Carol Zhao, CAN (Pan-American Games)
32. Maya Jansen/Erin Routliffe, USA/USA (Alabama)
33. Kiki Bertens/Johanna Larsson, NED/SWE
34. Demi Schuurs, NED
35. Daria Gavrilova/Elina Svitolina, AUS/UKR
36. Belinda Bencic/Kristina Mladenovic, SUI/FRA
37. Asia Muhammad/Laura Siegemund, USA/GER
38. Kiki Bertens/Oksana Kalashnikova, NED/GEO
39. Paula Cristina Goncalves/Beatriz Haddad Maia, BRA/BRA
40. Anabel Medina-Garrigues, ESP (WTT/California)
41. Alla Kudryavtseva/Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, RUS/RUS
42. Jocelyn Rae/Anna Smith, GBR (FC)
43. Alexandra Panova, RUS
44. Ysaline Bonaventure/Demi Schuurs, BEL/NED
45. Lara Arruabarrena, ESP
46. Dalma Galfi/Fanni Stollar, HUN/HUN (Jr.)
47. Andreja Klepac, SLO
48. Victoria Rodriguez/Marcela Zacarias, MEX/MEX (ITF)
49. Shuko Aoyama, JPN
50. Petra Martic/Stephanie Vogt, CRO/LIE
51. Gabriela Dabrowski, CAN
52. Klaudia Jans/Andreja Klepac, POL/SLO
53. Maria Irigoyen/Paula Ormaechea, ARG (FC)
54. Julia Goerges/Anna-Lena Groenefeld, GER/GER
55. Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar, ESP (ITF)
HM- Anastasia Rodionova/Arina Rodionova, AUS/AUS

1. Czech Fed Cup
2. Martina Hingis/Leander Paes, IND/SUI
3. Washington Kasltes (WTT)
4. Russian Fed Cup
5. Bethanie Mattek-Sands/Mike Bryan, USA/USA
6. Vanderbilt Women's Tennis (NCAA)
7. Swiss Fed Cup
8. Romanian Fed Cup
9. Czech Fed Cup 16s
10. Polish Hopman Cup
11. German Fed Cup
12. French Fed Cup
13. Italian Fed Cup
14. Dutch Fed Cup
15. Spanish Fed Cup
16. Kristina Mladenovic/Daniel Nestor, FRA/CAN
17. Polish Fed Cup
18. Russian 14s Fed Cup
19. USA Fed Cup 16s
20. Indian Aces (IPTL)
21. Timea Babos/Alexander Peya, HUN/AUT
22. Serbian Fed Cup
23. Belarusian Fed Cup
24. Lucie Hradecka/Marcin Matkowski, CZE/POL
25. Austin Aces (WTT)
26. Australian Fed Cup
27. Slovakian Fed Cup
28. Paraguayan Fed Cup
29. USA Fed Cup 14s
30. Bethanie Mattek-Sands/Sam Querrey, USA/USA
31. Sania Mirza/Bruno Soares, IND/BRA
32. Maria Irigoyen/Guido Andreozzi, ARG (Pan-American Games)
33. UAE Royals (IPTL)
34. Katarina Srebotnik/Horia Tecau, SLO/ROU
35. Gabriela Dabrowski/Philip Bester, CAN (Pan-American Games)
36. Zheng Jie/Henri Kontinen, CHN/FIN
37. Anabel Medina-Garrigues/Robert Lindstedt, ESP/SWE
38. Andrea Hlavackova/Lukasz Kubot, CZE/POL
39. Chan Yung-Jan/Rohan Bopanna, TPE/IND
40. Hsieh Su-Wei/Pablo Cuevas, TPE/URU
HM- UCLA Women's Tennis (NCAA) & Veronica Cepege Royg/Diego Galeano, PAR (Pan-American Games)

1. Genie Bouchard, CAN
2. U.S. Fed Cup Team & Captain Mary Joe Fernandez
3. Peng Shuai, CHN
4. Sara Errani/Roberta Vinci, ITA/ITA
5. Chinese Fed Cup Team
6. Francesca Schiavone, ITA
7. Caroline Wozniacki, DEN
8. Klara Koukalova, CZE
9. Taylor Townsend, USA
10. Ana Ivanovic, SRB
11. Alize Cornet, FRA
12. Canadian Fed Cup Team
13. Sabine Lisicki, GER
14. Hsieh Su-Wei/Sania Mirza, TPE/IND
15. Dominika Cibulkova, SVK
16. Nicole Gibbs, USA
17. Paula Ormaechea, ARG
18. Argentine Fed Cup Team
19. Zheng Jie, CHN
20. Ekaterina Makarova/Elena Vesnina, RUS/RUS
HM-Ekaterina Makarova, RUS

1. Karolina Pliskova, CZE
2. Maria Sharapova, RUS
3. Petra Kvitova, CZE
4. Sara Errani, ITA
5. Caroline Garcia/Kristina Mladenovic, FRA
6. Andrea Petkovic, GER
7. Timea Bacsinszky, SUI
8. Alexandra Dulgheru, ROU
9. Aleksandra Krunic, SRB
10. Barbora Strycova, CZE
11. Marketa Vondrousova, CZE (Jr. 16s)
12. Anastasia Pavlyuchenova/Elena Vesnina, RUS
13. Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS
14. Venus Williams, USA
15. Anna Schmiedlova, SVK
16. Garbine Muguruza, ESP
17. Sara Errani/Flavia Pennetta, ITA
18. Timea Bacsinszky/Viktorija Golubic, SUI
19. Victoria Azarenka, BLR
20. Kiki Bertens, NED
21. Lara Arruabarrena, ESP
22. Irina Camilia Begu, ROU
23. Victoria Azarenka/Olga Govortsova, BLR
24. Andreea Mitu, ROU
25. Veronica Cepede Royg/Montserrat Gonzalez, PAR
26. Anett Kontaveit, EST
27. Cagla Buyukakcay, TUR
28. Vlada Koval, RUS (Jr. 14s)
29. Arantxa Rus, NED
30. Olga Govortsova, BLR
HM- Misaki Doi, JPN

*FED CUP - Captains*
1. Amelie Mauresmo, FRA
2. Anastasia Myskina, RUS
3. Petr Pala, CZE
HM- Paul Haarhuis, NED

1. Daria Kasatkina, RUS
2. Monica Niculescu, ROU
3. Isbella Shinikova, BUL
4. Tatjana Maria, GER
5. Denis Khazaniuk, ISR
6. Johanna Konta, GBR
7. Daniela Seguel, CHI
8. Valeriya Strakhova, UKR
9. Laura Siegemund, GER
10. Anne Schaefer, GER
11. Anna Bondar, HUN
12. Tamara Zidansek, SLO
13. Alexandra Dulgheru, ROU
14. Danka Kovinic, MNE
15. Carina Witthoeft, GER
16. Hsieh Su-Wei, TPE
17. Fatma Al-Nabhani, OMA
18. Yana Sizikova, RUS
19. Zhang Shuai, CHN
20. Yulia Putintseva, KAZ
21. Pauline Parmentier, FRA
22. Kristyna Pliskova, CZE
23. Anastasiya Sevastova, LAT
24. Maria Sakkari, GRE
25. Valentini Grammatikopoulou, GRE
26. Fernanda Brito, CHI
27. Lee So-Ra, KOR
28. Julia Terziyska, HUN
29. Amanda Carreras, GBR
30. Marcela Zacarias, MEX
31. Sofia Kvatsabaia, GEO
32. Viktoria Kuzmova, SVK
33. Diana Buzean, ROU
34. Lee Ya-Hsuan, KOR
35. Katharina Lehnert, PHI
36. Lou Broulou, FRA
37. Ana Bogdan, ROU
38. Lina Gjorcheska, MKD
39. Prerna Bhambri, IND
40. Melanie Klaffner, AUT
41. Jelena Simic, BIH
42. Jesika Maleckova, CZE
43. Anhelina Kalinina, UKR
44. Marta Paigina, RUS
45. Lu Jiajing, CHN
46. Lourdes Dominguez-Lino, ESP
47. Sherazad Reix, FRA
48. Myrtille Georges, FRA
49. Estrella Cabeza-Candela, ESP
50. Guiliana Olmos, MEX
HM- Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar, ESP

2004 Lindsay Davenport, USA
2005 Kim Clijsters, BEL
2006 Maria Sharapova, RUS
2007 Justine Henin, BEL
2008 Serena Williams, USA
2009 Elena Dementieva, RUS
2010 Kim Clijsters, BEL
2011 Caroline Wozniacki, DEN
2012 Victoria Azarenka, BLR
2013 Serena Williams, USA
2014 Serena Williams, USA
2015 Serena Williams, USA

2004 Amelie Mauresmo, FRA
2005 Justine Henin-Hardenne, BEL
2006 Nadia Petrova, RUS
2007 Justine Henin, BEL
2008 Dinara Safina, RUS
2009 Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS
2010 Samantha Stosur, AUS
2011 Li Na, CHN
2012 Maria Sharapova, RUS
2013 Serena Williams, USA
2014 Maria Sharapova, RUS
2015 Angelique Kerber, GER

2004 Maria Sharapova, RUS
2005 Venus Williams, USA
2006 Amelie Mauresmo, FRA
2007 Venus Williams, USA
2008 Venus Williams, USA
2009 Serena Williams, USA
2010 Serena Williams, USA
2011 Petra Kvitova, CZE
2012 Serena Williams, USA
2013 Marion Bartoli, FRA
2014 Petra Kvitova, CZE
2015 Serena Williams, USA

2004 Anastasia Myskina, RUS
2005 Mary Pierce, FRA
2006 Maria Sharapova, RUS
2007 Justine Henin, BEL
2008 Jelena Jankovic, SRB
2009 Amelie Mauresmo, FRA
2010 Ana Ivanovic, SRB
2011 Petra Kvitova, CZE
2012 Angelique Kerber, GER
2013 Serena Williams, USA
2014 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, RUS
2015 Aga Radwanska, POL

2002 Daniela Hantuchova, SVK
2003 Elena Dementieva, RUS
2004 Maria Sharapova, RUS & Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS
2005 Anna-Lena Groenefeld, GER
2006 Nadia Petrova, RUS
2007 Jelena Jankovic, SRB & Ana Ivanovic, SRB
2008 Dinara Safina, RUS
2009 Caroline Wozniacki, DEN
2010 Caroline Wozniacki, DEN
2011 Victoria Azarenka, BLR
2012 Agnieszka Radwanska, POL
2013 Simona Halep, ROU
2014 Simona Halep, ROU & Eugenie Bouchard, CAN
2015 Garbine Muguruza, ESP

2002 Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS
2003 Maria Sharapova, RUS
2004 Tatiana Golovin, FRA
2005 Nicole Vaidisova, CZE
2006 Nicole Vaidisova, CZE
2007 Agnes Szavay, HUN
2008 Caroline Wozniacki, DEN
2009 Victoria Azarenka, BLR
2010 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, RUS
2011 Monica Niculescu, ROU
2012 Laura Robson, GBR
2013 Sloane Stephens, USA & Eugenie Bouchard, CAN
2014 Belinda Bencic, SUI
2015 Belinda Bencic, SUI

2002 Vera Zvonareva, RUS
2003 Vera Dushevina, RUS
2004 Maria Kirilenko, RUS & Nicole Vaidisova, CZE
2005 Ana Ivanovic, SRB
2006 Olga Puchkova, RUS
2007 Tamira Paszek, AUT
2008 Michelle Larcher de Brito, POR & Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, RUS
2009 Melanie Oudin, USA
2010 Alisa Kleybanova, RUS
2011 Caroline Garcia, FRA
2012 Taylor Townsend & Genie Bouchard, USA/CAN
2013 Belinda Bencic, SUI
2014 CiCi Bellis, USA
2015 Dalma Galfi, HUN

2015 Jamie Loeb, USA (North Carolina)

2002 Anna Smashnova, ISR
2003 Anca Barna, GER
2004 Claudine Schaul, LUX
2005 Samantha Stosur, AUS
2006 Severine Bremond, FRA
2007 Sybille Bammer, AUT
2008 Aleksandra Wozniak, CAN
2009 Yanina Wickmayer, BEL
2010 Vania King/Yaroslava Shvedova, USA/KAZ
2011 Galina Voskoboeva, KAZ
2012 Sara Errani, ITA
2013 Karin Knapp, ITA
2014 Tereza Smitkova, CZE
2015 Johanna Konta, GBR

2002 Monica Seles, USA
2003 Ai Sugiyama, JPN
2004 Lindsay Davenport, USA
2005 Lindsay Davenport, USA
2006 Martina Hingis, SUI
2007 Venus Williams, USA
2008 Cara Black/Liezel Huber, ZIM/USA
2009 Serena Williams, USA
2010 Francesca Schiavone, ITA
2011 Li Na, CHN
2012 Serena Williams, USA
2013 Serena Williams, USA
2014 Serena Williams, USA
2015 Serena Williams, USA

2002 Chanda Rubin, USA
2003 Lina Krasnoroutskaya, RUS
2004 Mary Pierce, FRA
2005 Venus Williams, USA
2006 Martina Hingis, SUI
2007 Serena Williams & Venus Williams, USA/USA
2008 Flavia Pennetta, ITA
2009 Kim Clijsters, BEL
2010 Justine Henin, BEL
2011 Sabine Lisicki, GER
2012 Hsieh Su-Wei, TPE
2013 Jelena Jankovic, SRB
2014 Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, CRO
2015 Russian Fed Cup Team

2003 Francesca Schiavone, ITA
2004 Alicia Molik, AUS
2005 Kveta Peschke, CZE
2006 Jelena Jankovic, SRB
2007 Marion Bartoli, FRA
2008 Vera Zvonareva, RUS
2009 Samantha Stosur, AUS
2010 Kaia Kanepi, EST
2011 Agnieszka Radwanska, POL
2012 Varvara Lepchenko, USA
2013 Julia Glushko, ISR & Alison Riske, USA
2014 Alize Cornet, FRA
2015 Daria Gavrilova, RUS/AUS

2002 Meghann Shaughnessy, USA
2003 Daniela Hantuchova, SVK
2004 Jelena Dokic, SRB
2005 Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS
2006 Serena Williams & Venus Williams, USA/USA
2007 Maria Sharapova, RUS
2008 Nicole Vaidisova, CZE
2009 Ana Ivanovic, SRB
2010 Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS
2011 Venus Williams, USA
2012 Vera Zvonareva, RUS
2013 Nadia Petrova, RUS
2014 Victoria Azarenka, BLR
2015 Genie Bouchard, CAN

2003 Martina Navratilova, USA
2004 Virginia Ruano Pascual, ESP
2005 Cara Black, ZIM
2006 Lisa Raymond, USA
2007 Cara Black/Liezel Huber, ZIM/USA
2008 Cara Black/Liezel Huber, ZIM/USA
2009 Nuria Llagostera-Vives/Maria Jose Martinez-Sanchez, ESP/ESP
2010 Gisela Dulko, ARG
2011 Liezel Huber, USA
2012 Sara Errani/Roberta Vinci, ITA/ITA
2013 Kristina Mladenovic, FRA
2014 Sara Errani/Roberta Vinci, ITA/ITA
2015 Martina Hingis, SUI

2003 Virginia Ruano Pascual/Paola Suarez, ESP/ARG
2004 Virginia Ruano Pascual/Paola Suarez, ESP/ARG
2005 Serena Williams/Venus Williams, USA/USA
2006 Lisa Raymond/Samantha Stosur, USA/AUS
2007 Cara Black/Liezel Huber, ZIM/USA
2008 Cara Black/Liezel Huber, ZIM/USA
2009 Italian Fed Cup Team
2010 Gisela Dulko/Flavia Pennetta, ARG/ITA
2011 Kveta Peschke/Katarina Srebotnik, CZE/SLO
2012 Czech Fed Cup Team
2013 Hsieh Su-Wei/Peng Shuai, TPE/CHN
2014 Czech Fed Cup Team
2015 Czech Fed Cup Team

2008 Anna-Lena Groenefeld, GER
2009 Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova, CZE
2010 Mathilde Johansson, FRA
2011 Casey Dellacqua, AUS
2012 Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor, ESP
2013 Reka-Luca Jani, HUN
2014 Denisa Allertova, CZE
2015 Daria Kasatkina, RUS

2005 Elena Dementieva, RUS
2006 Francesca Schiavone, ITA
2007 Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS
2008 Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS
2009 Flavia Pennetta, ITA
2010 Flavia Pennetta, ITA
2011 Petra Kvitova, CZE
2012 Petra Kvitova, CZE
2013 Roberta Vinci, ITA
2014 Petra Kvitova, CZE
2015 Karolina Pliskova, CZE

2015 Amelie Mauresmo, FRA

All for now.

"I made this program for you because I wanted to give you the gift of being able to play tennis at a high level for the rest of your life." - Ramon Osa


By purchasing The Simple Serve, you'll gain instant access to your 9 HD Video lessons on a secure site that you can review whenever you want.


Blogger Diane said...

Could we say that Kerber had the most interesting (in terms of tennis only--not drama) year of anyone on the tour? I'm still trying to make some kind of sense out of her 2015 record. It's not a "Halep problem," though I wonder whether the pressure of the majors affected her back injury. She is p,aying really well and has added so much to her game. I think she's one of the WTA's underrated gems.

Wed Dec 16, 11:11:00 PM EST  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Yeah, I wonder if she'll win fewer titles in '16, but end up having far greater slam success next season instead.

Thu Dec 17, 12:52:00 AM EST  

Post a Comment

<< Home