Saturday, November 19, 2016

2016 Ms.Backspin: Do. There is No Try.

Four seasons short of a score of years in which this space has honored a player or players with the "Ms. Backspin" title, something has become clear: nothing is a given, and everyone is in the mix.

Through the years, going into the 2016 final "Ms.B" standings, women from nine different nations from four different continents have been honored. Four were the singles #1 at the conclusion of the season, but three were ranked #2 and two #3, as well as one each at #4 and #7. Eleven singles players in all have won, along with a pair of doubles duos and two Fed Cup teams. In all, five times players representing the U.S. (three different individuals) have risen to the top, while two Belgians (who know who they were) won three times. Exactly one individual representing Russia, France, India, Switzerland, and even Zimbabwe, have finished in the number one slot. One woman is a three-time winner (you can probably figure out who that is), with a decade separating two of her wins. Another recent Hall of Famer was a two-time "Ms.B" winner, while two players -- from Italy and the Czech Republic -- have been honored for BOTH their singles play, as well as for being part of a team effort.

All, right... so what about this season's list? Well, 2016 was all about pockets of dominance.

At the start of the season, Martina Hingis & Sania Mirza, the reigning co-"Ms. Backspin" winners from a season ago, were as dominant as ever. But after their excellence reached its peak, it soon began to wane. By the end of the summer, they were not only no longer the dream duo they'd once been, but they were no longer a duo at all. In February, the Dutch pulled off maybe the biggest upset in Fed Cup history, but they wouldn't go on to win their first title in the fall. Come early spring, Vika Azarenka claimed the headlines in North America before the tour headed off to Europe, but by the end of the summer she'd been slowed by injury, then announced that her season was over due to her upcoming motherhood. On the clay, Garbine Muguruza became a maiden slam champ in Paris, but it was an anomalous result in an otherwise inconsistent and often frustrating year. Meanwhile, Caroline Garcia & Kristina Mladenovic lost just one doubles match on the surface, joining the Spaniard in the Roland Garros winner's circle while also leading the French to the Fed Cup final, but they were 0-4 in finals on other surfaces and failed to win the deciding doubles (on hard court) that would have given the nation its first FC crown in thirteen years. World #1 Serena Williams, though still not quite herself after failing to complete a Grand Slam season a year ago, reclaimed her slam superiority at Wimbledon and had a new record for consecutive weeks at #1 in her sights, though it wasn't meant to be, and her season ended early with a shoulder injury.

Meanwhile, in Rio, Monica Puig shockingly won Olympic Gold, Karolina Pliskova stormed through the U.S. Open draw all the way to her first major final, and Johanna Konta became the first Brit in the Top 10 in over thirty years. Then, in the closing months of the WTA season, predictably, Aga Radwanska rediscovered her Asian groove, Caroline Wozniacki found her game once more, Bethanie Mattek-Sands & Lucie Safarova threw their dynamic hat into the race for "Best Doubles Team," Svetlana Kuznetsova proved once more that 30 is the new 20 (or at least 25) on the WTA tour, Ekaterina Makarova & Elena Vesnina followed up their Olympic Gold with a similar run in Singapore, and a resurgent Dominika Cibulkova reached new career heights in the same city.

But none of those players were, ultimately, serious contenders for the "Ms. Backspin 2016" crown. There were really only two slips of paper left in the hat when it came to the final choice, and both were forces that, intermittantly throughout the course of the '16 season, while not always moving forward with juggernaut force, predicatably rose to the occasion as the stages and prizes got bigger and bigger.

They (all) DID in 2016. For, as we've been told, "there is no try."

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

Here are the final "Ms. Backspin" rankings for 2016:

1. Angelique Kerber, GER
...through all these years of "Ms. Backspin" winners, none have ever been German. Until now. Really, after Kerber lifted the U.S. Open trophy (her second slam win of the season) and ripped the #1 ranking out of the hands of Serena Williams after a record-TYING 186 consecutive weeks atop the rankings, there was little doubt that she would top this list. After all, no one was a better "money" player than Kerber in 2016. Of course, that doesn't mean she was infallible. After all, her eighteen losses on the season were more than all but one WTA season's #1 (Jelena Jankovic in '08, w/ 19) in the forty-one years of the tour's computer rankings system. With two additional walkover exits in tour events this year, the German failed to win as many entered events (19, tied w/ JJ) than any #1 in WTA history. Not only that, but Kerber lost more finals (5) than anyone this season. But, of course, those numbers are simply details that, taken out on context, fail to tell the real story of the 28-year old's banner, bursting-with-confidence career season. Kerber lost more finals because she reached more of them (8) than any player; and while she may have lost quite a few matches in her #1 season, she also played (80) and won more (62) matches than any woman on tour, as well. Her 77.5% win percentage topped the charts amongst players with 50+ matches, too. And when she did win, she won big. A year after she finished #4 in the "Ms.B" race (while being #10 in the rankings), putting together a great "regular season" (going 4-1 in finals) while never advancing deeper than the 3rd Round at any major, Kerber added a signficant dose of offensive aggression to her defense-heavy game style and learned how to employ the tactic against top players, as everyone watched her confidence balloon over the course of the next ten months. Her three tournament titles included slam wins at the Australian and U.S. Opens. Even when she lost on the big stages, she was a reliable performer on them. Runner-up results in a big Premier event (Cincinnati), the Olympics, Wimbledon and the WTA Finals speak to how close Kerber came to an even MORE remarkable campaign that she ultimately had. Rarely has a player coming off such an amazing season still managed to leave herself with so many unattained-but-reachable goals in her "season after" follow-up attempt than the German has for 2017. With continued confidence in her racket bag, while Kerber might not be able to defend all the big-time results she posted this year, she has reason to believe that she has a good chance (save Rio, of course) to improve her finish in some of the biggest tournaments that eluded her this time around. Not an unimpressive carrot to dangle in front of yourself, if you're able.

2. Czech Fed Cup Team
...the Czechs' domination of the annual Fed Cup competition, being crowned champions four times in five years heading into 2016, already had some signature footnotes that spoke of both the resilience, as well as depth, of the Maiden squad, including winning all three ties in '11 on the road and twice claiming the deciding doubles in the final to clinch the title. This year's road to the Cup, too, provided some meaty details to chew on. For one, the two top-ranked Czechs heading into the season (Top 10ers Petra Kvitova and Lucie Safarova), who'd provided the backbone of the nation's previous runs, provided a grand total of zero points over the course of this fifth title cycle in the last six years, and third in a row. Kvitova, an all-bases-covered singles #1 who put together a 21-2 stretch that she carried into the '15 final, went 0-3 in '16 (extending her FC losing streak to four matches), while illness and injury prevented Safarova from offering anything other than moral support. But it didn't matter. After winning the deciding doubles vs. Russia to win the '15 title, the Czechs were forced to win the fifth match in all three of their '16 ties, with the roster providing a different interchangeable part each weekend along the way. In the 1st Round February, Kvitova went 0-2 vs. Romania, but Karolina Pliskova took up the slack by going 2-0, then teaming with Barbora Strycova to win in doubles. In the semis this spring vs. Switzerland, Pliskova had an imperfect weekend, falling to sudden SuperCupper Viktorija Golubic, but Strycova notched a singles win, and this time it was Lucie Hradecka teaming with Pliskova to take the doubles. In the final vs. France, Pliskova won a 3:48 marathon over Kristina Mladenovic in match #1, but Kvitova then lost to Caroline Garcia, who the next day upended Pliskova to put the Czechs down 2-1. But Strycova, a last minute replacement for Kvitova, kept the tie alive with a singles win, then came back less than an hour later to team with Pliskova to defeat Garcia/Mladenovic in front of a French crowd, winning the team's fourth straight tie in the doubles and picking up yet another title. The first three-peat champs since Spain from 1993-95, the Czechs' extended run of championship form is the best in FC competition in some thirty years. And they may not be near finished, either. The heart and soul of the '16 runner-up Pastry squad -- Captain Amelie Mauresmo -- will step down in '17 while having her second child, and the Maidens are already readying another line of potentially "interchangeable" reinforcements, as rising Kristyna Pliskova (world #60) and Katerina Siniakova (#53) might be the next to be called to duty by Captain Petr Pala.

3. Caroline Garcia/Kristina Mladenovic, FRA/FRA
4. Serena Williams, USA
5. Bethanie Mattek-Sands/Lucie Safarova, USA/CZE
6. Martina Hingis/Sania Mirza, SUI/IND, the "secondary" group of "Ms.B" contenders accounted for one slam singles, four slam doubles and one slam mixed championship on the season, as well as Gold, Silver and Bronze medals in Rio.

Garcia & Mladenovic were THE dominant figures during the clay court season. They went 22-1, winning four titles in Charleston, Stuttgart, Madrid and Paris. In the latter, they became the first all-French duo to claim the Roland Garros women's doubles title since 1971, and the first all French-born pair since 1945 (or, since RG doesn't officially recognize the events contested during the Nazi occupation, make that 1926). Their titles came with wins in finals over the likes of the tour's best slam title-hoarding pairs -- Hingis/Mirza (twice), Mattek-Sands/Safarova and Makarova/Vesnina -- and in the middle of their multi-month run they also delivered the deciding doubles win in the semifinals that sent France to the Fed Cup final for the first time since 2005. If they'd only been able to win a title on another surface (0-4 in hard court finals, including the U.S. Open), a medal in Rio (they went down in flames early, arguing with the French Federation over uniform regulation notifications) or been able to win the deciding doubles over the Czechs in the FC final they might have provided Kerber with a legitimate (well, nearly so) run for the "Ms.B" crown. Still, they were the top (still standing) doubles team in 2016.

Amazing, somewhat lost in the mix of the 2016 season is that Williams finally DID win slam singles crown #22 (at Wimbledon) to tie Steffi Graf for the most in the Open era, as well as doubles slam #14 (also at SW19) with sister Venus. But when you're Serena, it's often bigger news when you DON'T win. Still, after all these years. Thus, her season is more remembered for Olympic disappointment (no medals), losses in the Australian Open (to Kerber) and Roland Garros (to Muguruza) finals, her failure to return to New York and claim the U.S. Open title that eluded her (ending her Grand Slam hopes) a season ago, three losses in finals (after having three combined from 2011-15), an "only" good 3-2 three-set record (she was 18-2 in '15), her losing of her #1 ranking to Kerber, the shoulder injury that ended her season in September, and the general ennui that she embodied all year after coming within two match victories from completing an immortal act of tennis history in '15. But, in truth, while Williams might not have had a typically "Serena-like" campaign, what she did do would have been considered a career year for nearly every other player on the planet. As usual, she made the most out of a small number of opportunities, winning two titles (w/ Rome) and posting 38 match wins in just eight tournaments, tying Graf's record for consecutive weeks at #1 (186), and almost "routinely" managing to clock out with her fourth straight Top 2 finish (seventh of her career) at age 35. One day people will marvel at how a player could be viewed as having had a "somewhat disappointing" season like the one Williams just had in 2016, but those of use who've seen Serena from the start will understand. When you've seen the "gold standard" version of a Williams campaign, even the slightest fluctuation in quality stands out as something "less." In the end, when you think about it, it's actually a compliment to Serena that it's difficult to accept that she could be anything other than the greatest of her generation, and maybe more.

Safarova's health and injury concerns prevented her fun partnership with Mattek-Sands from being a season-long force, but they nearly made up for the periods of separation in the closing months of '16. After finally teaming up for the first time this year in Miami, winning the title, then reaching the Charleston final, the dynamic duo didn't win another match as a pair (going 0-3) until the U.S. Open, which they also won, picking up the third leg of a Career Doubles Duo Slam in just their second season of partnership (they need RG to complete the set of four). The run in Flushing Meadows kicked off an 18-match winning streak (behind only Hingis/Mirza's 19 in the calendar year) that included addition 4Q titles in Wuhan and Beijing, as well as an appearance in the championship match of the WTA Finals. In all, BMS/Safarova -- self-dubbed "Team Bucie" -- were 26-5, while Mattek-Sands went an additional 18-7 with all other partners, picking up the other half of the "Sunshine (Doubles) Double" in Indian Wells with CoCo Vandeweghe, AND picking up Mixed Doubles Gold in Rio with Jack Sock. Had she and Safarova been able to win the WTA Finals (vs. Makarova/Vesnina), Mattek-Sands would have wrestled away Sania Mirza's #1 doubles ranking in her final match of the season.

2015's co-"Ms. Backspin" winners didn't even last until the fall of 2016, but they left quite a remarkable trail behind them as they blazed across the WTA skyline like a comet that disappeared behind a distant moon. Carrying over their season-long dominance of a year ago, Hingis/Mirza extending their match winning streak nineteen matches into this season, bringing their run to a total of 41 straight matches (the longest on tour in twenty-six years) and nine titles. They added their third slam win as a pair in Melbourne. But having reached their zenith as a team, their dominance lost its luster soon afterward. The "it" that made them special was no more, and neither could abide by it for much longer. After going 74-7 with thirteen titles to start their partnership, they went just 20-10 with one title (in Rome, their only red clay win) after that, teaming up one final time in Singapore nearly three months after announcing the end of their brief, brilliant, two-heads-were-better-than-one work of tennis art. As it was, Hingis picked up her first career Olympic medal (Silver) with Timea Bacsinszky in Rio, while Mirza failed to get her own, finishing fourth in the mixed competition. Hingis also completed a Career Doubles Duo Slam in mixed with Leander Paes in Paris (her 22nd career overall slam title), but failed to win a WD title with another partner in '16. Meanwhile, Mirza won three post-Hingis titles with Monica Niculescu (1) and Barbora Strycova (2-2 in finals), and held onto her #1 ranking from wire-to-wire this season (she shared it for 31 weeks w/ Hingis). She'll enter 2017 on a 90-week run, the fourth-longest in tour history.

7. Ekaterina Makarova/Elena Vesnina, RUS/RUS
8. Karolina Pliskova, CZE
9. French Fed Cup Team
10. Garbine Muguruza, ESP

...when injuries and scheduling issues led to Makarova & Vesnina only playing one match together in the nine months after the end of last year's Wimbledon, there was concern that maybe their longtime partnership had hit a rough patch. Well, the Russians quickly put that worry to rest once the stars aligned for them once more. Together again in the spring, they picked up like they'd never been apart, going 31-8 over the final six months of 2016. They warmed up with a semi (Madrid, their first event back) and finals (Rome/RG) on clay, then truly took flight on hard courts a short while later. They won Gold in Rio, becoming the second Hordette duo (Kirilenko/Petrova) to do so, as well as titles in Montreal and at the WTA Finals. Not only that, but the doubles success was just the icing on the cake in a career season for Vesnina. One year after she slipped outside the Top 100 for the first time since 2005, the 30-year old newlywed climbed to a career-high #16 while reaching her first slam singles semifinal at Wimbledon. She won the Australian Open mixed title, too.

2016 was the year that Pliskova finally "got it." After a few seasons of showing promise and leading the tour (or close to it) in many statistical categories, but consistently over-scheduling and always bowing out early in the majors, the Czech got sick and tired of being an afterthought in the biggest tournaments of the season. After priming her nerves in Fed Cup action while leading the Czech squad to the '15 title, and taking the lead once again in key moments during this year's title run, Pliskova worked to improve her lacking court movement, cut back her schedule (even skipping the Olympics), and put her very un-Czech-like on-court calm to good use by ripping through the U.S. Open draw without showing a hint of nerves, taking down BOTH Williams Sisters en route to her first major final after having never before advanced past the 3rd Round in seventeen previous slam main draws. She lost in three sets to Angelique Kerber, but the two weeks may have changed her career forever. Previous title runs in Nottingham (her first on grass) and Cincinnati (def. Kerber for her biggest crown) helped Pliskova to her first Top 10 season (#6), as she continued her career pattern by improving her yearly WTA singles ranking for a tenth straight season, but it was in her FC results where her mettle was truly shown. With a hand in seven of the nine points won by the Czechs in their latest title run, Pliskova gutted out a nearly four-hour singles win over Kristina Mladenovic in the final vs. France, and was a part of the deciding doubles duo in all three of the Maidens' '15 ties, giving her four consecutive such results dating back to the '15 final and sending her into 2017 looking to take the next big step in her burgeoning career.

THIS close. That's has close the French were to Fed Cup greatness. Led by Pastry whispering captain Amelie Mauresmo, the squad reached its first FC final since 2005 (when Mauresmo was a playing FC queen), where the dominant Czech team was given nearly all it could handle. Caroline Garcia, fueled by her special relationship with her inspiring and strategic-minded captain, led the way all season long, winning the Fed Cup Heart Award for her efforts. She went 2-0 in singles while eliminating Italy in the 1st Round, and teamed with Kristina Mladenovic to win the deciding doubles in the semis over the Dutch. Against the Czech Republic, after Mladenovic lost a 3:48 opening match to Karolina Pliskova, Garcia defeated both Petra Kvitova and Pliskova to put the French a win away from their first title in thirteen years. But when Alize Cornet -- subbing for a tired Mladenovic, who'd cramped up during her loss a day earlier -- couldn't put away Barbora Strycova, the Czechs seized the momentum of the tie and never gave it back. One year after falling to the Maidens by a 3-1 score in the semis, the Pastries fell in a 3-2 classic. This could be just the start of a glorious French era of Fed Cup tennis, with the Pastries looking to eventually take down their dominating nemesis somewhere down the line. But if it's to happen in 2017, it'll take place without Mauresmo, who is stepping down as captain next season while pregnant with her second child. Garcia and Mladenovic (Cornet, not so much) are rarely better in singles than when Mauresmo is barking encouragement from the sidelines, waiting to give a celebratory face-to-face shout at all the appropriate moments, so how they maneuver through the FC process in the coming year without her will be quite the story to follow. Have they learned enough to "go it on their own?" We shall soon see. The Pastries open vs. the Swiss in next February's World Group 1st Round.

It takes quite an effort (or maybe the opposite of that) for a player to win their maiden slam title, but still go DOWN in the rankings. Yet that's precisely what Muguruza did in 2016, as she followed up a season in which she was the #3-ranked player in the world by winning Roland Garros, but STILL fell to #7 in the '16 season-ending rankings. It says a great deal about the Spaniard's season that she seemed relieved when it was over, and talked of how difficult it has been without smiling at the (should be a) career-affirming moment of actually become a major champion. Thing is, other than her exploits in Paris (where she defeated three slam winners, including Serena Williams in the final), Muguruza had few other truly high moments in between her changeover area spats with coach Sam Sumyk and occasional "Walking Dead" extra routines in some of her matches. She was 4-0 in Fed Cup play, but her only non-RG SF-or-better results were semis in Rome and Cincinnati, and she had quick 3rd-2nd-2nd Round exits in the other three slam events. For all her talent, or maybe because of it, Muguruza may be the most vexing player on tour. And she's not even Czech... at least that would explain a LITTLE.

*CONTENDERS... but still not in the Top 10*
11. Simona Halep, ROU - the Swarmette had a good season, ultimately resulting in her third consecutive Top 4 ranking, though she spent most of the season just on the outskirts of contention for a spot in the very upper echelon of the tour. Still, she progressed nicely as the season went along, gathering her confidence under the first-season coaching eyes of Darren Cahill, learning how to better handle the intense pressure of her position within Romanian sport, and allowing herself to loosen up a bit and not beat herself upside the psyche TOO badly for every mistake. After a 16-10 start, she ripped off a 29-8 finish that included a home title in Bucharest, as well as big Premier wins in Madrid and Montreal. She still has another major step to take in her career, but she's a little closer to it as '16 ends than she was when it began.

12. Dutch Fed Cup Team - While the Netherlands had won seven straight ties, with Kiki Bertens and/or Arantxa Rus pulling the load, the nation entered the first FC weekend of '16 without a Top 100 player for a road tie vs. the likes of Maria Sharapova (Career Slam), Svetlana Kuznetsova (two slam wins), Ekaterina Makaraova (slam semifinalist) and Daria Kasatkina (who opened her year with a win over Venus Williams, then followed up a good U.S. Open run with one in Melbourne). Even Dutch Captain Paul Haarhuis said it'd take a "miracle" to emerge with the victory. And with that, the stage was set for the "Miracle of Moscow" to become a reality. Bertens kicked things off with a straight sets win over a frustrated Makarova, then Richel Hogenkamp won the longest-ever FC match (4:00) over Russian all-time Fed Cup match leader Kuznetsova, saving MP and putting Netherlands up 2-0. On Day 2, Sharapova and Kasatkina watched while Sveta (or what was left of her) was sent out by Captain Anastasia Myskina to lead the final leg of the Russian death march. Bertens quickly dispensed of her, setting up the Dutch to battle France in the semis. Now-offically-an-FC-legend Bertens handled her business in singles by putting NED up 2-1 with straight sets wins over both Caroline Garcia (Day 1) and Kristina Mladenovic (in Day 2's "Battle of the Kikis"), but with the Netherlands one win away from a ninth consecutive tie victory and the nation's first final since 1997, Haarhuis replaced Hogenkamp with Rus in the #4 singles match vs. Garcia. The move didn't work. Garcia rebounded from her Day 1 stumble with a straight sets win that picked up the momentum that was carried into the deciding doubles. There, Garcia & Mladenovic teamed to come back from a set down against Bertens & Hogenkamp with a thrilling display of shot-making and competitiveness that lit up the partisan crowd in Trelaze, sending down the scrappy Cinderella Dutch to their first FC loss since 2013.

13. Dominika Cibulkova, SVK - fully back from her '15 Achilles' injury, Cibulkova got stronger as the season progressed, slipping into the WTA Finals in the closing weeks and then winning in Singapore (def. Kerber in the final) to claim the biggest prize of her career. She ultimately led the tour with four singles titles and finished at #5.

14. Jiske Griffioen, NED - fully inheriting (at least for now) the mantle left by countrywoman Esther Vergeer as the best wheelchair player in the world, Griffioen won two slams (AO, and the first-ever Wimbledon singles champ) and swept singles & doubles Gold at the Paralympics in Rio

15. Victoria Azarenka, BLR - Vika arguably had one of the Top 10 seasons of 2016, though she was really only active for half the year. Eight tournaments, in fact, along with an undefeated Fed Cup weekend in which she led the Belarus defeat of Russia in the World Group Playoffs in the spring. In all, Azarenka was 26-3 -- at 89.7%, the best win percentage of any player on tour -- and won three singles titles in the 1st Quarter, including becoming the third woman to pull off the "Sunshine Double" by sweeping the Indian Wells and Miami tournaments. She won in Brisbane and Miami without dropping a set, and claimed I.W. with a win over Serena Williams in the final, her third such victory over the then-#1 in a championship match since 2013. Azarenka's 16-0 run -- the longest winning streak on tour over the last three years -- briefly pushed her back into the Top 5 before injuries curtailed her momentum, and she announced that she was pregnant, ending her season in July. She finished 2016 at #13, still her best finish in three years. Whether Azarenka returns in 2017, or waits until 2018, she could return to a much-changed tour landscape than the one in which she found herself ranked #1 a few years ago. Williams' era of overwhelming dominance may be over (though not likely her slam-winning days... not yet), reconfigured by a multi-generational horde of hungry contenders, though none of them (save perhaps a returning Russian) may have as much big match experience in her recent past as Azarenka. Finding her place yet again in such an environment may be challenging, but Kim Clijsters proved a few years ago that a "motherhood break" CAN serve to allow an often physically star-crossed athlete to return healthier and with a pointed goal, both of which could eventually allow Azarenka another turn atop the WTA mountain.

16. Aga Radwanska, POL - there may be no more consistent achiever on the WTA tour than Radwanska. With a six season streak of winning at least one singles title per season, she's been ranked without a break in the Top 20 for nearly nine years. In 2016, Aga once again lifted her game in Asia, winning in Shenzhen in January and Beijing in October, with a title turn in New Haven in between that helped her win the U.S. Open Series. A semifinal result in Melbourne makes it four straight seasons in which the Pole has reached a slam SF, and she's advanced to at least the Round of 16 at fifteen of the last twenty majors. Two no-sets-lost title runs this season gives her five such results over the last two, by far the most on tour. Her #3 finish gives her a fourth Top 5 season in the last five years, and her eighth ranked in the Top 10 in the last nine (tied with Serena for the most over the stretch, two more than any other player). And, of course, she does THIS sort of stuff on a regular basis, too:

17. Swiss Fed Cup Team - even without an assist from Timea Bacsinzky (0-4), the Swiss used a big February weekend from a healthy Belinda Bencic (w/ a hand in all three points in a 3-2 1st Rd. win over Germany) to reach the FC semis, and nearly road a suddenly-blooming Viktorija Golubic (2-0 in her singles debut) in April to their first final since 1998, but ultimately fell to the Czechs in the deciding doubles
18. Kiki Bertens, NED - had a breakout campaign which saw her sweep the titles in Nurnberg (winning her first tour singles title in four years), take home three doubles crowns (w/ Johanna Larsson), reach her first slam semi at Roland Garros, and lead the underdog Dutch team to the Fed Cup semifinals (she's 15-1 in her FC singles career)
19. Johanna Konta, GBR - reached her first slam semifinal (AO), won her maiden singles title (Stanford), and finished as the first British Top 10 player since 1983
20. Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS - at 31, the Russian won two titles, pulled off a late surge (defending Moscow) to reach the WTA Finals, and finished in the Top 10 for the first time since 2009
21. Caroline Garcia, FRA - the Pastry had a career year, winning two singles titles, four in doubles with Kristina Mladenovic (including RG), and won the Fed Cup Heart Award while leading the French squad to the FC final. And, yes, I realize that, technically, Garcia is listed THREE times in this rundown... but it shows just how good a season she's had (and she's still going for a winning '16 finish in Limoges this weekend, too).
22. Barbora Strycova, CZE - finished in the Top 20 in both singles and doubles, reached two singles finals, won three titles and Olympic Bronze in doubles, and played a key "Secret Weapon" role in all three of the FC champion Czech Republic's winning ties, including putting the team on her back in a comeback from a 2-1 deficit in the final vs. France
23. Venus Williams, USA - she won a singles title in Kaohsiung, had her first slam semifinal result (SW19) since 2010, won the Wimbledon doubles again with Serena, and claimed an Olympics-saving Silver medal in mixed w/ Rajeev Ram
24. Madison Keys, USA - became the first non-Williams from the U.S. to make her Top 10 debut since 1996 and ran her slam Round of 16-or-better streak to six (and 7 of 8), but big-event runner-up results (Rome/Montreal) and a 4th place Olympic finish left a slightly unsavory aftertaste of missed opportunity
25. Elina Svitolina, UKR - with Hall of Famer Justine Henin as a coaching consultant, Svitolina consistency improved as she reached the two biggest finals (New Haven/Elite Trophy) of her career and knocked off two different #1-ranked players (Serena & Kerber) en route to her first Top 15 finish
26. Cagla Buyukakcay, TUR - she became the first Turk to reach and win a tour singles title, play in and win a MD slam match, compete in the Olympics and finish in the Top 100...
27. Sloane Stephens, USA - turned a corner in her career by winning three titles in the first four months of the season, but a foot injury ended her season after the Olympics
28. Petra Kvitova, CZE - had a mostly disappointing season (even in FC, where she was 0-3), but a singles Bronze in Rio, and 4Q titles in Wuhan and Zhuhai put a nice(r) finish on things
29. Anabel Medina-Garrigues/Arantxa Parra-Santonja, ESP/ESP - the only undefeated doubles duo (3-0) in multiple finals, the veteran Spaniards were crowned the unofficial "Queens of Mexico" after sweeping the Acapulco and Monterrey titles
30. Carla Suarez-Navarro, ESP - won biggest title of her career in Doha, but 28-12 start devolved into 11-9 finish
HM- Marjolein Buis, NED - the #3-ranked Dutch WC player, 28-year old Buis won the RG singles and AO doubles, her first slam wins since 2012 (RG Doubles w/ the great Esther Vergeer)

Special Mention- Monica Puig, PUR - while her season, though a good one that saw her rise from #92 to #32, didn't merit inclusion on the official "Ms.B" depth chart, Puig's shocking Olympic run in Rio in which she became the first athlete representing Puerto Rican to ever win a Gold Medal, will go down as one of the most memorable performances of the decade. At least.

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
2016 Angelique Kerber / GER

=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
1. Martina Hingis/Sania Mirza, SUI/IND
2. Serena Williams, USA
3. Czech Fed Cup Team
4. Angelique Kerber, GER
5. Simona Halep, ROU
6. Garbine Muguruza, ESP
7. Timea Bacsinszky, SUI
8. Bethanie Mattek-Sands/Lucie Safarova, USA/CZE
9. Maria Sharapova, RUS
10. Karolina Pliskova, CZE

Here are 2016'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 some weird sort of overkill or anything):

1. Karolina Pliskova, CZE
2. Johanna Konta, GBR
3. Simona Halep, ROU
4. Elina Svitolina, UKR
5. Madison Keys, USA
6. Caroline Garcia, FRA
7. Kiki Bertens, NED
8. Monica Puig, PUR
9. Sloane Stephens, USA
10. Dasha Gavrilova, AUS
11. SUI Fed Cup Team
12. Timea Babos, HUN
13. Irina-Camelia Begu, ROU
14. Lesia Tsurenko, UKR
15. Kristina Mladenovic, FRA
16. ESP Fed Cup Team
17. JPN Fed Cup Team
18. CoCo Vandeweghe, USA
19. Misaki Doi, JPN
20. USA Fed Cup Team
21. BLR Fed Cup Team
22. UKR Fed Cup Team
23. Christina McHale, USA
24. TUR Fed Cup Team
25. Alison Riske USA

1. Daria Kasatkina, RUS
2. Ana Konjuh, CRO
3. Naomi Osaka, JPN
4. Jelena Ostapenko, LAT
5. Katerina Siniakova, CZE
6. Yulia Putintseva, KAZ
7. Louisa Chirico, USA
8. Anett Kontaveit, EST
9. Oceane Dodin, FRA
10. CiCi Bellis, USA
11. Danka Kovinic, MNE
12. Kristyna Pliskova, CZE
13. Lauren Davis, USA
14. Maria Sakkari, GRE
15. Dalma Galfi, HUN
16. Sonya Kenin, USA
17. Julia Boserup, USA
18. Carina Witthoeft, GER
19. Donna Vekic, CRO
20. Samantha Crawford, USA
21. Ipek Soylu, TUR
22. Elise Mertens, BEL
23. Elizaveta Kulichkova, RUS
24. Francoise Abanda, CAN
25. Diede de Groot, NED (WC)

1. Kayla Day, USA
2. Rebeka Masarova, SUI
3. Anastasia Potapova, RUS
4. Bianca Andreescu, CAN
5. Vera Lapko, BLR
6. Sofya Zhuk RUS
7. Anna Blinkova, RUS
8. Dayana Yastremska, UKR
9. Viktoria Kuzmova, SVK
10. Usue Arconada/Claire Liu, USA/USA
11. Olesya Pervushina/Anastasia Potapova, RUS/RUS
12. Olesya Pervushina, RUS
13. Amanda Anisimova, USA
14. Tereza Mihalikova, SVK
15. Tessah Andrianjafitrimo, FRA
16. Bianca Andreescu/Charlotte Robillard-Millette, CAN/CAN
17. Usue Arconada, USA
18. Elena Rybakina, RUS
19. Iga Swiatek, POL
20. Kaja Juvan, SLO
21. Claire Liu, USA
22. Gabriella Taylor, GBR
23. Panna Udvardy, HUN
24. Carson Branstone, USA
25. Katarina Zavatska, UKR
26. Ingrid Neel, USA
27. Alexa Noel, USA
28. Sara Tomic, AUS
29. Amina Anshba, RUS
30. Jodie Anna Burrage, GBR
HM- Violet Apisah, PNG/AUS

1. Danielle Collins (Virginia)
2. Francesca Di Lorenzo (Ohio State)
3. Hayley Carter (North Carolina)
4. Sinead Lohan (Miami-FL)
5. Brooke Austin/Kourtney Keegan (Florida)
6. Luisa Stefani (Pepperdine)
7. Brooke Austin (Florida)
8. Taylor Davidson (Stanford)
9. Breaunna Addison (Texas)
10. Frances Altick (Vanderbilt)
11. Julia Elbaba (Virginia)
12. Ellen Perez (Georgia)
13. Hayley Carter/Whitney Kay (North Carolina)
14. Ronit Yurovsky (Michigan)
15. Maegan Manasse (California)
16. Maegan Manasse/Denise Starr (California)
17. Belinda Woolcock (Florida)
18. Stephanie Wagner (Miami-FL)
19. Jasmine Lee (Mississippi State)
20. Kennedy Shaffer (Georgia)
21. Katarina Adamovic (Oklahoma State)
22. Saska Gavrilovska (Texas A&M)
23. Mami Adachi and Aldila Sutjiadi (Kentucky)
24. Brienne Minor (Michigan)
25. Klara Fabikova (California)

1. NED Fed Cup Team
2. Viktorija Golubic, SUI
3. Cagla Buyukakcay, TUR
4. Laura Siegemund, GER
5. Shelby Rogers, USA
6. Marjolein Buis, NED (WC)
7. Ekaterina Alexandrova, RUS
8. Anna-Lena Friedsam, GER
9. Paula Cristina Goncalves, BRA
10. TPE Fed Cup Team
11. Aliaksandra Sasnovich, BLR
12. Naomi Broady, GBR
13. Veronica Cepede Royg, VEN
14. Ana Bogdan, ROU
15. Han Xinyun, CHN
16. Natalia Vikhlyantseva, RUS
17. Tamara Korpatsch, GER
18. Jennifer Brady, USA
19. Tara Moore, GBR
20. Yang Zhaoxuan, CHN
21. Arina Rodionova, AUS
22. Pauline Parmentier, FRA
23. Tereza Martincova, CZE
24. Varatchaya Wongteanchai, THA
25. ISR Fed Cup Team

1. Angelique Kerber, GER
2. Serena Williams, USA
3. Sania Mirza, IND
4. Dominika Cibulkova, SVK
5. Bethanie Mattek-Sands, USA
6. Aga Radwanska, POL
7. Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS
8. Elena Vesnina, RUS
9. Martina Hingis, SUI
10. Jiske Griffioen, NED (WC)
11. Barbora Strycova, CZE
12. Ekaterina Makarova, RUS
13. Carla Suarez-Navarro, ESP
14. Venus Williams, USA
15. Samantha Stosur, AUS
16. Caroline Wozniacki, DEN
17. Lucie Safarova, CZE
18. Anabel Medina-Garrigues/Arantxa Parra-Santonja, ESP/ESP
19. Zhang Shuai, CHN
20. Anastasija Sevastova, LAT
21. Roberta Vinci, ITA
22. Yaroslava Shvedova, KAZ
23. Kateryna Bondarenko, UKR
24. Francesca Schiavone, ITA
25. Kirsten Flipkens, BEL

1. Dominika Cibulkova, SVK
2. Zhang Shuai, CHN
3. Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS
4. Elena Vesnina, RUs
5. Anastasija Sevastova, LAT
6. Victoria Azarenka, BLR
7. USA Fed Cup Team
8. Serena Williams/Venus Williams, USA/USA
9. Peng Shuai, CHN
10. Sorana Cirstea, ROU
11. GER Fed Cup Team
12. Christina McHale, USA
13. Jana Cepelova, SVK
14. AUS Fed Cup Team
15. BEL Fed Cup Team
16. Irina Falconi, USA
17. Vania King, USA
18. Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, ESP
19. Nicole Gibbs, USA
20. Evgeniya Rodina, RUS
21. ARG Fed Cup Team
22. Arantxa Rus, NED
23. Ash Barty, AUS
24. Amra Sadikovic, SUI
25. Galina Voskoboeva, KAZ

1. Monica Puig, PUR
2. Naomi Osaka, JPN
3. Shelby Rogers, USA
4. Johanna Konta, GBR
5. Caroline Garcia, FRA
6. Laura Siegemund, GER
7. Kiki Bertens, NED
8. Cagla Buyukakcay, TUR
9. Viktorija Golubic, SUI
10. Kristyna Pliskova, CZE
11. Dasha Gavrilova, AUS
12. Kristina Kucova, SVK
13. Christina McHale, USA
14. Maria Sakkari, GRE
15. Irina Khromacheva, RUS
16. Duan Yingying, CHN
17. Richel Hogenkamp, NED
18. Mandy Minella, LUX
19. Anna-Lena Friedsam, GER
20. Jennifer Brady, USA
21. Ipek Soylu, TUR
22. Maryna Zanevska, BEL
23. Aliaksandra Sasnovich, BLR
24. Ana Bogdan, ROU
25. Arina Rodionova, AUS

1. Caroline Garcia/Kristina Mladenovic, FRA/FRA
2. Sania Mirza, IND
3. Bethanie Mattek-Sands/Lucie Safarova, USA/CZE
4. Martina Hingis/Sania Mirza, SUI/IND
5. Ekaterina Makarova/Elena Vesnina, RUS/RUS
6. Martina Hingis, SUI
7. Kiki Bertens/Johanna Larsson, NED/SWE
8. Anabel Medina-Garrigues/Aranxa Parra-Santonja, ESP/ESP
9. Sania Mirza/Barbora Strycova, IND/CZE
10. Chan Hao-Ching/Chan Yung-Jan, TPE/TPE
11. Andrea Hlavackova/Lucie Hradecka, CZE/CZE
12. Yui Kamiji/Jordanne Whiley, JPN/GBR
13. Jiske Griffioen/Aniek van Koot, NED/NED
14. Monica Niculescu, ROU
15. Barbora Strycova, CZE
16. Ipek Soylu, TUR
17. Timea Babos/Yaroslava Shvedova, HUN/KAZ
18. Julia Goerges/Karolina Pliskova, GER/CZE
19. Xenia Knoll, SUI
20. Peng Shuai, CHN
21. Andrea Hlavackova, CZE
22. Raquel Atawo/Abigail Spears, USA/USA
23. CoCo Vandeweghe, USA
24. Yang Zhaoxuan, CHN
25. Dasha Gavrilova/Daria Kasatkina, AUS/RUS

1. CZE Fed Cup Team
2. Martina Hingis/Leander Paes, SUI/IND
3. FRA Fed Cup Team
4. Bethanie Mattek-Sands/Jack Sock, USA
5. NED Fed Cup Team
6. Heather Watson/Henri Kontinen, GBR/FIN
7. Elena Vesnina/Bruno Soares, RUS/BRA
8. SUI Fed Cup Team
9. Laura Siegemund/Mate Pavic, GER/CRO
10. Stanford Women's Team (NCAA)
11. Venus Williams/Rajeev Ram, USA
12. Hopman Cup Australia Green (Dasha Gavrilova & Nick Kyrgios)
13. POL Jr. Fed Cup 16s Team
14. Lucie Hradecka/Radek Stepanek, CZE
15. UKR ITF World Jr. 14s Team
16. Hopman Cup Ukraine (Elina Svitolina & Alexandr Dolgopolov)
17. San Diego Aviators (WTT)
18. USA Jr. Fed Cup 16s Team
19. RUS Jr. Fed Cup 16s Team
20. CZE Jr. Fed Cup 16s Team
21. USA ITF World Jr. 14s Team
22. Singapore Slammers (IPTL)
23. Orange County Breakers (WTT)
24. Oklahoma State Women's Team (NCAA)
25. Indian Aces (IPTL)

1. Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, SVK
2. RUS Fed Cup Team
3. Petra Kvitova, CZE (Fed Cup)
4. Maria Sharapova, RUS
5. Teliana Pereira, BRA
6. Sabine Lisicki, GER
7. Ana Ivanovic, SRB
8. Andrea Petkovic, GER
9. Camila Giorgi, ITA
10. Jelena Jankovic, SRB
11. Washington Kastles (WTT)
12. ITA Fed Cup Team
13. Ajla Tomljanovic, CRO/AUS
14. Bojana Jovanovski, SRB
15. Klara Koukalova, CZE (ret.)
16. Nicole Vaidisova, CZE (ret.)
17. Alexandra Dulgheru, ROU
18. POL Fed Cup
19. Mona Barthel, GER
20. Belinda Bencic, SUI
21. Ula Radwanska, POL
22. Andreea Mitu, ROU
23. Anna Tatishvili, USA
24. Lourdes Dominguez Lino, ESP (ret.)
25. Genie Bouchard, CAN

1. Isabella Shinikova, BUL
2. Asia Muhammad/Taylor Townsend, USA/USA
3. Katharina Hobgarski, GER
4. Irina Khromacheva, RUS
5. Anna Kalinskaya, RUS
6. Ayla Aksu, TUR
7. Donna Vekic, CRO
8. Michaella Krajicek, NED (doubles)
9. Viktoriya Tomova, BUL
10. Jaqueline Cristian, ROU
11. Oceane Dodin, FRA
12. Kamila Kerimbayeva, KAZ
13. Tamara Korpatsch, GER
14. Chiara Scholl, USA
15. Ash Barty, AUS (doubles)
16. Chantal Skamlova, SVK
17. Tereza Mihalikova, SVK
18. Susanne Celik, SWE
19. Marie Bouzkova, CZE
20. Viktoria Kuzmova, SVK
21. Lenka Juricova, SVK
22. Gabriela Pantuckova, CZE
23. Kathinka von Deichmann, LIE
24. Angelica Moratelli, ITA
25. Julia Wachaczyk, GER

1. Caroline Garcia, FRA
2. Karolina Pliskova/Barbora Strycova, CZE
3. Karolina Pliskova, CZE
4. Kiki Bertens, NED
5. Viktorija Golubic, SUI
6. Barbora Strycova, CZE
7. Caroline Garcia/Kristina Mladenovic, FRA
8. Richel Hogenkamp, NED
9. Belinda Bencic, SUI
10. Lucie Hradecka/Karolina Pliskova, CZE
11. Belinda Bencic/Martina Hingis, SUI
12. Garbine Muguruza, ESP
13. Angelique Kerber, GER
14. Venus Williams, USA
15. Victoria Azarenka, BLR
16. Aliaksandra Sasnovich, BLR
17. Annika Beck, GER
18. Casey Dellacqua/Samantha Stosur, AUS
19. Christina McHale, USA
20. Monica Niculescu, ROU
21. Yanina Wickmayer, BEL
22. Dominika Cibulkova, SVK
23. Hsu Chieh-Yu, TPE
24. Mandy Minella, LUX
25. Iga Swiatek, POL (Jr.16s)

*FED CUP - Captains*
1. Paul Haarhuis, NED
2. Amelie Mauresmo, FRA
3. Petr Pala, CZE
4. Heinz Gunthardt, SUI
5. Mary Joe Fernandez, USA
6. Wang Shi-ting, TPE
7. Alicia Molik, AUS
8. Tzipora Hirsh-Obziler, ISR
9. Barbara Rittner, GER
10. Conchita Martinez, ESP
11. Eduard Dubrou, BLR
12. Maria Jose Gaidano, ARG
13. Jurgen Waber, AUT
14. Ann Devries, BEL
15. Alina Cercel-Tec?or, ROU
16. Mikhail Filima, UKR
17. Sylvain Bruneau, CAN
18. Matej Liptak, SVK
19. Alaaddin Karagoz, TUR
20. Toshihisa Tsuchihashi, JPN

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
2016 Angelique Kerber, GER

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
2016 Caroline Garcia/Kristina Mladenovic, FRA/FRA

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
2016 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
2016 Dominika Cibulkova, SVK

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 Ag Radwanska, POL
2013 Simona Halep, ROU
2014 Simona Halep, ROU & Genie Bouchard, CAN
2015 Garbine Muguruza, ESP
2016 Karolina Pliskova, CZE

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 & Genie Bouchard, CAN
2014 Belinda Bencic, SUI
2015 Belinda Bencic, SUI
2016 Daria Kasatkina, RUS

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
2016 Kayla Day, USA

2015 Jamie Loeb, USA (North Carolina)
2016 Danielle Collins, USA (Virginia)

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
2016 Dutch Fed Cup Team

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
2016 Angelique Kerber, GER

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
2016 Dominika Cibulkova, SVK

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 Aga Radwanska, POL
2012 Varvara Lepchenko, USA
2013 Julia Glushko, ISR & Alison Riske, USA
2014 Alize Cornet, FRA
2015 Dasha Gavrilova, RUS/AUS
2016 Monica Puig, PUR

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
2016 Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, SVK

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/MJ. 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
2016 Caroline Garcia/Kristina Mladenovic, FRA/FRA

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
2016 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
2016 Isabella Shinikova, BUL

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
2016 Caroline Garcia, FRA*
* - team did not win title

2015 Amelie Mauresmo, FRA
2016 Paul Haarhuis, NED

More 2016 Backspin Awards are coming soon!

All for now.


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