Now that Serena Williams and most of the British team has been knocked out of Wimbledon, it’s time to concentrate on the other brilliant female tennis players. Here’s who to follow this year.
Now that Serena Williams and almost all of our British players have been knocked out of the opening stages of Wimbledon, you might think that there’s no point in watching this year’s competition. The crowning event of the grass-court season, players of all nationalities head to SW19 in the hope of lifting the Venus Rosewater Dish. Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf, Maria Sharapova — the list of Wimbledon legends is a big one.
But you’d be wrong: the class of 2021 is brimming with talent, even if our young players aren’t going to win this time around. Now that the more established names are out of the competition (Johanna Konta and Heather Watson), it’s time to look at the new crop of players who are carving out their names in the tennis world.
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Coco Gauff: ranked world no. 23
Coco Gauff is just 17, making her the youngest player in the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) top 100 rankings. In 2019, the Atlanta-based player won a wildcard to play at Wimbledon, where she became the youngest player in the tournament’s history to qualify for the main draw. Elsewhere, she reached the third round of the 2019 US Open, fourth round at last year’s Australia Open and the quarterfinal of this year’s French Open. She’s spoken before at how her interest in tennis was sparked by watching Serena Williams win the 2009 Australian Open on TV.
Angelique Kerber: ranked world no. 28
Former world No. 1 Angelique Kerber hails from Germany, which she represented at the 2016 Olympics (winning silver). One of the most accomplished players currently battling it out on the grass down in SW19, Kerber’s already won 13 career singles titles across all surfaces. Her motivation to get into tennis in the first place? Legendary German tennis player Steffi Graf.
Garbiñe Muguruza: ranked world no. 13
At 27, Muguruza is a Wimbledon veteran, having lifted the winning plate back in 2017. As well as smashing out eight singles titles, she’s also an accomplished doubles player (she’s won five titles so far). Shortly after taking the Wimbledon title four years ago, she announced that she was becoming an ambassador for the international education NGO Room to Read, which promotes gender equality in education in the global south.
Kristie Ahn: ranked world no. 87
Ahn’s the other American to add to your watch list. In 2019, she became the first Asian American women to make it as far as the fourth round of the US Open since 2000. Before turning pro, she played tennis for Stanford University and in more recent years, she’s been doing the rounds at all the major competitions.
Eden Silva: ranked world no. 126 (doubles)
The last female Brits standing, Silva is competing in the Women’s doubles at this year’s Wimbledon. She’s spoken previously to Stylist about the trolling that female athletes receive, noting that she receives racist abuse online whether she’s won or lost her last game. She’s even received death threats aimed at her and her family.
Speaking last year, she called that she had recently received “a really concerning message from a troll that stood out for me more than usual. It said they would find me and break all my fingers and that they would cut my mother’s head off right before my eyes. It worried me so much that I reported it to the police.”
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