The 2017 women’s tennis season was full of shocks, comebacks and extraordinary moments. As the dust settles on the year, Jade du Preez selects her Top 10 moments from a remarkable season.
1 – Simona Halep’s run to Number 1
Simona Halep has had a rocky career, reaching several Grand Slam finals that she couldn’t convert into titles, but she did reach the coveted World Number 1 spot in October 2017, becoming one of very few players to reach the spot without winning a Grand Slam. Her luck would continue as she came runner up at the 2018 Australian Open.
2 – Serena Williams’ Australian Open pregnancy
Winning a Grand Slam is no easy task but doing so whilst pregnant is an entirely different matter, which is what Serena Williams did in the 2017 Australian Open, when she beat her sister Venus Williams and broke the Open Era record with her 23rd Slam title, at 35 years of age. She now only has to win one more Slam to level with Margret Court, who has the most Slams of all time.
3 – Jordanne Whiley Wimbledon Win
2017 was Jordanne Whiley’s year as she secured her fourth Wimbledon wheelchair doubles title, after taking 8 months of leave due to injury. She played with her Japanese partner, Yui Kamiji, whom she completed her Golden Slam in doubles with in 2014.
4 – Maria Sharapova’s Return
As controversial as she may be over her suspension following a failed drug test, the Russian former Number 1 Maria Sharapova returned to the game in April 2017 and won her first match back on court against Roberta Vinci in straight sets. It was at her much-loved Porsche Tennis Grand Prix.
5 – Caroline Wozniacki’s WTA win
Her career has not been an easy one, plagued with injury and inconsistency, but Caroline Wozniacki achieved the greatest milestone of her career in 2017 when she won the WTA Finals, held in Singapore. This resurgence in form would continue and take her to the current Number 1 spot with a 300-point lead and the 2018 Australian Open title.
6 – Jelena Ostapenko winning the French Open
Ranked 47th and unseeded, young Jelena Ostapenko stunned the world when she beat favourite Simona Halep to win the 2017 French Open. This was the first time in years that the biggest names in women’s tennis weren’t vying for the title. She shot to fame not long after her Roland Garros win, becoming a favourite in tournaments and surging through the rankings to top 10 status.
7 – Petra Kvitova’s return
Petra Kvitova was stabbed in the hand by a home intruder in December 2016, and she was ruled out of play for approximately six months, but she made a promising early comeback at the 2017 French Open where she won her first-round match. This was not the first knife-related injury to female players, Monica Seles was stabbed in the back when playing Steffi Graf in 1993.
8 – Venus Williams returns
Venus Williams has always battled with injury and illness throughout her glittering career but 2017 was also a return to form for her as she reached two Grand Slam finals, only to be defeated by her sister Serena Williams and fellow Grand Slam champion, Spain’s Garbine Muguruza. Here’s hoping this fine form continues into 2018.
9 – Johanna Konta’s dream Wimbledon
Fighting off some serious competition in the shape of French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko and former world number 1 Angelique Kerber, Johanna Konta reached the semi-finals of Wimbledon in 2017, a tournament that Brits and commentators alike had put a lot of pressure on her for due to Virginia Wade being the last Brit to reach the semis in 1978.
10 – Sloane Stephens’ US Open
It was an all-American affair at the 2017 US Open final when Sloane Stephens took on Madison Keys for a decider that was devoid of the usual faces like Serena Williams and Simona Halep. After pulling out all the stops, it was Sloane Stephens who triumphed and took home her first Grand Slam trophy on home soil.