Five top contenders for the women’s title at the Australian Open, which starts on Monday.
Iga Swiatek is the firm favourite for the season’s first Grand Slam after a sparkling and dominant 2022 season where she went on a 37-match winning run and won eight titles, including Roland Garros and the U.S. Open.
The world number one has had a less than ideal start to the New Year, however. Swiatek suffered a shock defeat to Jessica Pegula in the United Cup and withdrew from the Adelaide event with a shoulder injury, which she will hope to shake off in time for the major.
Tunisian trailblazer Ons Jabeur climbed up to second in the rankings in a historic 2022 season where she came tantalisingly close to becoming the first African woman and the first Arab to win a Grand Slam singles title.
After making the finals at both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, Tunisia’s “Minister of Happiness” will look to finally go one step further in Melbourne and add a major to her three career titles.
Coco Gauff had the tennis world in a frenzy in 2019 when she qualified for Wimbledon’s main draw aged 15 and made a splash by reaching the fourth round.
At 18, Gauff is still searching for her first Grand Slam title after falling short at last year’s French Open and struggled at the WTA Finals, but will head to Melbourne brimming with confidence after a dominant title run in Auckland.
After an inauspicious start to last season, Caroline Garcia scooped up titles in Cincinnati, Bad Homburg and Warsaw, reached her first Grand Slam semi-final at the U.S. Open, and won the season-ending WTA Finals to claim her biggest career title.
A sensational second half of the campaign elevated the 29-year-old back to her career-high fourth spot in the rankings before the Australian Open, where she looks set to take another step in her remarkable resurgence.
Jessica Pegula will enter the year’s first Grand Slam at a career-high world number three and after one of the biggest wins of her career, having beaten Iga Swiatek en route to leading the United States to the inaugural United Cup title.
After winning the most prestigious title of her career in Guadalajara, Pegula struggled on her WTA Finals debut but has shown no signs of a 2022 hangover in the build-up to her fourth Australian Open campaign, where she has reached the quarter-finals twice.