Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Li Na are household names—all are well-known and well-loved stars of women’s tennis. And while these amazing women are still going strong and playing their hearts out, the next stars are right around the corner, waiting for their turn in the spotlight.
Taylor Townsend – The 18-year-old made it to the third round at Roland Garros, making her the youngest player to advance that far in the past five years and winning her some major fans, including Andy Murray. In 2012 she won the Australian Open juniors and advanced to the junior Wimbledon final. Her 2012 No. 1 junior ranking made her the first American girl to hold that spot in 30 years. Townsend received a Wild Card for Wimbledon so we’ll get to watch in another Grand Slam very soon.
Garbine Muguruza – The 20-year-old Spaniard shined in the French Open by beating No. 1 Serena Williams in the second round… by winning straight sets. Muguruza reached her first Grand Slam quarter-final but was beat out by Maria Sharapova. Currently ranked No. 27, Muguruza must know her star is rising.
Eugenie Bouchard – The 20-year-old is making Canada proud. Her 2012 Wimbledon girls’ title made her the first Canadian female player to win a singles junior Grand Slam. At the end of the 2013 WTA tour, Bouchard was named WTA Newcomer of the Year. So far, in 2014 she has reached the semifinals of the 2014 Australian open and the 2014 French Open. Currently ranked at No. 13 in the WTA, Eugenie Bouchard is definitely one to watch.
Simona Halep – The 22-year-old may be an odd choice to put on this list. She’s already ranked No. 3 in the world but still, most people don’t know her name. In 2012 she made it to the top 50 and in 2013 won her first 6 WTA titles. That year she was named the WTA’s Most Improved Player and ESPN Center Court’s 2013 Most Improved Player. She reached the 2014 French Open final, losing to Maria Sharapova.
Luckily for the WTA there are many more women with serious talent on the courts right now. Here are some others (with their current rankings) that we are excited to keep watching:
- Sloane Stephens USA – No. 18
- Caroline Garcia France – No. 46
- Madison Keys USA – No. 47
- Christina McHale USA – No. 49
- Karolina Pliskova Czech Republic No. 50
- Monica Puig Puerto Rico – No. 51
- Ajla Tomljanovic Croatia – No. 52
- Heather Watson UK – No. 70
- Belinda Bencic Switzerland – No. 72