Garbine Muguruza WTA

Doubles icon predicts Garbine Muguruza will overtake Ashleigh Barty at the top

Pam Shriver believes Ash Barty will be pipped to the World number one position this year, with Garbine Muguruza looking the “most likely” to overtake her.

Australian number one Barty won five WTA tour-level titles this season, including a second Grand Slam at Wimbledon, before ending her season after the US Open.

As a result, Barty secured a third Year-End number one title, despite not playing the second half of the season. The Australian was also named WTA Player of the Year.

Barty became the fifth women’s player ever to have finished as the Year-End number one for three consecutive seasons and to have held the position for more than 100 weeks, joining exalted company in Steffi Graf, Serena Williams, Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert.

Behind Barty in the WTA World rankings are World number two Aryna Sabalenka and World number three, two-time Grand Slam champion  and WTA Finals winner Garbine Muguruza.

When asked whether Barty can sustain her World number one position for a fourth consecutive year, 21-time doubles Slam champion Shriver told the WTA  “actually, I think there will be a new [World] number one.

“I’m not exactly sure whom, but I think Ash [Barty] has had a great run and I think it could be somebody in the top five.

“I’m looking at the points, and I think the most likely one is Garbiñe Muguruza. It could be Aryna Sabalenka, if she buries those demons. It wasn’t just what Garbiñe showed at Guadalajara [at the WTA Finals], but she and [coach] Conchita [Martinez] have developed a solid partnership.

“I feel she’s underachieved in the last couple of years, but I think the second half of 2021 she started to show more of the promise that took her to a French [Open] and a Wimbledon title. I’m looking at Ash’s lead and it’s not insignificant.

“Here’s the thing: After the US Open, Ash lost to Shelby Rogers and then she shut down her year. So if she wanted to chase the year-end ranking – and who knows where the WTA is going to go after the US Open with China for the moment out of play – let’s say it’s something that makes sense for Ash. Certainly, she’s got no points falling off after that.

“But I feel like Ash Barty, as great as she is, I don’t see her as being on top for 154 consecutive weeks. She’s so solid, but I just think someone else is going to step up.”

Shriver’s formidable doubles partner Navratilova disagreed and said she “can’t pick anyone else” to end Barty’s dominance.

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.