Serena Williams just took a tough blow to her career to top off an already tough 2020 for the tennis superstar. She missed out on finishing the year inside the World Top 10 by a small margin, which is a cruel loss after her leanest season in over a decade.
Williams will round out 2020 as the World No.11, slipping just one place in the WTA’s final rankings update of the year.
Prior to this update, the 23-time grand slam champion looked set to remain at in her number 10 spot--but that was before Aryna Sabalenka won the season-ending Linz Open for her third title of the year.
That title win for Sabalenka meant she jumped above Serena by just 140 rankings points. This is the third time in the last four years that Serena has missed the season-ending Top 10 rankings.
This is the most recent of multiple tough blows for the athlete in 2020, a very trying year for the American champion, who failed to win a grand slam title for the third-consecutive year. This is the first time that has happened in her entire career.
A lot of fans felt this year would be Serena’s best opportunity to equal or break Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 majors--but despite the absence of some of her biggest rivals (like Ash Barty, who opted out of the French and US Opens), Serena still remains stuck on 23.
This year is the first since 2006 that Williams has failed to make a grand slam final. The 39-year-old’s 23rd and most recent major came at the 2017 Australian Open, when she was pregnant.
After returning from giving birth to her daughter Olympia, the tennis star reached the finals of Wimbledon and the US Open, both in 2018 and 2019.
But in 2020, she fell in three sets in the third round in Australia to China’s Wang Qiang while the cancellation of Wimbledon, where she is a seven-time winner, was another roadblock. She ended up losing to Victoria Azarenka in the semi-finals at Flushing Meadows before withdrawing from the French Open before her second-round clash.
Serena pointed to an achilles injury she suffered in her loss to Azarenka for her shock withdrawal from Roland Garros. In New York, six of the world‘s top players opted not to play.
At 39 years old, Williams is now 10 years older than the next oldest in the top 10, Simona Halep, making her road to victory that much more unlikely. But if anyone can do it, it’s Serena.
The Season-ending WTA rankings are as follows:
Ash Barty - 8717 points
Simona Halep - 7255
Naomi Osaka - 5780
Sofia Kenin - 5760
Elina Svitolina - 5260
Karolina Pliskova - 5205
Bianca Andreescu - 4555
Petra Kvitova - 4516
Kiki Bertens - 4505
Aryna Sabalenka - 4220
Serena Williams - 4080
Belinda Bencic - 4020