Simon Reed

WTA – My players of the year

Simon Reed

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Francesca Schiavone

For me, the woman of the year has to be Francesca Schiavone.

She's a fabulous character, and my lasting memory of the 2010 WTA season will be her triumph at Roland Garros - one of the most uplifting occasions I've ever witnessed as a tennis commentator.

Sure, there were some mitigating circumstances - Sam Stosur did a lot of the legwork knocking out the top players on her way to the final, before underperforming on the day - but Schiavone executed her game-plan to perfection.

She's always been a battler, and has always worn her heart on her sleeve, but in her first Grand Slam singles final she attacked the game in a way she hadn't done before. Her personality just won through.

It was a courageous, magnificent win, and my highlight of the year.

Serena Williams

Schiavone may well have given me my highlight, but there can be no doubt that Serena Williams was the best player in the world last year.

Even when she was in moderate form, she was still too good for anyone else.

Okay, she was never likely to win Roland Garros, but pretty much every other tournament was hers to win or lose - her contenders just picked up the pieces.

That's why it's particularly galling that she hasn't picked up a racquet since Wimbledon.

I was please to see Kim Clijsters defend her US Open title, but I'm absolutely sure that it would have been Serena's had she played.

On form, no-one can compete with her - she's been the best player in the world for the last decade - but it's going to be interesting to see what happens when she returns from her injury next year.

Throughout her career she's shown an extraordinary ability to hit top form with minimal preparation but, at 29 years old, she could struggle to come back - and foot injuries are the worst as she won't be able to practice until she's fully fit.

It may well be that we've seen the best of Serena Williams, but I'll enjoy watching her prove me wrong next year.

Caroline Wozniacki

I've picked Wozniacki for one of my players of the year because she's had so much negative press for being world number one without winning a Grand Slam.

I've said it before, but I think she absolutely deserves her number one ranking, there's absolutely no doubt in my mind that she's earned it.

I don't think she's the best player in the world - for the record, I'd say she's third of fourth - but she's played in enough tournaments, and either won them, or done very well in them, to earn the most points under the current system.

The figures don't lie, and she makes my list for what she's achieved this year.

I would like to see her win a Grand Slam, and I definitely think she's got one or two in her over the next couple of years. She'll certainly be tough to beat in the Australian Open.

Ana Ivanovic

The most uplifting story of the year - after Schiavone's French Open triumph - was the late return of Ana ivanovic

For me she's one of five players who can win the Australian Open - despite being ranked 17th in the world at the moment.

She looked fabulous in every way by the end of the year - largely thanks to her coach Heinz Guntag.

She's always been able to hit the ball hard but, with Heinz, she's added real nous to her game.

The combination of brutal hitting on both wings and, seemingly, a much more stable approach to the game, will make her some package going into next year.

The problem Ana faces now is the fallout from her split with Gunthardt right at the end of the year, which was certainly untimely - everything was clicking and she looked dangerous.

However, if she can maintain her momentum, despite the change in personnel, there's no doubt that she'll be a top-five player again.

If Clijsters doesn't perform when the Australian Open gets underway in January, Ivanovic will have a real chance to claim her second Grand Slam title.

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