The curtains have fallen on the 2021 tennis season with Garbine Muguruza winning the WTA final in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Over the months, the audience has been treated to dazzling performances from a number of fantastic tennis players.
Naturally, the more a player advances in tournaments, the more they get paid, and there were a lot of players who enjoyed big wins on the tour.
Here’s a look at the top 10 highest-earning female tennis players of 2021 and how they’ve evolved this season:
Earnings – $ 2,029,990
Ranking – 6
This year has been without a doubt the best of the Greek’s career. Although Sakkari didn’t win a title, she did some deep races in a number of big tournaments.
At Roland Garros, the 26-year-old made history by becoming the first Greek woman to reach the quarter-finals and then the semi-finals of a Grand Slam. Sakkari also reached the semi-finals of the US Open.
Along with her Grand Slam exploits, the 26-year-old has also reached the semi-finals of the Miami Masters and three WTA 500 tournaments.
The world No.6 also reached the semi-finals of the WTA Final in Guadalajara before losing to Anett Kontaveit.
Earnings – $ 2,098,133
Ranking – 4 (double)
The Belgian player has had strong individual performances this year, but has been most successful on the doubles circuit, becoming the world No.1 in May.
Mertens won the Australian Open with Aryna Sabalenka, beating Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova.
After teaming up with Hsieh Su-wei, the 26-year-old won the Masters at Wimbledon and Indian Wells.
Mertens and Hsieh also reached the final of the WTA Finals, but they were beaten by Krejcikova and Siniakova.
In singles, Mertens reached his first WTA 1000 semi-final at the Dubai Tennis Championships. His only individual title this year was the Gippsman Trophy.
Overall, 2021 has been a fairly successful year for Mertens, who has won a total of five trophies.
Earnings – $2 306 222
Ranking – 13
Osaka started the year with a bang by winning the Australian Open with victory over Jennifer Brady. It was his fourth Grand Slam title.
After that, Osaka reached the quarterfinals of the Indian Wells Masters, where she was beaten by Sakkari.
Osaka withdrew from Roland Garros, citing mental health concerns, and was credited with raising public awareness about it.
After early outings at the Olympics, Cincinnati Masters and US Open, Osaka took a hiatus from tennis, citing mental health issues. This led to his ranking dropping to 13.
With the exception of the Australian Open, 2021 has been a pretty much forgettable year for Osaka and many fans are hoping the Japanese will return to tennis as soon as possible.
Earnings- $ 2,602,330
Ranking – 8
The Spaniard is among the players who have improved the most this year, her ranking dropping from 70 to eight over the months.
Badosa’s crowning achievement this year was undoubtedly his triumph at Indian Wells. She also reached the semi-finals of the Masters of Madrid and the quarter-finals of Roland Garros.
Badosa entered the WTA final as a seventh seed and advanced to the semi-finals where she lost to compatriot and future champion Muguruza.
# 6 Emma Raducanu
Earnings – $ 2,807,446
Ranking – 19
The British No.1 had a decisive season in 2021. Raducanu started the year ranked 343rd in the world.
The teenager entered Wimbledon as a wildcard but reached the fourth round where she was forced to retire against Ajla Tomljanovic.
Heading into the US Open qualifiers, Raducanu was ranked 150 and managed to advance to the main draw, but few knew how well she would fare. The Briton beat four unranked opponents to reach the quarter-finals.
Raducanu beat Bencic and Sakkari to seal his place in a teenage final against Leylah Fernandez. She beat the Canadian to become the first-ever qualifier to win a Grand Slam title. What’s more special is the fact that the 19-year-old hasn’t lost a single set. It rose to 23 in the ranking.
Raducanu will end the year in 19th place and we could see it a lot more in 2022.
# 5 Garbine Muguruza
Earnings – $ 2,846,871
Ranking – 3
After a resurgent 2020, the Spaniard put in impressive performances in 2021.
Muguruza won the Dubai Tennis Championships by beating Krejcikova in the final. However, in the next five or six months, the 28-year-old had no notable performance.
The Spaniard hasn’t had a good run in the Majors, her best outings being fourth round outings at the Australian Open and US Open.
Muguruza made it to the WTA Finals as the sixth seed. She advanced to the tournament final and defeated Kontaveit in straight sets to become the first Spaniard to win the competition since Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in 1993.
# 4 Karolina Pliskova
Earnings – $ 2,868,865
Ranking – 4
The Czech hasn’t won any titles this year but has had some great times. Pliskova reached three singles finals in 2021 with the most notable of those at Wimbledon.
The 29-year-old faced world No.1 Ashleigh Barty and fought well. However, the Australian beat her in straight sets.
In the WTA Finals, Pliskova won two of her three group matches, but that wasn’t enough to take her to the semi-finals.
# 3 Aryna Sabalenka
Earnings – $ 2,909,281
Ranking – 2
The 23-year-old Belarusian has had a great year and played dazzling tennis in both singles and doubles.
At the Australian Open, Sabalenka left the singles draw in the fourth round but won the doubles title with Mertens.
She reached her first singles final in Stuttgart, losing to Ashleigh Barty despite her victory in the first set. Sabalenka avenged the defeat by beating the Australian in the Madrid Masters final.
The 23-year-old reached her first Grand Slam semi-final at Wimbledon but lost to Pliskova. The Belarusian reached two more semifinals at the Canadian Open and the US Open.
Sabalenka made the WTA Finals but couldn’t reach the semi-finals after winning just one of her three group matches.
The Belarusian has had a very good year and there is a very good chance that she will do even better in 2022.
Earnings – $ 3,646,883
Ranking – 5
The 25-year-old was among the most improved singles players this year. Krejcikova got off to a good start in 2021, winning the mixed doubles tournament at the Australian Open, partnering with Rajeev Ram. She was also a finalist in the women’s doubles competition in which she teamed up with Siniakova.
A month later, she reached the final of the Dubai Tennis Championships, where Garbine Muguruza beat her. The Czech and Siniakova won the Madrid Open by beating the pair of Gabriela Dabrowski and Demi Schuurs.
Krejcikova had a dream at Roland Garros by winning the singles and doubles titles. She thus becomes the first Czech woman to win the singles title at Roland Garros since Hana Mandlikova in 1981.
Krejcikova teamed up with Siniakova for the Tokyo Olympics and the duo won gold in the women’s doubles.
She made the year-end tournament in Guadalajara as the second seed, but lost all of her group matches. In doubles however, Krejcikova and Siniakova won the title.
2021 has been a great year for Krejcikova as she won a total of seven titles and an Olympic gold medal.
# 1 Ashleigh Barty
Earnings – $ 3,945,182
Ranking – 1
It is not surprising that the world No. 1 occupies the first place. Barty had an incredible year in which she retained her No.1 ranking despite all the tournaments that followed the US Open.
Barty won her first WTA 1000 title of the year at the Miami Open, beating Bianca Andreescu in the final.
After a disappointing French Open, the 25-year-old became the first Australian to win the women’s singles title at Wimbledon since Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1980.
Barty had a fairly mixed Olympic Games as she won bronze in mixed doubles, partnering with John Peers, but suffered elimination in the first round in singles.
The Australian won her sixth title of the year at the Cincinnati Open, beating Muguruza. This was followed by a third round exit at the US Open.