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Gritty Kenin Follows In Wade’s Footsteps

Locker Room

December 15, 2020

Sofia Kenin is WTA Player of the Year – and deservedly so.

What a force Kenin could be at Wimbledon 2021!

We can’t wait to welcome this extraordinary American fighter to the lawns of London.

No one performed better than Kenin at the 2020 Slams. She was denied the opportunity to shine at Wimbledon, of course.

But that glamorous, grassy stage will beckon Sofia soon enough.

The recent announcement provides a timely reminder that it’s not always about the rankings.

The tough American is world number four. But she’s in very good company as she picks up this prestigious WTA award ahead of those officially placed above her.

The great Virginia Wade was WTA Player of the Year back in 1977. She too was ranked fourth in the world at the time.

But Virginia had captured everyone’s hearts with her romantic triumph at Wimbledon that same year in front of the Queen.

Maria Sharapova was also number 4 when she picked up this award in 2004.

Like Wade, she too had captured hearts worldwide with her Wimbledon triumph months earlier. Maria tasted year-end glory to seal the deal.

Kenin has managed to win WTA Player of the Year even without lifting a trophy on the historic Centre Court at Wimbledon.

That’s because she did so well at two of the three Slams played in 2020.

First, Sofia took Melbourne by storm to win the Australian Open against the odds.

She overcame the power of Garbine Muguruza in defiant style, saving ten of twelve break points, including three successively and very memorably in the deciding set.

Kenin’s run at Roland Garros was almost as amazing, particularly since she had lost 6-0, 6-0 to Victoria Azarenka in a clay-court warm-up in Rome.

The 22-year-old’s determination to improve took her all the way to the French Open final.

No other player in 2020 won one Slam and reached the final of another. Not even a semi-final in addition to their big title.

That’s why Kenin can claim to be the best this year, even if previous ranking points mean that Ashleigh Barty, Simona Halep and Naomi Osaka currently stand above her on the world list.

Of course, Sofia desperately wanted to double her Grand Slam tally in Paris.

Ironically she was only beaten by the WTA’s Most of Improved Player of the Year, Iga Swiatek.

What battles we might be able to savour between these rising stars of women’s tennis at Wimbledon 2021 and beyond!

This emerging rivalry is just one more reason why our sport is so exciting right now.

You can bet that Kenin won’t settle for her hugely impressive 16-2 Grand Slam record in 2020.

‘It’s a pretty good ratio in the Slams and I’m playing some really good tennis now,’ she admitted.

Yet she just isn’t the type to stop her climb to the top so near the summit. As a little girl she said she wanted to be the best in the world.

She’s had a taste of what it feels like to be the best now. Australia gave her that.

At the time, Kenin reflected: ‘I love the big stages. My dream has officially come true. I can’t even describe the feeling right now. If you have a dream, go for it and it will come true.’

But there are more dreams to realise. More ambitions to fulfil.

A woman who loves the big stages will soon feel the biggest stage of all start to summon her.

Sofia Kenin, WTA Player of the Year, congratulations. Wimbledon 2021 awaits.

Your fire and passion and your sheer determination will soon find a fresh and appreciative audience.

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