WTA Stars Gracing The Front Pages
Published January 30, 2014 12:11
MELBOURNE, Australia - There's no doubt about it, this year's Australian Open was one to remember - a Canadian ending a near-30-year drought, Poland's finest getting closer to that elusive first Grand Slam title, and Asia's greatest ever getting the W, and at the Grand Slam of the Asia-Pacific, no less.
Eugenie Bouchard has said her goal is to win a Grand Slam and she came very close to it Down Under, reaching her first Grand Slam semifinal - in fact becoming only the second Canadian to reach a Grand Slam semifinal after Carling Bassett-Seguso did it at the 1984 US Open. More than 1.6 million viewers watched the Montrealer outdo Ana Ivanovic in the quarterfinals, and more than 4.4 million watched her play her semifinal against the woman who would eventually become the champion.
Agnieszka Radwanska hasn't just been one of the most successful players out there the last several years - Wimbledon finalist in 2012, former World No.2 - but she has also been one of the most, if not the most, popular player out there as well, being voted the WTA's Fan Favorite Singles Player the last three years running. But her popularity is so strong in her native Poland that according to Pentagon Research, a Polish sports data company, of all of Poland's athletes she is the best ambassador to the world, beating out, among others, soccer star Robert Lewandowski and ATP star Jerzy Janowicz.
Radwanska would reach her third Grand Slam semifinal in Melbourne but fell to Dominika Cibulkova, who made waves of her own - the first player representing Slovakia to reach a Grand Slam final.
And then, of course, there's Li Na. Asia's first Grand Slam champion became its first two-time Grand Slam champion in Oz, saving match point in her third round match but then steamrolling her way to the title from there without even losing a set, barely losing games at times. She's now back to her career-high of No.3 in the world and just a handful of points behind the World No.2, Victoria Azarenka.
You can tell a player's global impact in many ways - viewing figures, earning power, social media - and then there's covers. Li and Bouchard in particular blanketed newspaper covers around the world the last few weeks, and we wanted to show you some of them here on wtatennis.com. Just click below...