The WTA will once again recognize the top performers of the 2023 season with the annual WTA Player Awards.
These are broken down into five categories: Player of the Year, Doubles Team of the Year, Most Improved Player of the Year, Newcomer of the Year and Comeback Player of the Year. Members of the international tennis media will vote for the winners.
The nominees are as follows:
Singles Player of the Year
For the second season running, Iga Swiatek finished as the WTA year-end No.1. In 2023, she captured a tour-leading six titles, including her first successful Grand Slam defense at Roland Garros and compiled a 68-11 record. Coming off the back of her dominant 2022, Swiatek had to deal with the pressure of being the hunted rather than the hunter, a cohort of much-improved rivals and the loss of her No.1 ranking to Aryna Sabalenka. She responded in style, rounding out the year with an 11-match winning streak. She had trailed behind Sabalenka in the Race all year -- until the very last match, which sealed both her first WTA Finals crown and a return to the summit.
Having slipped from No.2 to No.5 in 2022, Aryna Sabalenka roared back in 2023 with a fixed-up serve and a calmer disposition to fulfil her immense talent. She started the year with a 13-match winning streak that included her first major crown at the Australian Open and went on to compile a 55-14 record that included three titles and three further finals in total. Sabalenka's consistency on the big stage was notable. The US Open, where she reached a second Grand Slam final, marked her fifth consecutive major semifinal, and she became the first player to reach the semifinals of all four Slams in one season since Serena Williams in 2016. Fittingly, Sabalenka ascended to World No.1 for the first time after that tournament, ultimately finishing at No.2.
Coco Gauff's season took off over the course of a spectacular North American summer, during which the 19-year-old won the three biggest titles of her career in succession: Washington, D.C. (WTA 500), Cincinnati (WTA 1000) and the US Open, a maiden Grand Slam crown. Gauff also compiled the longest winning streak of the year at tour level, capturing 16 straight victories between Cincinnati and the Beijing semifinals. Gauff rose from No.7 to a career-high of No.3 over the course of the year, tallying a 51-16 record and four titles overall.
Jessica Pegula delivered a second consecutive Top 5 season, finishing at No.5 after winning two titles -- Montreal (WTA 1000) and Seoul (WTA 250) -- and reaching a further three finals, including at the WTA Finals for the first time. Pegula also spearheaded the United States' victorious showing at the United Cup and reached two major quarterfinals, at the Australian Open and Wimbledon. As well as compiling a 59-18 record in singles, Pegula also excelled in doubles, ascending to No.1 for the first time in September.
Elena Rybakina enjoyed a spectacular first half of 2023, reaching her second Grand Slam final at the Australian Open and winning 13 straight matches between Dubai and Miami. Rybakina came within one match of the Sunshine Double after lifting the Indian Wells trophy and reaching the Miami final. Two months later in Rome, she captured her second WTA 1000 title of the year -- a result that meant the former Wimbledon champion has won tournaments at WTA 1000 level or above on each surface. Rybakina hit a career-high of No.3 in June and, after starting the year at No.22, finished at No.4.
Back in 2019, Marketa Vondrousova reached her first major final at Roland Garros as an unseeded 19-year-old. Four years on, unseeded once more after years of injury issues, she went one better to claim her first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon -- the first unseeded women's champion at SW19 in the Open Era. Vondrousova backed that up with a quarterfinal run at the US Open, a debut qualification for the WTA Finals and a career-high of No.6 in September -- less than a year after being ranked No.124.
Doubles Team of the Year
Coco Gauff/Jessica Pegula
Once again, the American duo showed that top-level singles and doubles performances were not mutually exclusive. For the second year running, both Jessica Pegula and Coco Gauff qualified for the WTA Finals in both disciplines. They also hit career-high rankings in both singles and doubles in 2023, becoming co-ranked World No.1 in the latter in September. Their doubles season was highlighted by titles in Doha and Miami, and finals in Madrid and Rome.
Storm Hunter/Elise Mertens
Year-end World No.1 Storm Hunter reached five finals in 2023 with three different partners. The Australian's most notable achievements came alongside Elise Mertens, with whom she won two WTA 1000 titles in Rome and Guadalajara and was runner-up at Wimbledon -- Hunter's first major final, and Mertens' fifth. Hunter and Mertens also made their team debut at the WTA Finals, where they reached the semifinals.
Gabriela Dabrowski/Erin Routliffe
Despite only teaming up in August, Gabriela Dabrowski and Erin Routliffe put their stamp on the season with a spectacular first three months alongside each other. The Canadian-New Zealander pair lifted the US Open trophy in just their fourth tournament together -- a first women's doubles crown for either player -- and backed that up by reaching the Guadalajara final and winning a second title in Zhengzhou. This surge enabled them to qualify for the WTA Finals, where Routliffe made history by becoming the first player from New Zealand to compete at the year-end finale.
Barbora Krejcikova/Katerina Siniakova
Having completed the Career Golden Slam in 2022, Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova have undoubtedly been one of the most significant doubles teams of this era. The Czech duo delivered another outstanding season in 2023, starting with an 11-match winning streak that included their seventh Grand Slam crown at the Australian Open as well as the Indian Wells title. That run enabled Siniakova to stay at No.1 for all but seven weeks of the season, and for the pair to qualify for their fifth consecutive WTA Finals.
Laura Siegemund/Vera Zvonareva
An incredible finish to 2023 saw Laura Siegemund and Vera Zvonareva qualify for their first WTA Finals at the last possible moment. Heading into the final week of the regular season, they needed to win the Nanchang title to get into Cancun -- and they did just that, before then triumphing at the WTA Finals as well. That took their 2023 title tally to four following Washington and Ningbo, and the pair also reached their second US Open final. Their achievements were all the more remarkable given Zvonareva's 11-month injury layoff between March 2022 and February 2023.
Most Improved Player of the Year
Player who finished inside the Top 100 and/or showed significant improvement throughout the season
After spending most of 2022 floating around the lower half of the Top 100, former junior No.2 Wang Xinyu found another gear in 2023 to rise from No.97 to No.32. The powerful Chinese right-hander claimed her first Grand Slam doubles title at Roland Garros alongside Hsieh Su-Wei, and her improved proficiency in the forecourt was evident as she took that momentum into her singles. In August and September, Wang won 17 out of 21 matches at all levels, including a first major fourth-round run at the US Open. Her season also included two WTA semifinals in Hua Hin and Osaka, and two Top 20 wins over Ekaterina Alexandrova in Indian Wells and Daria Kasatkina in Beijing.
Before this year, Zhu Lin had never been ranked higher than No.58, and at the age of 28 had just two WTA semifinals and two Top 20 wins on her resume. But a career-best season saw the Chinese player hit several long-awaited milestones to rise from No.87 in January to a career-high of No.31 in September (finishing the year at No.36). Zhu notched her maiden Top 10 win over Maria Sakkari to reach the fourth round of a Slam for the first time at the Australian Open, and backed that up by claiming her first WTA title in Hua Hin. Zhu went on to score a second Top 10 win over Caroline Garcia in Cleveland, as well as Top 20 victories over Magda Linette in Birmingham and Victoria Azarenka at the US Open. In September, she also reached a second WTA final in Osaka.
Despite peaking at World No.82 back in 2019, by the time this year's grass swing rolled around, Katie Boulter had been absent from the Top 100 for over four years. But on home soil, the Briton thrived. Having never previously been past the quarterfinals of a WTA event, she claimed her first title in Nottingham without dropping a set. She backed that up with third-round showings at both Wimbledon and the US Open, enabling her to crack the Top 50 in September. The 27-year-old finished the season at No.58, having been ranked at No.157 as recently as April.
After rocketing from No.143 to No.25 in 2022, Zheng Qinwen continued her improvement in 2023 to finish at a career-high of No.15. She cracked the Top 20 in May after reaching the Rome quarterfinals, but it was in the second half of the season that the 21-year-old shone. A maiden title on the clay of Palermo in July was followed by a Grand Slam quarterfinal debut at the US Open. Zheng ended the year on a high, claiming a second title -- and first at WTA 500 level -- on home soil in Zhengzhou before reaching the Zhuhai WTA Elite Trophy final. Overall, Zheng won 12 of her last 15 tour-level matches of the year, while also collecting a gold medal at the Asian Games in this period too.
For the first five months of the season, Jasmine Paolini's results seemed to be going backwards. The Italian lost eight of her first 12 tour-level matches of 2023, and her ranking fell to No.71 in April. But strong results at WTA 125 level -- a title in Florence and a final in Makarska -- signalled a turnaround that would lead to a strong finish. The second half of the year saw Paolini reach two WTA 250 finals, in Palermo and Monastir, as well as a first WTA 1000 quarterfinal in Cincinnati and a first WTA 500 semifinal in Zhengzhou. Along the way, she demonstrated that she had added consistency to her dynamic 'pocket rocket' style, enabling her to crack the Top 30 in October. The 27-year-old rounded off her season by leading Italy to its first Billie Jean King Cup final in a decade.
Newcomer of the Year
Player who made Top 100 debut and/or notable accomplishments during the season
Out of everyone in the year-end Top 100, Mirra Andreeva enjoyed the greatest jump in the rankings between her 2022 and 2023 positions thanks to a sensational breakout season. The 16-year-old rocketed up 359 places in total from No.405 to No.46. The Australian Open girls' finalist started her pro year with a 16-match winning streak encompassing two ITF W60 titles and, in her second tour-level main draw, a run to the fourth round of Madrid. Andreeva continued to demonstrate consistency and quality against the very best, qualifying and reaching the third round of Roland Garros and fourth round of Wimbledon on her respective debuts at each. Andreeva did not lose her opening match at any tournament in 2023, and notched four Top 20 wins in total (over Beatriz Haddad Maia, Magda Linette and Barbora Krejcikova twice) while compiling a 36-9 record.
Prior to this year, Diana Shnaider had never competed in a tour-level main draw, though she had won the Montevideo WTA 125 event at the end of 2022. She wasted no time in making an impact, qualifying for the Australian Open and stretching Maria Sakkari to three sets in the second round in her first meeting with a Top 10 player. For the first five months of 2023, Shnaider successfully balanced her new Top 100 status with her freshman year at NC State University. After turning pro in May, the results kept coming: semifinals in Hamburg and Nanchang, and a first WTA final in Ningbo. The 19-year-old also notched two Top 20 wins, over Veronika Kudermetova in Charleston and Petra Kvitova in Ningbo, and cut her year-end ranking from No.182 to No.60.
Another alumna of the U.S. college system to make an impact was Peyton Stearns. The American turned pro in 2022 after completing her freshman year at the University of Texas, and cut her ranking from No.209 to No.53 over the course of her first full season. The 22-year-old notched a succession of significant milestones: a first WTA final in Bogota, a first Top 20 win over Jelena Ostapenko at Roland Garros and a Grand Slam fourth-round debut at the US Open. The last of those also enabled Stearns to crack the Top 50 for the first time.
Few players made better use of lucky loser positions than Elina Avanesyan in 2023. The 21-year-old followed a qualifying loss with a Top 20 upset and significant milestone run not once but twice this year. At Roland Garros, she knocked out Belinda Bencic in the first round en route to becoming the first lucky loser to make the fourth round of a major since 1993. In her next tournament in Berlin, she repeated the feat, ousting Daria Kasatkina on the way to her first WTA 500 quarterfinal. Avanesyan also reached the quarterfinals of Budapest and Lausanne, and cut her year-end ranking from No.134 to No.75.
Linda Noskova started 2023 with a bang. In just her fourth tour-level main draw, the Czech teenager upset Daria Kasatkina, Victoria Azarenka and Ons Jabeur in succession to make her first WTA final in Adelaide -- a run in which she also won from match point down twice, against Anna Kalinskaya in qualifying and against Azarenka. The 19-year-old finished the year as the youngest player in the Top 50 at No.41 after reaching a second WTA final on home soil in Prague, then notching a third Top 10 win over compatriot Petra Kvitova in Cincinnati.
Comeback Player of the Year
Player whose ranking previously dropped due to injury or personal reasons and current season's results helped restore ranking
Throughout her career, Marketa Vondrousova's breakthroughs have been followed by lengthy injury breaks. The wrist surgery that sidelined her between April and October 2022 marked the third time she had been forced to take six months off since making her WTA debut in 2016; on her return, her ranking had fallen to No.124. But solid results in the first half of 2023 -- a semifinal in Linz, quarterfinals in Adelaide and Berlin, and fourth-round finishes in Indian Wells, Miami and Rome -- saw her return to the Top 50 in June. One year after attending Wimbledon as a fan with her arm in a cast, the Czech player became the first unseeded women's champion at SW19, defeating Jessica Pegula, Elina Svitolina and Ons Jabeur in the last three rounds. Vondrousova backed that up with a US Open quarterfinal run, hit a career-high of No.6 in September and qualified for the WTA Finals for the first time.
Another Czech with a reputation for being injury-prone was Karolina Muchova, who was sidelined between August 2021 and March 2022 due to an abdominal issue. On returning, she picked up an ankle injury at Roland Garros, further curtailing her comeback that year. By August 2022, her ranking had slipped to No.235, and she started 2023 at No.151. But back-to-back WTA 1000 quarterfinals in Dubai and Indian Wells saw Muchova re-establish herself in the Top 100, and set the stage for a phenomenal summer. Muchova exploded back on to the scene to reach her first Grand Slam final at Roland Garros, her first WTA 1000 final in Cincinnati and her third major semifinal at the US Open. She made her Top 10 debut in August and qualified for the WTA Finals for the first time -- though sadly was prevented from playing by another injury, this time to her right wrist.
Ukraine's Elina Svitolina spent 12 months away from tennis to give birth to her daughter, Skaï, in October 2022 -- while also spending her maternity leave fundraising for her home country. Against the backdrops of new motherhood and ongoing war, Svitolina returned to the tour in April 2023. She hit her stride on court a month later, capturing her 17th career title in Strasbourg before making the Roland Garros quarterfinals and a third major semifinal at Wimbledon. In the space of two months, Svitolina won 13 out of 16 matches -- including a defeat of World No.1 Iga Swiatek at Wimbledon -- and lifted her ranking 481 places, from No.508 to No.27.
At the end of 2021, Hsieh Su-Wei decided to take a break from tennis to let her body properly heal after almost 20 seasons on tour. She did not return for 18 months, coming back at Madrid in April to partner Barbora Strycova in the Czech's farewell season. Hsieh wasted little time in re-establishing herself as one of the most pre-eminent doubles players of this generation. The 37-year-old captured two Grand Slam titles to take her tally to six, teaming up with Wang Xinyu to win Roland Garros for the second time before reclaiming the Wimbledon crown for a fourth time with Strycova. It was the first time in Hsieh's career that she had won multiple major titles in a single season, and she ended 2023 as the doubles No.6.
After reaching her first Grand Slam final at Roland Garros 2021, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova was unable to build on this success in 2022, when a knee injury limited her to just three tournaments. She spent eight months on the sidelines between May 2022 and January 2023, and as recently as February was ranked No.844. Appropriately enough, the 32-year-old rediscovered her best form at Roland Garros, where she battled through a succession of three-setters to make the quarterfinals. Pavlyuchenkova also reached the Tokyo semifinals in September, along with quarterfinal finishes in Strasbourg and Hong Kong, and finished the season at No.59.