Coming in at number 4 on the countdown of best players yet to win a Grand Slam is another WTA Finals champion: Elina Svitolina. In 2017, Svitolina won three WTA 1000s titles and rose to number 3 in the world. For the next several years, Svitolina remained one of the best and most consistent players on tour. During that time span, she won the WTA Finals, took home another WTA1000 event, nabbed an Olympic bronze medal, and reached two major semifinals.
2022 was a year of change for Svitolina. Svitolina, the highest-ranked Ukrainian tennis player of all time, took a break from the sport. Svitolina cited injuries and the war between Russia and Ukraine as the biggest factors in her decision. A short while later, Svitolina announced that she was expecting her first child with ATP star Gael Monfils.
Now married and a mother, Svitolina returned to the tour in 2023 to staggering results. She reached the quarterfinals at the French Open and the semifinals at Wimbledon. Her game, once characterized by her defensive prowess and steadiness, looks more aggressive than ever. Svitolina attributes her successful return to an improved mental game.
Elina Svitolina is number 4 of the best players yet to win a Grand Slam
Svitolina certainly appears to be using her child and country as motivation for greater success. Given her recent form and the fact that she is still only 28 years old, the pieces may be falling into place for Svitolina.
In the last 15 years, players have found success after becoming mothers. Kim Clijsters won three majors as a mother, Serena Williams reached four major finals, and Victoria Azarenka also made a major final. I would expect Svitolina to follow in their footsteps and at least make a major final in the next year or two.
Likelihood to win a major: Likely
Top Ten Countdown So Far:
Number 10 – Paula Badosa
Number 9 – Maria Sakkari
Number 8 – Coco Gauff
Number 7 – Belinda Bencic
Number 6 – Madison Keys
Number 5 – Caroline Garcia
Number 4 – Elina Svitolina