These are the five next would-be legends in women's tennis who will provide the biggest threat to Ash Barty over the Australian number one's career.
Cori Gauff (United States of America)
It is hard to believe that American Cori Gauff (or Coco as she is known in the tennis world) is only 15-years-old. She has already captured the interest and respect of the tennis world with her poise and finesse to take it up to and defeat her more experienced opponents.
In 2019, Gauff had her best finish at a grand slam reaching the fourth round of Wimbledon and taking the biggest scalp of her career defeating Venus Williams. Also last year, Gauff made it to the third round of the US Open.
Towards the end of the tennis season in October, Gauff won three games, as she took home her first WTA title in Linz over Jelena Ostapenko. Gauff is a player to watch, because of her rare star talent at a young age and if she is like this at 15, imagine how good she will be with more years on the WTA tour.
Gauff does not have a distinct game style yet - there are too many variables to lay a claim on her style like the others in this list - but her serve is powerful and she is an exciting young talent who will be one to watch in the next 10 years.
Elena Rybakina (Kazakhstan)
Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan is 20-years old and she had her best season in her career in 2019. She ended the year ranked number 36 and it was her first top 100 finish. Rybakina’s highlights of the year included her first WTA title win at the Bucharest Open over Romanian Patricia Maria Tig.
At the Jiangxi Open, she was runner up to Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson and reached the semifinals at Hertogenbosch in Netherlands where she went down to world number seven Kiki Bertens in tight straight sets.
Rybakina also made it to the semifinals at Luxembourg Open, but lost to German Julia Goerges. She appeared in the quarterfinals at Istanbul, Wuhan and Linz. At the start of the year in Dubai, Rybakina had her best career win over world number two Karolina Pliskova in straight sets.
It was a massive scalp and comeback for Rybakina who came from a break down in the first set and matched it with the second seed with her hard hitting shots and aces. Rybakina won the Hobart International over China’s Zhang Shuai in straight sets, but the first set was tight as it went to a tiebreaker. In total, Rybakina in her short career has won two titles and become runner-up on four occasions.
Her style of game is aggressive and she is known for this and plays from the baseline mostly. She is extremely powerful with her groundstrokes from both sides of the court and has such a strong and accurate serve that can reach up to 177 km/h.
Early on, in 2020, she led the WTA in aces with 144 in 25 matches before the tour was cancelled due to coronavirus. Rybakina looks to have the whole package and at only 20, expect her to continue to enhance her game and stake her claim against the world’s experienced players in the future.
Bianca Andreescu (Canada)
Canadian Bianca Andreescu became the first teenager since Maria Sharapova to win the US Women’s singles title in 2019.
2019 was a breakthrough season for the Canadian because she won the US Open final over Serena Williams. She reached the second round of the Australian Open and French Open in 2019.
Andreescu plays like a top player with her mental toughness and her playing style is versatile. Her shot selection from the back of the court is superior because she puts different types of spin on the ball to place the point on her terms.
She can anticipate shots well and therefore returns shots back powerfully. Opposition players find her shot placements to be unpredictable making her a tough player. In years to come, she will improve, so expect the Canadian to be up there with her rising talent.
Sofia Kenin (United States of America)
An American 21-year old, Sofia Kenin took the tennis world by storm in 2019 with her breakthrough season. After her breakthrough season, she currently holds her highest WTA singles ranking of four in the world.
She defeated world number one and Australian Ashleigh Barty in the semifinal of the Australian Open and then in the final pulled off her first Grand Slam women’s singles title win over Garbine Muguruza of Spain, a two-time major champion.
She became the youngest American to win a Grand Slam since Serena Williams in 2002. Expect the youngster to continue to go deep in many Grand Slams in the future, as she has the class and skills to match it with the world's very best tennis players. She showed in 2019 that age is just a number at 21 and with more years of experience and improvement Kenin will continue to be up there with the world’s best.
Kenin’s game style is a-typical for an American: even when her back is up against the wall she will never give into her opponent, she is a true fighting champion with superb shot timing.
Kenin is a rising talent and she will continue to go from strength to strength, so expect there to be more success for the American in the future.
Amanda Anisimova (United States of America)
American Amanda Anisimova is 18-years-old and is already the second-highest ranked US WTA player with a ranking of 28 in the world as of March 16, 2020.
The American reached her highest career world ranking of 21 on October 21, 2019. 2019 was a huge year for Animisova, as she won her maiden WTA title in April 2019 at the Bogota, Copa Colsanitas, when she was 17-years-old and 222 days over Australian Astra Sharma in three sets.
At the time, Anisimova was the youngest American to win a title since 1999 when Williams won at Indian Wells (17 years old and 169 days). Also, in 2019, Animisova made it to the semifinals at Roland Garros becoming the first male or female player born in the 2000s to make it through to such a pointy end of a Grand Slam.
It was an incredible season for Animisova in that she made the quarterfinals at Mallorca and San Jose and to the Round of 16 at the Australian Open. Animisova became the youngest player at 17 years and five months old to make it through to the Australian Open Round of 16 since 2007.
Also, to add to her career highlights of 2019 was she caused a massive upset win over world number three and the defending Roland Garros champion Simona Halep at the 2019 Roland Garros in the quarterfinals.
Animisova’s style of play is aggressive and she is well and truly up there to become the next tennis superstar. She plays well beyond her years with assurance and this will help to make her way among the world’s best women’s tennis players in years to come.