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"I think there will be a new No. 1": Pam Shriver forecasts fierce competition for Ashleigh Barty in 2022
The world No. 1 is set to face Coco Gauff in her first singles match of the season in Adelaide.
Published Jan 04, 2022
The former top WTA player turned commentator Pam Shriver is forecasting a new No.1 on the WTA Tour this season, saying that first-placed Ashleigh Barty should receive some competition from Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus and Garbine Muguruza of Spain.
In an interview with the WTA, she noted that there were a few players within reach of the top spot, which has been Barty's for almost 102 straight weeks now.
"I think there will be a new No. 1. I’m not exactly sure whom, but I think Ash has had a great run and I think it could be somebody in the top 5," said Shriver.
Not surprisingly, No. 2 Aryna Sablenka and No. 3 Garbiñe Muguruza were among the top choices, but Shriver gives the edge to Muguruza because of her experience in winning two Grand Slams during her career and her recent win at the WTA Finals.
"I’m looking at the points, and I think the most likely one is Muguruza," said Shriver, who often commentates for Tennis Channel. "It could be Sabalenka, if she buries those demons. It wasn’t just what Garbine showed at Guadalajara, but she and [coach] Conchita [Martinez] have developed a solid partnership.
"I feel she’s underachieved in the last couple of years, but I think the second half of 2021 she started to show more of the promise that took her to a French [Open win in 2016] and a [2017 triumph at] Wimbledon."
But Barty, who currently has more than a 1,200 point lead in the rankings, will not be easy to knock down either, she adds.
"I’m looking at Ash’s lead and it’s not insignificant,” Shriver said. “But I feel like Ash Barty, as great as she is, I don’t see her as being on top for 154 consecutive weeks. She’s so solid, but I just think someone else is going to step up."
Shriver, who lives in California, the former player captured many doubles events, with 112 titles. In the singles, she won 21 titles, reaching the final at the 1978 US Open.
Barty is set to face American Coco Gauff in her first singles match of the season in Adelaide.