The year-end WTA rankings for 2021 were released on Thursday, the day after the WTA Finals wrapped up, and there were some very significant moves after some breakthrough performances in Guadalajara (as well as in Linz, the last event of the regular season, which finished last weekend and is included on these rankings).

Garbine Muguruza made the most notable jump on the year-end WTA rankings after winning the third-biggest (and 10th overall) WTA title of her career at the WTA Finals, rising from No. 5 to No. 3—her highest ranking in more than three years, since she was ranked No. 3 during the Wimbledon fortnight in July 2018.

“I think for the people from the outside, they kind of feel like, ‘Oh, Muguruza is playing well again,’” the Spaniard said after capturing the title on Wednesday night.

“It is true that the last couple of years I didn’t play the same way I played before. But I didn’t play bad tennis either. I was just here, there, not going into the deep rounds at Grand Slams that made the difference. I always felt I had the tennis—I was just not putting the battle together. I always believe I made finals of a Grand Slam, reached the rankings, I’m like, ‘I have the tennis, I just have to show it.’ It’s hard, of course.

This is just another proof that I think I’m actually in the best moment of my career. The experience I have now, the tennis, the way I handle myself, I think it’s actually much better than before.”

Muguruza is a two-time Grand Slam champion, winning Roland Garros in 2016 and Wimbledon in 2017, and spent eight career weeks at No. 1 in 2017.

Another player rising up within the Top 10 of the year-end WTA rankings was Anett Kontaveit, who rose from No. 8 to a new career-high of No. 7 after reaching the biggest final of her career at the season-ending championships.

Kontaveit left Cincinnati in August on a five-match losing streak and ranked No. 30, but after a sensational last few months of the year—winning 29 of 33 matches and four of eight tournaments—she shaved more than three quarters of that ranking off.

Muguruza was the first Spanish woman to win the WTA Finals in the 50-year history of the event.

Muguruza was the first Spanish woman to win the WTA Finals in the 50-year history of the event.


“It has given me so much confidence, so much self-belief," the Estonian said of her finish to 2021. “Looking forward to just taking some time to reflect, just think of what has happened in the last few months, because I’ve been playing matches non-stop, so there hasn’t really been any time for that. Really looking forward to doing that.

“I think I’m excited for the next season. Really want to keep this momentum up, just keep improving on my game, have a very good pre-season with Dmitry [Tursunov], just keep working. We’re doing the right things. My game is definitely improving.

“I’m very excited for what’s to come.”

And just 10 days after breaking into the Top 10 for the first time at No. 10, Paula Badosa moves up to a new career-high of No. 8. The Spaniard was also one of the hottest players of the fall season, winning Indian Wells and extending that winning streak into Guadalajara, where she made the biggest semifinal of her career.

Two very big jumps on the year-end WTA rankings came from results in Linz. American Alison Riske soared 22 spots from No. 73 to No. 51 after winning the WTA 250 indoor event, while Romanian Jaqueline Cristian jumped 29 spots from No. 100 to a new career-high of No. 71 after reaching her first WTA final there.

And back up to the upper echelon of the rankings, there were three more new career-highs—American Jessica Pegula and US Open champion Emma Raducanu moved from No. 19 and No. 20 to No. 18 and No. 19, respectively, while Roland Garros semifinalist Tamara Zidansek inched up from No. 31 to No. 30 for her Top 30 debut.

Though they came out on Thursday, November 18th, the year-end WTA rankings have been backdated to Monday, November 15th.