As the 2014 season approaches, Beyond The Baseline evaluates 20 top WTA players to determine which ones we’d buy, sell or hold. Click here for the ATP edition.
No. 1 Serena Williams: The top ranking, 11 titles, two Grand Slams. This was Williams’ most consistent year, and yet one could understand if she was left wanting. An untimely injury derailed her Australian Open campaign and uncharacteristically tentative play led to a three-set, fourth-round loss at Wimbledon, two results that will surely motivate the ambitious 32-year-old for 2014. Her 78-4 record required an unprecedented level of commitment, and by the time the WTA Championships rolled around in late October, the season had clearly taken its toll. Conventional wisdom says that, after an outstanding season, Williams would want to duplicate her preparation schedule. But that hasn’t been the case. Last year, Williams did her preseason training block with the Mouratoglou Academy in Mauritius. This year, she’s been training Stateside. Will the change have any effect? Will she be fresh after a grueling year? I don’t know if she can match her 2013 record, but my hunch is that Williams’ Slam performance will improve next year. Verdict: Hold.