The end of the tennis season is upon us, and even as players prepare for the new challenges ahead – including the first Grand Slam of the season, the Australian Open, which gets underway mid-January, the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) is preparing for the WTA Player Awards. And though Leylah Fernandez didn’t win that coveted US Open crown, she might end up taking home the Most Improved Player of the Year award.
It’s not a shoo-in by any stretch of the imagination, with stiff competition in the category from the likes of Maria Sakkari, Barbora Krejcikova, Ons Jabeur, Anett Kontaveit, Paula Badosa, and Jessica Pegula. But Fernandez, who won her first WTA title this year at the Monterrey Open and reached the finals of her first Grand Slam, the US Open, after beating three Top 5 players, certainly has a strong case.
The 19-year-old started the year as the 88th ranked player and is currently ranked 24th.
The WTA has handed out the Most Improved Player of the Year since 1977, with Polish Iga Swiatek claiming the award last year. Other players to receive the award in the past few years include Eugenie Bouchard, Simona Halep, and Sofia Kenin.
Other awards to be handed out include WTA Player of the Year, 2021 WT Newcomer of the Year, 2021 WTA Comeback Player of the Year, and 2021 WTA Doubles Team of the Year. Winners will be announced during an event to take place in December.