Top WTA Prospects for a First Slam at Wimbledon

With Wimbledon a little more than a week away, we look at the trends in first slams for the WTA and the top prospects for the next first-slam winner at SW19.

The past few years have been a period of some of the highest-level of competition the women’s tour has ever seen. One sign of the depth of the WTA can be seen in the number of new names among major winners.

As shown in the timeline below, from the 2015 US Open, the first and only slam won by Flavia Pennetta, to Simona Halep’s much hailed win of the 2018 French Open title, there have been a total of 7 first-slam wins out of 11 major winners. Few periods in the past 5 decades have seen a similar concentration of first-time winners.

Are we likely to see another first-slam come Wimbledon? Who among the best women’s players are most likely to make a run for their first title?

Based on the standing of the current grass-weighted Elo ratings, here are the 10 most likely prospects for a big win at London’s Grand Slam. At the top of the group is Elina Svitolina, who was a favourite of many for the French Open title this year. Svitolina lost to an on-fire Mihaela Buzarnescu in the Round of 32 at Roland Garros and she has yet to get past the quarterfinals of any slam. So capitalising on her No. 1 prospect would be a big task so soon.

Karolina Pliskova takes the No. 2 spot but having gone as deep as the final before (US Open 2017) we might be more optimistic about her chances.

The sixth most likely is Britain’s own Johanna Konta. It would be an outside chance to expect Konta to go very deep, but it would be a great Cinderella story for local fans.

Most of the names in this group would be an Ostapenko-like win if they were to get close to the title. But with the way trends have been going on the WTA, another surprise slam win might be more likely than we think.

Player Elo
Elina Svitolina 1991.77
Karolina Pliskova 1963.06
Caroline Garcia 1953.33
Ashleigh Barty 1929.99
Naomi Osaka 1907.13
Johanna Konta 1905.85
Darya Kasatkina 1896.40
Coco Vandeweghe 1892.02
Agnieszka Radwanska 1884.37
Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 1866.37
Stephanie Kovalchik avatar
About Stephanie Kovalchik
Blog Founder, Senior Data Scientist at the Game Insight Group at Tennis Australia, and researcher at the Institute for Health and Sport at Victoria University.
Graeme Spence avatar
About Graeme Spence
Data Scientist in the Game Insight Group at Tennis Australia and researcher at the Institute for Health and Sport at Victoria University.
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