The 22-year-old won her maiden grand slam title in Melbourne, eclipsed Serena as the American No 1 and backed it all up with deep runs in New York and Paris. The best is yet to come
This time last year Sofia Kenin was coming off a season that saw her win three titles at lower-level tournaments, spring a headline-grabbing upset of Serena Williams at the French Open, scale more than 40 places in the world rankings and take home the WTA’s most improved player award.
But as one of eight players aged 22 or younger to finish in the year-end top 25, she’d yet to meaningfully separate herself from the brigade of talent-rich youngsters threatening to kick in the door of women’s tennis. Certainly not when Naomi Osaka and Bianca Andreescu were out here winning majors. Even domestically, Kenin’s emergence was almost entirely dwarfed by the breathless ESPN-driven hype surrounding Coco Gauff’s meteoric rise and Serena’s comeback from childbirth and dogged pursuit of Margaret Court’s record.