Jelena Jankovic the reigning world No. 1 ended the year so, partly due to her own hard work and partly due to her co-players indirect help. This year she, not being caustic to her achievement, had not that stiff competition as she would have expected.
First Justine Henin's surprise retirement, then Maria Sharapova's untimely injury, this year the world no 1 title passed on and on, sometimes back and forth like a baton in a relay race.
As Tennis gets ready to usher in a new season in 2009, the job of retaining the Ichiban position for Jankovic will prove much stiffer. The fact that she is the world No. 1 without a single grand slam victory still rankles her critics and thus the tough job before her as got even more tougher.
Right now, it would be too early to predict what relevations 2009 might produce, but nevertheless I chose six players whom I thoroughly enjoy watching as a fan and who I believe have got a fair chance of being the world No. 1 at the end of next year. If anyone feels otherwise, please free to comment.
1. Maria Sharapova: Sharapova, who missed most of the latter part of 2008, will make a re-entry in the new year. Though she lost her ranking to Ana Ivanovic after her fourth round loss to Dinara Safina at Roland Garros, it can be said that Sharapova does have some discomfort on the clay court. The fact that she does well in other surfaces and will be as fit as a fiddle should be something good to go about.
2. Venus Williams: Venus came back strongly after her fifth Wimbledon title this year. Her morale and confidence will be definitely on a high following her maiden capture of the year end championships at Doha. So, I believe that she has a very good chance of either making it as the No. 1 or making it to the top five once again.
3. Ana Ivanovic: Fellow Serb Ivanovic from who Jankovic took over as the No. 1 player also lies in wait in search of the glory once achieved and relinquished. Ivanovic who started strongly at the beginning, faltered towards the end and as she gets older and a bit wiser next year there will be more of her prowess. Right now she lies in prowl and in the hunt...
4. Dinara Safina: Safina played modestly at the start upping her tempo when it was the least expected. Of all the players mentioned in here, she perhaps has had the best season in 2008. A talent powerhouse, it would be interesting to see whether Safina manages to close in as the numero uno.
5. Serena Williams: How can sister Serena be far behind when Venus's name be mentioned. the whole world on one side and the Williams sisters to another. Ranked second right now, Serena does seem to be on a roll these days and it looks familiar reminding of the previous years.
6. Jelena Jankovic: She may turn out to be the dark horse. Justify and satisfy everyone and take possession and guard of what she got; but this time with adequate proofs.