Instead of a year in review focusing on overall achievements, I thought this time I’d do a countdown of the top 30 money list leaders from the WTA and LPGA. For the WTA, singles, doubles and mixed are combined for this top 30. Number 4 on the money list from each tour are Maria Sharapova (WTA) and Shanshan Feng (LPGA).
MARIA SHARAPOVA (Russia)
2013 Official WTA Prizemoney: $3,544,222
Best Results: WINNER BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, WINNER Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, RUNNER-UP Roland Garros, RUNNER-UP Sony Open, RUNNER-UP Mutua Madrid Open, SF Australian Open, SF Qatar Total Open, QF Internazionali BNL d’Italia
Facebook: Sharapova (click)
Twitter: MariaSharapova (click)
Website: mariasharapova.com (click)
Time is precious, particularly when your main profession depends on a strong, athletic body. For the second time in her career, Maria Sharapova lost a large portion of her year due to a shoulder injury. She doesn’t need the lost opportunities at titles. If she never wins again, her career Grand Slam and 29 WTA titles overall guarantee her a spot in the International Tennis Hall of Fame. While nobody wants to lose money, rich or otherwise, Masha’s lost prizemoney…heck, even the $3.5 million she made for a partial season…is a mere pittance compared to all the endorsement money that makes her the highest paid female athlete in the world, in the range of $25-29 million a year give or take. Yes, I suppose the money and the added championship titles are important, but I think at the core of her being Masha truly loves to play professional tennis at the highest level. After losing the second half of 2013, I hope she can stay healthy for the rest of her career.
When she was on the court in 2013 she was brilliant. The fact that she missed half the year (I include playing hurt at Wimbledon and Cincinnati as lost time), but still ranked 4th on the money list is a sign of how great she was playing. Wins at Indian Wells and Stuttgart. Runner-up at Roland Garros, Miami and Madrid, all three times to Serena Williams. Semifinals at the Australian Open and Doha. The only time she didn’t reach at least a semi before she started having shoulder problems was at Rome when she had to withdraw before her quarterfinal match with an illness. The three big ifs going into 2014 for Masha are if she’s healthy, if she can stay healthy and if she can reclaim the form she had in the first half of 2013. If she can answer those questions in the affirmative, she will have a great opportunity to make up for lost time.
SHANSHAN FENG (China)
Official 2013 LPGA Prizemoney: $1,716,657
Best Results: WINNER Reignwood LPGA Classic, WINNER CME Group Titleholders, T9 Wegmans LPGA Championship, T9 US Women’s Open, 2nd ShopRite LPGA Classic, 2nd Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, T7 North Texas LPGA Shootout, T8 Mizuno LPGA Classic, T8 Honda LPGA Thailand, T9 LPGA LOTTE Championship presented by J Golf
Facebook: shanshan.feng.5 (click)
Like Se Ri Pak did for South Korea before her, Shanshan Feng is a pioneer for golf in China. She was already the first to win a Major, emerging victorious at the 2012 Wegmans LPGA Championship. She continued her winning ways in 2013, winning the inaugural Reignwood LPGA Classic in Beijing. Shanshan deserves credit for fanning the growing flame of golf interest in the Middle Kingdom. Along the way, she gave us what I considered the shot of the year from the 2013 season.
Shanshan closed out her LPGA season in the best way possible, with a triumphant victory at the CME Group Titleholders. What really makes her money list finish even more impressive is that she is the only player in the Top 30 with less than 20 events played with 19. I realize the CME Group win inflates the total a bit, but even so I find what she accomplished to be impressive. She was no one or two hit wonder. She had top 10s (T9) in two Majors (Wegmans LPGA Championship, US Women’s Open) and just missed a top 10 (T11) in a third (The Evian Championship). Shanshan likes to split her time between the USA and Asia, as she has 3 LPGA victories and 5 JLPGA victories in her young career, not to mention 2 Ladies European titles. If there is one concern I have for Shanshan, it’s how long can she maintain such a peripatetic schedule. Jiyai Shin recently decided to focus on playing in Japan, in part due to the fatigue of travel. Will it be long before Shanshan will have to make a choice where she wants to focus her energy?
SELECTED 2013 PHOTOS OF MARIA SHARAPOVA and SHANSHAN FENG
ALL PICS CLICK TO ENLARGE