Like 2013, this year I will do a countdown of the top money list leaders from both the WTA and LPGA. Last year I did the top 30, but this year I will do the top 25. Note that as of this post, the retired Li Na has been removed from the WTA website money list rankings, but I will include her here. Thus, some WTA players will be off by one position on my list compared to the WTA website list. Also, Hyo Joo Kim is not on my LPGA list due to not being a member this year. I’m certain she will be on the list in the future. For the WTA, singles, doubles and mixed are combined for this top 25. Number 9 on this money list for each tour are Sara Errani (WTA) and Azahara Munoz (LPGA).
SARA ERRANI (Italy)
2014 Official WTA Prize Money: $2,589,556
Best Results: Singles RUNNER-UP (2) Internazionali BNL d’Italia, Open GDF Suez; SF (2) Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, Nurnberger Gastein Ladies; QF (5) US Open, Roland Garros, Apia International Sydney, Qatar Total Open, Family Circle Cup; Doubles (all with partner Roberta Vinci) WINNER (5) Wimbledon, Australian Open, Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, Mutua Madrid Open, Rogers Cup; RUNNER-UP (2) Roland Garros, Internazionali BNL d’Italia
In terms of what is emoted on-court, few players perform with the dynamism, ferocity or pure passion that Sara Errani does. Often undersized and overpowered by the big babe tennis (as Mary Carillo calls it) generation, Sara dashes and darts, frenetically fighting and turning the tide. Errani rode that style to another great season in 2014. Just in doubles alone she was awesome, paired with countrywoman Roberta Vinci. Last year I argued that Peng Shuai and Hsieh Su-Wei should have been doubles team of the year instead of Errani and Vinci. I have no such argument this year. Three Major finals, winning Wimbledon and the Australian Open while finishing runner-up at Roland Garros. Five doubles titles overall. Two runners-up. Case closed. But I wonder if for all of her success in doubles that the one that will haunt her from 2014 is her singles runner-up at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia. Losing to Serena Williams is nothing to fret over. But Sara wasn’t completely healthy that day and suffered a lopsided 3 and love loss. On her home soil in Italy, that one had to sting. She had to be consoled by the tournament director in the aftermath of that match. But to me, it’s a footnote to a wonderful 2014 year that saw Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci complete the Career Grand Slam in women’s doubles.
AZAHARA MUNOZ (Spain)
2014 Official LPGA Prize Money: $1,051,332
Best Results: T4 Wegmans LPGA Championship, T7 Kraft Nabisco Championship, 2nd HSBC Women’s Champions, T2 JTBC Founders Cup, 4th Fubon LPGA Taiwan Championship, 4th Canadian Pacific Women’s Open, T7 Lorena Ochoa Invitational, T8 Kingsmill Championship, T8 ShopRite LPGA Classic, T10 Kia Classic; Team WINNER International Crown (Team Spain)
Although 2014 was a terrific year for Azahara Munoz on the LPGA tour, I still feel for her a little bit. The shot of the year, in my opinion, was Paula Creamer’s 75-foot birdie putt in a playoff to win the HSBC Women’s Champions. But through all the hoopla, excitement and world media attention that shot created, it can become an afterthought that for all of Paula’s joy, there was a player who came up short due to a miracle shot. On that day, the somebody was Azahara Munoz. I bring that up not to diminish Aza’s year. Quite the contrary. Some players might be shaken having lost in such a dramatic fashion. How did Munoz respond? How about another runner-up the following week at Founders Cup and then two more top 10s, including the first Major of 2014, the Kraft Nabisco Championship. That’s a mentally tough player. That’s the kind of resilient golfer than can be the emotional anchor of her home nation’s team at the inaugural International Crown. Undoubtedly, being part of Team Spain (Munoz, Carlota Ciganda, Beatriz Recari, Belen Mozo) was the highlight of her season. I say that even knowing that she successfully defended a title over on the Ladies European Tour. Turning back to individual play on the LPGA Tour, it was a bit of a bounce back year for Azahara. Two years ago she was in the top 10 of the money list and scoring average. Last year, she dropped to 31st on the money list and 28th in scoring. In 2014, she vaulted to 9th and 8th on the money list and in scoring, respectively. Her 70.47 scoring average was a career best for her on the LPGA. She was so good that it sometimes took a miracle to beat her. 🙂
ALL PICS CLICK TO ENLARGE
(all doubles pics with Robert Vinci)