Far be it from me to suggest that Serena Williams isn’t going to end up No. 1 in the world at the end of 2013, although the trick I’d really like to see her pull off is completing a calendar-year Grand Slam while finishing No. 4, behind Vika, Maria, and Caro.
Now that would be impressive.
But it still leaves open the question of who among the young American women is most likely to emerge as Serena’s successor. Serena is 31 years old and has experienced more than a fair share of injuries and other tribulations. Sometime soon, somebody is going to have to take her place, just like the American men have to find a leader now that Andy Roddick is gone.
The ATP Top 100 includes six active Americans, while the women have 10. But if you take No. 3 Serena out of the picture, the highest-ranked is No. 21 Varvara Lepchenko.
Forget about the prospect of a new American Grand Slam champ for now. The real question about is this: How many Top 10-quality women does the nation have? Realistically, this is the area in which you can hope for the most movement by American women in the coming year.