The Hottest Storylines in Women's Tennis at the End of the 2013 Season
The 2013 WTA season ended the way it began, with Serena Williams as the most dominant force in the game.
Williams' pursuit of Grand Slam titles is one of the hottest topics in women's tennis.
This year, Williams captured two Grand Slam titles and earned a record $12.4 million in prize money. She finished the year by defending her WTA Championships title. She takes a break and returns to action in late December in Brisbane.
Brisbane is a tuneup for the 2014 Australian Open, where Williams hopes to win her 18th Grand Slam title. That would tie her with tennis legends Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert.
Whether Williams can continue her record-setting pace is just one of the top storylines in women's tennis.
Maria Sharapova's Future in Tennis
Maria Sharapova has been in the news quite a bit recently, but most of the news has little to do with tennis.
Sharapova withdrew from the U.S. Open. Instead of playing in the tournament, she was pushing her candy company, Sugarpova. She hired Jimmy Connors as her coach. Then, she cut ties with him after one match.
Yet every week, her marketing machine releases statements about launches and press conferences. What Sharapova hasn't announced is who she's chosen as coach. Her former coach, Thomas Hogstedt, is now coaching Caroline Wozniacki.
A broadcasting gig is usually something an athlete sets up in their post-playing days. Perhaps Sharapova has one sneaker already out of the game.
Sizzling Simona Halep
Serena Williams' 11 titles were the most by any woman on the tour.
Who was second? Simona Halep, who won six titles.
Halep is one of just six players who won 50 or more matches this season. The Romanian finished 2012 ranked 47. She fought her way to her current ranking of No. 11. She seems destined for the top 10.
Llagostera Vives' Two-Year Drug Ban
Nuria Llagostera Vives tested positive for methamphetamine in Stanford. The ITF announced this month that Vives is banned from competition for two years. Vives has won 16 doubles titles and reached a career-high rank of No. 25 in singles in 2005. At age 33, a two-year ban, even in doubles, could be career ending.
Caroline's Coaching Catch
Now that Wozniacki has hired Sharapova's old coach, can she win her first Grand Slam?
Thomas Hogstedt takes the reins from Wozniacki's father. The former No. 1 player is currently ranked No. 9. She won just one title in 2013, but she's hoping Hogstedt, who coached Sharapova to a French Open title in 2012, can help her attain that elusive first Slam.
Andy Murray vs. Serena Williams
What began as a joke on Twitter could become a reality.
Andy Murray and Serena Williams are reportedly talking about playing a match in Las Vegas. If they do play, it will be for charity.
Victoria Azarenka's Slump
Azarenka began the year ranked No. 1 and solidified her top spot with a victory at the Australian Open.
She's had a few injuries, but you can't help but wonder if there's something else going on with Vika.
The WTA's Asia-Pacific Expansion
The WTA is expanding its presence in Asia.
The women's tour announced that a new international event in Hong Kong in September will be added to the 2014 schedule. A new Premier event will be played in Wuhan in the same month.
This expands the fall Asian swing, which includes the Pan Pacific Open in Japan and the China Open in Beijing. The Asia-Pacific region will host 18 events in 2014, five of which will be in China.
Serena Williams Chasing Glory
Will Serena Williams catch Navratilova and Evert? Can she make a run at Steffi Graf?
Right now, Williams seems to be competing against time and gunning for glory.
How long can she keep this up? The answer to that question will remain the top storyline in women's tennis until Williams leaves the game.