Once a key tool in the ideological struggle that raged alongside the Cold War, tennis is still, in some instances a battle between the game’s superpowers.
In terms of gross numbers, the superpowers dominate the top 100.
However, in our latest breakdown of the WTA, there are some surprises among the top six nations.
France – 5
Led by Caroline Garcia France had their top 100 numbers swelled by the switch of allegiance made by Russian-born player Varvara Gracheva.
As the world No 43, Gracheva is the French No 2 and has a decent shot at turning out in the home Olympics for the country.
Former Top 100 player Alize Cornet dropped out of the elite bracket this season, but France still sports some pretty impressive depth.
Italy – 5
Considering they have Sara Errani just outside the top 100, Italy are better placed than many might think despite not having a player in the top 25.
Jasmine Paolini, as the world No 30 is the Italian No 1, while popular veteran Camila Giorgi has always managed to get people talking about Italian tennis.
Lucia Bronzetti and Elisabetta Cocciaretto represent the promising next generation of Italian tennis in the top 100.
China – 6
The Peng Shuai situation has cast a dark cloud over Chinese tennis even as they have a number of notable players pushing up the rankings.
The WTA’s decision to fold to financial sway has disappointed many who hoped that they could press for more information on Peng and firmer confirmations of her safety and well-being.
On the court, Qinwen Zheng leads half a dozen top 100 players from China who are proving to be a consistent title threat.
Czech Republic – 9
For their size, the Czech Republic punches well above their weight, and their history in the game is as deep and rich as it is at times dark.
Grand Slam winners and Grand Slam threats appear to lurk around every corner in Prague.
Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova leads the way as the top-ranked Czech woman as the world No 7. The Czech Republic have more players (four) in the top 20 than any other nation.
Russia – 13
Barred from competing under their national flag, Russian players nonetheless abound on the WTA Tour.
A total of 13 Russian players occupy the top 100 of the rankings as of 27 November 2023.
World No 16 Liudmila Samsonova is the highest-ranked Russian woman right now followed closely by Daria Kasatkina and Veronika Kudermetova.
USA – 17
For sheer number of players in the top 100 there is no matching the United States.
US Open winner Coco Gauff snuck ahead of compatriot and doubles partner Jessica Pegula with her major triumph to become the new US women’s No 1.
From journeywoman to up-and-comers there are American woman all up and down the top 100 of the WTA Rankings and likely will be for some time to come.
READ MORE: Rafael Nadal’s grand comeback plan revealed with Australian city set to cash in on his appearance