October 14th, 2010
02:28 PM ET

Is Wozniacki a worthy world number one?

Caroline Wozniacki has risen to the top of women's tennis, but has yet to win a Grand Slam event.
Caroline Wozniacki has risen to the top of women's tennis, but has yet to win a Grand Slam event.

Despite having never won a major title, Caroline Wozniacki is the new top-ranked player in women’s tennis.

The young Dane’s rise to the summit has once again started the debate: Is she a worthy number one, or are the WTA rankings flawed?

You’ll remember the same topic came up when Dinara Safina became world number one last year, and Jelena Jankovic before her. Neither player had won a major then, and they still haven’t.

I think we all agree that if Serena Williams was fit, it would be her that would sit atop the rankings rather than Wozniacki.

Now number two, Serena has only played six tournaments this year – but she won two of them and they just happened to be the Australian Open and Wimbledon. Wozniacki, meanwhile, has played 21 tournaments in 2010 and won six of them – four coming in the last two months.

So it’s clear to me that she does indeed deserve the number one ranking as she clearly is the best active player of the moment.

The key word there is active, because her main rivals – Serena, Venus, Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin – have hardly played since Wimbledon.

Henin, like Serena, hasn’t played at all because of injury. Venus has just played once, while Kim participated in three tournaments, winning two of them – most recently the U.S. Open.

To my mind the Belgian would also be a worthy number one, but whether she will get there, playing a reduced schedule next year as she plans to do, remains to be seen.

Should Venus and Serena recover from their respective injuries in 2011, it goes without saying they will plan their year around the majors, and Henin will most likely do the same as she aims to win at the All England Club for the first time – her main reason for returning to tennis.

So this could be a worrying time for those who run the WTA Tour. The likes of Zvonareva, Schiavone, Jankovic, Stosur and Dementieva are very, very good players, but they simply aren’t big draws. Regardless, they will be the top seeds in a number of tournaments next year.

Wozniacki, then, could very well be the Tour’s savior. She’s attractive, only 20 (so plenty of time to start winning Majors), hits the ball incredibly hard, is a fierce competitor and has a winning smile.

Perhaps her climb to the top will inspire her generation – young players who haven’t yet made the difficult step into the top 10.

What the women’s tour desperately needs is more and better rivalries. The men’s tour has it, which is why it is currently the one to watch.

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Filed under:  Tennis
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. alehandro

    I get tired of hearing how Serena/Kim/Justine would be on top of the rankings if they played more. Wozniaki made it to the top fair and square based on the system employed by the WTA. What someone else might have done had they been fit or bothered enough to show up is irrelevant. And never mind Zvonareva, Schiavone, Jankovic, Stosur and Dementieva not being a big draw, no-one in women's tennis is a big draw, unless you want to see Serena win another slam (yawn) or Kim play the plucky mom card, which has gotten old quickly. Tennis needs at least two big draws at the same time to be interesting. The men have it with Federer and Nadal, the women haven't had a real rivalry for a very long time. Hence it's a bit of snore.

    October 14, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Reply
  2. Rasmus

    Its a valid question to ask, but yes, she has EARNED the nr1 spot:
    – She isnt injured(much), she plays alot
    – She has won 6 tournaments this year to date!
    And as you say, she is young. Look at the top25, there are 5 or so born 86 or later. Meaning the rest will soon retire or get so injured theyll slip down the list. She wont. As soon as Serena grows a little older and slower, the last unbeatable player is no more for Wozzy and she could even sweep 3-8 slams. She almost won the 1st set against Kim in 09 btw, in that first set Kim magically came back if you watched it and now she has a much better serve. And if we have to rly push it, she HAS won a slam, Wimby 06, albeit the Junior title.
    Give her time and lets wait to see the 80-85 generation slowly falter/retire and she will grab at least 2 slams. Im guessing Aussie and US, as she isnt a gravel specialist, and is too counter for Wimble for big girls. But plzzzz Wozzy, surprise me! :)

    October 14, 2010 at 8:24 pm | Reply
  3. jorgen friis

    CW has played and won more matches than others. She's young and
    for sure her time will come when she will majors too. She's accumulating points when others are not. Her position is fully deserved. Whether she is pretty, has a winning smile etc is not necessarily a prerequisite but for sure
    wont do any harm. I am sure she will do well as long as she can stay free of injuries.

    October 15, 2010 at 2:55 am | Reply
  4. Abdalla m Toure

    you need to win a major title or a grand slam to be world number one personally i don,t agree with the ranking system.

    October 17, 2010 at 4:10 am | Reply
  5. Daniel Osazuwa

    She is number 1 full stop! She is a young beautiful girl and I believe with time she will get her grand slam victory. The Williams sisters cannot continue their winning streak becuase of the law of nature/ deminishing return. They have done so well for the game of women tennis and I believe its time for the WTA to produce new champions like CW etc. But beware of the W sisters...

    October 17, 2010 at 6:23 pm | Reply
  6. Uwa

    Deserved? Hmmmm.
    How I wish there were points for all those numerous "backyard opens" that people play and win.
    We should have numerous world no's 1 or maybe former number 1.
    Like it or not until CW is able to consistently beat the sisters and the 2 Belgians, her number one ranking rings hollow.
    Where if I may ask is JJ,Safina?

    At this rate, the top 100 in the WTA will soon be full of former no 1s who's only claim to the title is that they played 60 backyard opens while the top players were out injured .

    C'mon guys,

    The WTA is lucky to be able to piggy ride on the back of the ATP at many tournaments ( by playing simultaneously at the swme venues) , effectively masquerading the poor quality of the matches of the

    I tell u, there is better quality at the USLPGA and we all know what they earn compared to the Ei male counterparts in the PGA tour.

    C'mon guys , no one really watches CW battle one ova, Eva or vich

    October 19, 2010 at 11:20 am | Reply
  7. Uwa

    And by the way what has looks got to do w it?
    It is nonsense like this that detracts young players from the job at hand.
    They get too carried away and often fail to fulfill their potential.
    I am disappointed that Candy would write such nonsense.
    For very Sharapova that achieves , there are countless others whose careers are truncated by such pressures placed on their young shoulders

    October 19, 2010 at 11:32 am | Reply
  8. Terri Truitt

    Yes you should have to have won a major to be the number one player in the world! Why isn't Zvonereva higher in the ranking than she is and she went to two MAJOR FINALS! I think it is a bit flawed. The tennis association has put so much weight on the four majors, but why if we have a player who has not won one at all sitting with the number one ranking? The tournaments that Wozniaki won were stacked with top seeded players? I don't think so because those are the opponents that she can never seem to beat in the majors. In my opinion, maybe there is another avenue that has not been explored as far as rankings.

    October 24, 2010 at 1:20 am | Reply
  9. am pilaro

    Worthy of it

    she is Number one
    and Earned the top slot

    October 24, 2010 at 8:15 am | Reply
  10. Dr. Cajetan Coelho

    Hats off to Caroline Wozniacki. The World Number One has earned her top ranking through hard work and performance.

    October 26, 2010 at 3:26 pm | Reply
  11. Peter Jensen

    Well deserved. What do you want? An injured No. 1 ranking beause of a 9 months old win? Cut the bs – she earned her ranking. Tip your hat and applaude her.
    You folks complaining will never be happy. Especially I am sick of you US folks...Land of opportunity, right? Well she took 'em, and won! 6 tournaments...what do you want, She can't play the Williams sisters or the Belgians if they are playing a reduced schedule or continously injured!
    Way to go CW......stay on track Don't let them get to you!

    October 29, 2010 at 8:46 pm | Reply
  12. imoh ekpo

    Being the world number one does not only depend on the number of surfaces won, but on total points accumulated.wosniaky has the attitude. she has the tennis structure,the comportment, the right attitude, mental toughness and importantly the skill to rule the world of female tennis, again age is on her side. with time and opportunity,she will reign in all grand slam if encouraged. she's a great player.

    October 30, 2010 at 8:22 pm | Reply
  13. Hans Carl

    What can I say? How about this? I would give away almost all my victories in a long career as a recreational tennis player for having CW's mental strength, perseverance and compassionate attitude towards her opponents and friends on the circuit . These unique qualities together will make her reach the pinnacle of world tennis and be able to stay there for quite some time. In short – what you see on court is one h... of a committed young Danish girl with a passion. Keep going CW.

    October 31, 2010 at 2:42 am | Reply
  14. Kim Nielsen

    First of all, Im proud of beeing a fellow dane to Wozniacki. Damn proud. I agree that winning a Grand Slam tournament is the ´real deal´
    But the players in a Grand Slam Tournament is are the same as the players in WTA tournaments. Woz, have played them all, she has won 7 WTA tournaments this year, She has won more matches than any other player....so off-course she is a worthy No.1. Absolutely no doubt about it......and she´s only twenty. Today she beat Zvonareva. The second best ranked player in the world....that pretty much sums it all. Yes, she could loose tomorrow to Kiim C, but all players in the TOP 20 could beat each other...Its beeing stabile, during the season which counts. Caroline have been the most stabile player PERIOD.

    Sorry for my screwed up english. ;-)

    Cheers from Denmark.

    October 31, 2010 at 3:05 am | Reply
  15. Bing

    Of course CW is deserving of the #1 ranking, based on the rules governing the WTA tour. She worked hard and got there fair and square.

    But is she the best tennis player out there today? I think that honor goes to KC. Both the W sisters haven't beaten KC since her return. And CW hasn't even come close to beating her after 2 tries.

    November 1, 2010 at 4:45 pm | Reply
  16. Wallace Edgard

    Well she is the numerical #1 right now so it is well deserved. Fact remains is that the "old" generation of Williams x2, Henin and Clijsters and even with some good will Sharapova is way more talented than the current field –Azarenka, Jankovic, Safina, Kuznetsova, Radwansa, including Wozniacki who is over 20 after all.

    Hence Serena, Clijsters and soon Henin again can stick to a much shorter schedule to establish their domination which in the end is evaluated by the number of wins in BIG tournaments (Slams, Miami, Tour Championships, Olympics) All three of them have been #1 repeatedly so the incentive is gone. Furthermore, given their age they are injury prone and are even less inclined they play over 100 matches as Clijsters used to do in 2002 & 2003.

    The problem is not the ranking system, it is the lack of current talent. Up to Wozniacki to prove that she has got the calibre to raise from the pack and challenge Serena and the Belgians.

    November 1, 2010 at 7:14 pm | Reply
  17. Uwa

    Showing compassion to your fellow players is not a qualification for number 1.
    Again when CW fails to beat any of the sisters or the Belgians when they do play, she is clearly not the best player I am afraid.
    Liking her personality is a different thing frm her beating the best.
    Let's not confuse the issues.

    November 3, 2010 at 11:52 am | Reply
  18. Uwa

    Just out of curiosity, who actually watched the SEC?
    It will be interesting to actually get the statistics on the daily viewership.
    For the first time in my tennis loving life, I was completely disinterested in watching any of the matches. I just barely checked the results on eurosportsnews.

    I attempted watching the match btw CW and Schiavone, it was a painful experience and I switched off after 10 mins.

    That is how bad the quality was

    November 3, 2010 at 12:01 pm | Reply
  19. Kachi

    CW being ranked #1 based on the platform for ranking in WTA is undisputed. But the question is :is she worthy to be #1? Even in the men's ranking, we've seen the #1's loose to lesser ranked players various times, but its consistency that counts. My point therefore is CW might not always have the upper hand when pitched against players like the Williams sisters and the Belgian power houses, but in the end its consistency in the game of tennis that counts.

    November 3, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Reply
  20. jorgen friis

    yes, absolutely. CW achievements so far certainly qualifies her. And her winning a slam – or most like several – is only matter of time and will only
    underscore that her present # 1 ranking is fully justified. Whatever others may say are sour grapes

    November 4, 2010 at 12:27 pm | Reply
  21. Hendra

    I'm tired of this question. Is she worthy or not, just because she hasn't won a slam. Hey, what do u expect from a player who doesn't play?
    Why people are busy with this 'as if'. Why don't people even ask the other 'as if' like Navratilova, or Graff, or Shancez Vicario still play? Isn't ut useless?

    So, it isn't her/their false if they play well, and then win a tournament while the other player injured.
    We can't stay in 'if sumone play', even she es the best world ever has. She has to play if she want to be no 1.

    So if Wozzy, or Vera, or other win, and has better rank, congratulation! They absolutely deserve! Poor those who can't play due to injury or another problem. Hope u all get better soon.
    But for now, sorry, we have a very good player winning the tournament.

    November 12, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Reply
  22. Justafan

    Comparing CW to the Belgians and the Russians and the sisters is just utter nonsense.

    Before their 20,most of these players had made their mark.CW is just beginning to do that in her 20's.

    Even at this age,the older players are a dangerous rival should any of these "younger talented,good-looking" players fall in their den.

    Never count out the older women.

    November 13, 2010 at 5:56 pm | Reply
  23. Kayode Kuti

    Caroline does certainly deserve to be the number one player in the world.
    The system would not be fair otherwise. It would be worse if say Serena or Clisters were number one because they had won majors this year.
    That way the other tournaments would be totally devalued.
    Not winning a major title does not mean you cannot ever be referred to as great (just my opinion) and I am a great lover of tennis.

    November 13, 2010 at 6:45 pm | Reply
  24. Geraldine

    I personally think the ladies ranking systen is possibly flawed.
    There's no way a guy can sit atop the rankings in the mens atp ranking system unless he's one a major and possibly even won it in th same year.
    This applies to many a sport too.
    How you an athete b the number one player in the world at his/her discpline having never won a major tournament, race or otherwise?
    I still consider Serena Williams the no.1 player as she currently hold two of the last seasons majors.

    November 18, 2010 at 8:17 am | Reply
  25. Viking

    Waste of time to talk about Serena. She is out of the number one
    spot for good.

    Our Caroline is the number one till some other beauty is trying to
    challange her and gets to the top.

    No one is a challenger for a loooon time to come. to come

    November 27, 2010 at 5:42 pm | Reply

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