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Where is the Dominance in Women's Tennis?

posted by Sarah Hallett, a Women Talk Sports blogger
Saturday, January 28, 2012 at 2:57am EST

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Caroline Wozniacki via wikimedia

We love to watch dominance. Doesn’t really matter what sport it is but we love to see a player that makes every other player around him or her look completely inadequate.  In tennis we have seen a lot of players have their way with their opponents over the years. Yet the past few seasons have left a lot of fans wondering: when we are going to see the next dominant ladies player?

When Caroline Wozniacki walked off the court this past week in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open after losing 3-6, 6-7 to Kim Clijsters, the thought of another missed opportunity had to be flashing through her head. With the loss to Clijsters, Wozniacki was not only losing the chance to advance to her second Australian Open semi-final, but would also lose her grip on the #1 ranking which she has held for the better part of 15 months.  In most sports holding the number one spot for 67 weeks would appear to be very dominating. Yet that has hardly been the title graced upon the young Danish player still striving to win her first grand slam. Rather Wozniacki has been looked at as a model of consistency and as someone who many feel has benefitted from a flawed WTA system.  Martina Navratilova winner of 18 grand slam titles was quoted this past week with some pretty harsh words about Wozniacki.  “Clearly nobody feels that Wozniacki is a true number one. She is number one because that’s how they set up the computer ranking. It weighs too much on quantity and not enough on quality”.

Ouch. I doubt Martina will be getting an invite anytime soon to join Caroline at her place in Monaco.  Yet she makes a great point. The past two years have been very consistent for the soon to be former number one. Six WTA titles in both 2010 and 2011, but has only reached one final in a grand slam. That was in 2009 at the US Open in which she was quickly swept aside by Serena Williams. Wozniacki for her part did her best to answer the loss this week while trying to keep things in perspective. “At the end of the year, we will see who played the best. We are just in January. I will get it back eventually so I am not worried”.

 Perhaps she’s right. Maybe after spending a few weeks jet-setting with her golfer boyfriend Rory Mcilroy she will be more determined to reclaim the number one ranking. In the meantime we will have a new number one player in either Maria Sharapova or Victoria Azarenka depending on the outcome of the Australian Open final.  Sharapova already has won three grand slam titles and twenty-four WTA victories. Though only twenty-four years of age she has been around the tour for nearly a decade and has even briefly held the number one spot.  Great career but not what you would call dominating by any stretch. It is not surprising when she reaches a final but not a huge shock when she is knocked out. Azarenka for her part has already started off the year with a win in Sydney and looks to add to her nine WTA titles. She seems to have matured a bit over the past few years and perhaps if she can continue to keep her emotions in check, may be at the start of a great run.

The top ten players on the tour are brimming with talent, yet when healthy there is no doubt that both Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters can have their way with almost any of them. Both women are nearing the ends of their careers yet find ways to mop the court with many of their younger counter parts. It is not just the experience and skill they both bring to the game, it is their mental strength as well. Why is it that most of Serena’s opponents look as if they would rather be just about anywhere else then on the court with her? How is it that Clijsters can miss months from the tour yet can come a game away from the finals? True they are both extremely gifted players but as former true number ones the mental ability that they possess is worth far more than their physical skills.   

I think we will see a lot of really great tennis in 2012 but beyond that hopefully we will see the emergence of something even greater. Perhaps one of these ladies will step up and not only claim the number one spot, but also act like they truly deserve it. 

Sources: wtatennis.com, wikipedia.org, foxnews.com, thesun.co.uk

Photo: Caroline Wozniacki via wikimedia

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There is 1 comment on this post. Join the discussion!

ashleynorth says:

Go Sharapova!! She's hot.

Loving the blog, Sarah. I'm learning a lot of good 'water cooler talk'. Keep it up! :)

Saturday, January 28, 2012 at 5:58pm EST

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