It's been a never-ending debate about the way the WTA ranking system functions, whether it is flawed, whether a player who hasn't won a Grand Slam should be ranked No.1, etc. Our faithful contributor John Bolan belongs to the group of those who strongly believe that Caroline Wozniacki deserves her top ranking, despite not having won a major, and below is the justification of his opinion.
The topic is more than relevant now when Wozniacki has clinched the No.1 season-ending ranking, by beating French Open champion Francesca Schiavone 3-6 6-1 6-1 at the WTA Championships to qualify for the semifinals alongside Vera Zvonareva, Kim Clijsters and Samantha Stosur.
The WTA’s ranking system favors the majors where the winner is awarded 2,000 ranking points. A few other tournaments award 1,000 points to the winner, but most award only 280 points to the winner. The mathematics works out that a player would need to win 8 of these regular tournaments to equal just one victory in a major. My personal opinion is that the WTA system is flawed and more points and money should be offered in the regular tournaments and less in the majors. If they would change their system, more good players would play in more tournaments. That is, if they want to be ranked number one or in the top ten.
Players like Kim Clijsters, Justine Henin, Venus Williams, and Serena Williams can choose to play a few tournaments each year and add some excitement to the game. But players who play a limited schedule should not expect to be ranked the same as a player who plays the entire tour. In my opinion, the WTA should be marketing its stars like Caroline Wozniacki, Victoria Azarenka and others who play a full schedule and are highly ranked.
The reason Caroline deserves her ranking is because she played 21 tournaments in 2010. Serena in comparison played only 6. Perhaps, Serena has been injured part of the year and perhaps not. That is another issue. Caroline was injured, but she showed up anyway. She considered her commitment to play at Warsaw so important she played despite her injury. She re-injured herself there which put her at a disadvantage at the French Open. These things happen, but my point is great champions play through their injuries. They give 100% of themselves to the game. She played a total of 21 tournaments scoring more points than any other player. Some fans feel that she may not deserve her ranking because she didn't win a major. But even with the ranking system skewed in favor of majors she, like Dinara Safina and others, managed to win more ranking points the hard way by winning more matches and more tournaments. Who is the real number one? Is it the player who played only 6 tournaments or the one that played the entire tour of 21 tournaments and accumulated the most ranking points? There is no question in my mind that it is Caroline Wozniacki.
I doubt if the WTA will take my advice and change their ranking system to help their smaller venues. They should, at the very least, market the players who play a full schedule and those that do so much for the game of tennis. Caroline Wozniacki is the personification of the great game of women’s tennis. The WTA should do everything in its power to ensure that all know that Caroline Wozniacki is number one. Today, she is the best player in the WTA. (photo: angelicalbite)