Omair, our stats expert, is using numbers to clarify our never-ending debates. This time he will examine the emergence of players who reached the top of the WTA rankings without winning a Grand Slam - Kim Clijsters, Amelie Mauresmo, Jelena Jankovic, Dinara Safina and Caroline Wozniacki – and closer investigate their performance in the years they became number ones. Part 2, to be publish next week, will look into the slamless No.1 years of players that had crowned their careers with major titles. You'll see, it's a revealing perspective!
A lot of debate has been going on over the last few years regarding the coveted world No.1 spot in the WTA rankings. Issues have been raised that the WTA ranking system is flawed, that the player must win a Grand Slam before she gets to the top. Is the WTA ranking system really flawed? And is it mandatory for a player to be a Grand Slam winner before she attains No.1 in the rankings? If yes, then why? And if no, then why has the hype been created?
These are the questions that will be debated on forever. As for me, being the best player in the world does not mean that you have to win all the tournaments or you have to win some specific events. For me, the best player in the world is the one who has been the most consistent throughout the year. You should not be ranked the best player in the world if you win all the four majors and do poorly the rest of the year. A player doing well in all the tournaments has all the right to be the best player in the world. How do you define the best player? What is your opinion on who should be the world No.1 player?
THE BEGINNINGS OF "SLAMLESS NUMBER ONES": WHO WAS THE FIRST AND WHEN WAS THE TERM COINED?
The term "slamless No.1" first appeared in August 2003 when Kim Clijsters became the first Belgian ever (man or woman) to be ranked world No.1. During that stellar season, Clijsters compiled a 90–12 singles record. Her singles win total was the highest single-season total by any woman since Martina Navratilova in 1982. Clijsters was also the first woman to play more than 100 singles matches in a year since Chris Evert in 1974.
Amelie Mauresmo followed in the footsteps of Kim Clijsters in 2004, when Mauresmo became the first French player to attain the top spot in the WTA rankings. Jelena Jankovic then repeated the same feat in 2008 and clinched the year-end top spot as well. Dinara Safina followed in 2009 and Caroline Wozniacki in 2010.
While Clijsters did go on to win her first Grand Slam at the 2005 US Open, and Mauresmo did it at the Australian Open 2006, Safina, Jankovic and Wozniacki are still in the hunt of their first ever major trophy. Will they ever be able to win it, only time will tell us.
Let's have a look at the seasons of the these five players, during which they first attained the top spot. Let the numbers do the talking, and let yourself be the judge as to who do you think did the best during her season that saw her attain the world No. 1 ranking for the first time. Do comment on how do you people see the seasons of these five players.
PERFORMANCE OF SLAMLESS WORLD NUMBER ONES IN THE YEAR THEY REACHED THE TOP RANKING
GRAND SLAM RESULTS OF SLAMLESS WORLD NUMBER ONES IN THE YEAR THEY REACHED THE TOP RANKING
Read more »