Caroline Wozniacki: Can She Reclaim the Top Spot in the WTA Rankings?
Defending champion Caroline Wozniacki was knocked out of the WTA event in Indian Wells, Calif., by Ana Ivanovic in the fourth round.
It hasn't exactly been a season to remember for the young Dane. Currently ranked No. 4 in the world, she lost her hold on the No. 1 position and has failed to make a final in the short season.
Her reign at the top was marked by criticism as she held that lofty spot without a Grand Slam singles title to her credit, which many consider the true mark of greatness. Her game has been dissected by commentators and former professionals as well.
The question is, though, can she get back to No. 1?
Yes, and there are a number of factors that could see her sitting in the WTA penthouse within the next couple of years.
For one, the pressure is off her now and she would do well to embrace the role of being the hunter instead of the hunted. Aside from what happened at the Grand Slams, Wozniacki fended off challenges the majority of time she took the court. That can be seen by the number of singles titles she won: 12 between 2010 and 2011, making her the leader in tournament victories over those two years.
Another thing that factors strongly in her favor is age: She turns 22 this summer, which barring any type of significant injury, should see her have at least four to five years of peak tennis ahead of her.
Age is also important in the fact that she's not too old to add different facets to her game, such as being on the attack more. At 5'10", Wozniacki should be able to generate enough pace to win more free points rather than playing as conservatively as she does.
Then there's the experience factor: Wozniacki has been No. 1, a fact that not many of her peers can claim to have achieved. She's been there, done that, and if she gets close to that ranking again, she'll know what to do when she's there.
If anything, Wozniacki can look to another former No. 1 who got to the top before she won a Grand Slam: Kim Clijsters. It was said at the time that perhaps Clijsters was "too nice" to win a Major. That's obviously been proven wrong as Clijsters has solidified her status as a future Hall of Famer.
Perhaps the same will be said of Wozniacki when it's all said and done.
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