Simon Reed

Wozniacki must add weapons to her game

Simon Reed

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Caroline
Wozniacki's dominant world No.1 ranking is slightly false because, as we speak,
she has just been knocked out of WTA Tokyo where she was the defending champion
and Maria Sharapova, who hasn't got many points to defend there, is threatening
to do really well.

That having
been said, it's very unlikely that Wozniacki is going to be overtaken by the
end of the year, which is bizarre - but these things happen in tennis.

I haven't
got too much beef with the ranking system, to be honest: I think it's weighted
about right, although perhaps it could be weight just fractionally more towards
the Grand Slams. I know that for people who don't understand tennis it seems
incongruous that here is a young lady that cannot win a Grand Slam, and seems
to be consistently outplayed in the big tournaments - and yet she's No.1 in the
world.

However,
she's won six tournaments this year and been the most consistent player
certainly in the first half of the year, and so deserves her position.

It doesn't
mean that she's the world's best player, though. That's not what we're talking
about - I think people need to be realistic about that. They are two different
things, being top of the rankings and being the most feared player on the tour.
Serena Williams is the world's best player, and has been for the best part of a
decade or more - there's no doubt about that. And Maria Sharapova and Kim
Clijsters are probably the second and third best. Wozniacki probably tucks in
around four or five for her performances over the course of the year - and at
the moment, the way she's playing, she's not even in the top 10.

You define
the world's best player by what they will do in the biggest tournaments. When
we come to a Grand Slam, who is the favourite? Serena. Who's the next
favourite? Clijsters, Sharapova. The ranking, meanwhile, reflects your
performances right the way through the year in every WTA or ATP tournament.

She has
enjoyed a pretty good year: she's been the most consistent performer, won six
titles and appeared in two Grand Slam semi-finals. But I do think she needs to
add to her game.

I don't
think her game is in crisis, but I think it is at a watershed point now -
unless something is done now to add to that consistency-based game then I don't
think she is going to win a Slam. Unless all the cards fall in her place, that
is: if Serena is inured, Clijsters isn't there and Sharapova gets picked off by
somebody else, she's got a chance.

I still
think there could be a big hitter along the way who could knock her off top
spot - not one of the top four or five, but someone like Petra Kvitova, Sam
Stosur or Angelique Kerber. Any of those, on their day, could beat Wozniacki.
The way she plays means she isn't in control of the match: if her opponent is
playing really well, and hitting really hard, they will win.

She's got
to beef up her serve a little bit and look to be more aggressive - at the
moment she's just not hitting the ball hard enough. She's got to go for it a
little bit more, otherwise she'll fail in the biggest tournaments.

But when
the likes of Serena and Venus, Clijsters and Sharapova are not playing, she'll
pick up these tournaments. She's not going to when they are playing, though...
and at the moment she won't even do so when they aren't!

She is
something of an anomaly among the top few players. There are those who play a
bit like her, such as Jelena Jankovic and Agnieszka Radwanska - and of the
counter-punchers she's the best player.

The big
hitters are wavering alarmingly in their form, which has helped her ranking.
Kvitova wins Wimbledon then can't win another match until this week - she's just
starting to win again - while Kerber was fantastic at the US Open, but where
was she before? They seem almost like one-tournament wonders right now,
although I know that's not the case with Kvitova.

Despite losing
to Maria Kirilenko yesterday, Sam Stosur is on the way up again. There was a
massive letdown after winning the US Open... I honestly didn't think she had it
in her to win a Grand Slam and I suspect that she wondered herself, but Serena
was the right opponent on the right day - all the pressure was on Serena.

So now
she's won one, can she win another? I think so - but I'm not sure it will be the
Australian Open because the pressure will be so immense. Roland Garros? She's now
been in the final there and since won in New York: I have Sam Stosur down as
the favourite to win the French Open next year.

She could
be a future No.1, in fact, but she's a Slams player. No.2 Sharapova is moving
in the right direction, as is Azarenka - she is getting better and better,
month by month, almost tournament by tournament - but I just like Stosur's
chances of winning more Slams than those two.

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