No. 1 Ranking Up for Grabs – But Do You Care?

Dinara Safina in Action (Getty Images)

Dinara Safina in Action (Getty Images)

Of course the drama filled WTA tour wouldn’t end right without a”dramatic” ending to the year. The tour announced on its website that the top ranking was “up for grabs” this week at the China Open depending on how well current number one Dinara Safina and the perceived, in the minds of many, number one Serena Williams play at the event.

Safina’s regin at number one has been debated ad nauseum as she has failed to win a Slam this year and her lackluster early round losses this summer. Serena’s claim to the throne, after winning the Australian Open and Wimbledon, has fallen short due to her unstellar performances at top tier events.

As I’m writing this, Safina has just lost to wildcard Shuai Zhang 7-5. 7-6 (5) in the second round. So if Serena wins her next match then she should be number one.

But what if Serena loses? And what if Safina decides to play some Tier IV event, wins it, and get back on top? My point is is that even if Serena gets back to number one, this debate won’t change until one of these players has a consistent year both in the Slams and in the top tier events.

Safina said in a recent interview that being number one was more important than anything and that, and I’m paraphrasing, no one remembers who won what Slam but everybody remembers who was number one.

While I can understand her logic to a degree, and it is a defensive logic, I’m sure Safina would dearly love to win a Slam next year even it means not being number one. But with the return of Kim Clijsters, Justine Henin and a renewed Maria Sharapova, that goal may be harder to reach than ever.


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