Martina Navratilova questioned Caroline Wozniacki’s status as the No. 1 women’s tennis player, criticizing the system that put her there for placing too much emphasis on the quantity of wins rather than the quality.
Navratilova, who won 18 Grand Slam singles titles, said that Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova should already have dislodged Wozniacki atop the Women’s Tennis Association rankings because she had a better 2011 season overall.
“Clearly nobody feels that Wozniacki is a true No. 1,” Navratilova said yesterday at a news conference at the Australian Open in Melbourne. “If we still had the same ranking system we were using six years ago, when they were giving bonus points for beating players, Kvitova would have ended up No. 1 because she had beaten more top players than Wozniacki.”
No. 2-ranked Kvitova of the Czech Republic and Wozniacki captured a WTA-leading six titles in 2011, though Kvitova claimed her first major at Wimbledon and also won the season-ending WTA Championships. Wozniacki of Denmark is yet to win one of the sport’s four most-prestigious tournaments and is spending her 66th and 67th weeks atop the rankings at Melbourne Park.
Kvitova, Wozniacki, Maria Sharapova of Russia and Belarusian Victoria Azarenka can all clinch the No. 1 ranking at the end of the tournament. Kvitova and Sharapova advanced to the quarterfinals yesterday, while Wozniacki takes on defending champion Kim Clijsters for a semifinal spot today and Azarenka faces Agnieszka Radwanska, the No. 8 seed from Poland.
Wozniacki has held the No. 1 ranking since Oct. 11, 2010, and has stayed there with the exception of just one week last year, when Clijsters of Belgium returned to No. 1 for the first time in nearly five years.
Although Wozniacki deserved to be No. 1 in 2010 based on her record and was evenly-matched with Kvitova last year, she no longer merits the status, Navratilova said.
“Caroline doesn’t need to explain why she was No. 1, it’s the WTA that needs to explain that,” Navratilova said.
The WTA simplified its rankings system in 2006 to make it easier for fans and media to understand them, spokeswoman Amy Binder said. One of the changes involved the abolition of so-called quality points, which took into account the ranking of beaten opponents.
“I would just like for it to be weighted,” Navratilova said. “I don’t think that’s a true reflection of how a player is playing right now.”