The Last Word: Why this great Dane deserves to be top dog

It's time to stop the sniping, Wozniacki's a worthy No 1 because of her all-year-round excellence

The last time that Caroline Wozniacki grew bored of answering the same old questions from tennis reporters, she invented a story during last month's Australian Open about being attacked by a kangaroo. Given that she has spent the past fortnight playing in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, it is surprising that no tales have emerged of the 20-year-old Dane getting lost in the desert or being bitten by a camel.

When she was replaced as world No 1 by Kim Clijsters a fortnight ago, Wozniacki said the only consolation was that she would enjoy a respite from being asked whether she deserved to top the rankings. Having returned to the summit, courtesy of her victory in Dubai last weekend, she can expect more of the same line of questioning in the weeks ahead.

The case against Wozniacki is that for all her consistency – she has won seven titles in the past 10 months – she has yet to win one of the four Grand Slam events.

She has reached just one final, losing to Clijsters at the 2009 US Open, and two semi-finals, going down to Vera Zvonareva in New York five months ago and to Li Na in Melbourne last month. She is the third woman in the past three years – following Jelena Jankovic and Dinara Safina – to reach No 1 without breakingher Grand Slam duck.

Does Wozniacki deserve to be world No 1? The answer depends, of course, on how you define that status. If you are talking about who you would back to take a single winner-takes-all tournament, maybe you would side instead with a Clijsters or a fully fit Serena Williams. If you are talking about consistent excellence through the year, there is no question that Wozniacki is a worthy No 1.

The rankings are, after all, heavily weighted towards the Grand Slam events. A victory in a Grand Slam tournament is worth 2,000 points, while a win at any of the mandatory "Premier" events at the next level are worth half that amount. Although you do not have to win as many matches to win a Premier title – Wozniacki won five en route to victory in Dubai – the fields are usually almost as strong. Eight of the world's top 10 players were in Dubai, for instance.

Similar ranking systems are used in other sports but tennis, oddly, is the one that gets singled out for the most criticism. When Lee Westwood (pictured below), who has never won a golfing major, became world No 1 in his sport last year, where were the cutting comments?

A more telling question in women's tennis might have been whether Serena Williams deserved to be world No 1, as she was for a total of 123 weeks. The American, who has not played since last year's Wimbledon because of a foot injury, has won 13 Grand Slam titles, but there have been times when she has all but vanished off the radar for the rest of the year.

Since the start of 2007, Williams has won six Grand Slam tournaments, but only five other titles on the Women's Tennis Association tour. She has clearly been the best player of her generation – four years ago, she won the Australian Open when ranked No 81 in the world, having played only five tournaments in the preceding 16 months – but does that equate with being world No 1?

It could be argued, of course, that one of the reasons Williams has outlasted so many of her rivals is that she has saved her greatest efforts for the biggest tournaments. Tennis, however, is a year-round sport. The Women's Tennis Association would never publicly voice such an opinion, but it is a safe bet that the governing body are happier to have aNo 1 who performs well throughout the year rather than someone who turns it on only once in a while.

Wozniacki, a fine ambassador for her sport, deserves to be No 1 and the hope in this quarter is that she cements that status with a Grand Slam triumph this summer. If she doesn't, expect to hear about how she came across a Womble while walking on Wimbledon Common.

Future cricket World Cups on a sticky wicket

The International Cricket Council plan to reduce future World Cups from 14 teams to 10. The competition has become a bloated monster, with 49 matches spread over six weeks, but this is not the answer.

Seeing Andrew Strauss's team struggle against Holland may have been painful for England fans, but such matches add to the competition's flavour, as did Ireland's victory over Pakistan four years ago and Kenya's over West Indies in 1996.

The problem is not the number of teams but the format and the schedule. The first phase goes on too long and could be reduced by playing more games on the same day or by having smaller groups.

After all, nobody would suggest that a way of spicing up the FA Cup would be to deny the likes of Crawley and Leyton Orient the right to take on Manchester United or Arsenal.

Football is not a matter of life and death

Football loves the language of war. Long-ball teams subject opponents to aerial bombardments, hard men do not take any prisoners and successful sides have to wage campaigns on several fronts.

It is tempting to suggest, nevertheless, that modern-day footballers have no idea about military matters. However, Lee Crooks disagrees. The former Manchester City midfielder should know, having joined the RAF as a gunner in 2009. He will soon be serving in Afghanistan.

Comparing his two careers, Crooks said: "Both roles are about working as a team, being there for your team-mates and moving forward as a team. You train all week to prepare for the Saturday game and put everything that you've trained for into that game, and it's exactly the same as this."

If you hear in future of a former City midfielder bombing forward into the penalty area, it could be time to take cover.

Agree or disagree? Email p.newman@independent.co.uk, or leave your comment below

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Physiotherapist / Sports Therapist

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Physiotherapist / Sports Ther...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Advisor

£8 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives / Advisors are required...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operative

£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Ashdown Group: Senior .Net Developer - Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A long-established, technology rich ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable