In appreciation of Caroline Wozniacki

Published by Bede Briscomb

Caroline Wozniacki has had plenty to smile about during her career; Getty Images

Ladies and gentleman, please raise your glasses. It’s time to celebrate Denmark’s very own Caroline Wozniacki.

Miss Consistency is set to add another outstanding year of tennis to her increasingly hall of fame worthy career. But, for the usual, stupid reasons, she is often under-appreciated.

First of all, allow me to present this:

Player ’07-’17 Tournaments Matches Played
Caroline Wozniacki 242 764
Agnieszka Radwanska 213 714
Svetlana Kuznetsova 196 563
Angelique Kerber 201 555
Victoria Azarenka 157 532
Serena Williams 118 526
Maria Sharapova 168 479
Venus Williams 136 415

Caroline Wozniacki is durable, and durability matters – if 2017 has taught us anything, it’s that. When you buy a ticket to the tennis, you can count on Wozniacki to be there. She plays in every tournament that her rigorous schedule demands, and never withdraws from a match. In fact, she has only retired from a match fourteen times in the last ten years. That’s just two percent of her total matches played and, given how many matches she plays, an incredible number.

The Dane wins a lot, too. She is 56-20 in 2017, which marks her sixth 50+ win season (seven if you count her 49-win 2014). Of the players in the table above, Serena is the only one who can boast as many such seasons. No one has more than six (Venus and Sharapova have four; Radwanska has five).

Wozniacki’s career win percentage is 71%. Of the current top ten ranked women, only Venus Williams has a better record (77%).

You might counter: Well, that’s because the current crop of women are all young, and so the stat is misleading. Naturally, players are going to be inconsistent as they start out their career…

To that, I say: Well, no, Wozniacki wasn’t. At age 20 the Dane went 62-17 with six titles and finished the year as world No.1. Again, only Venus had better stats, as she went 41-4 with six titles and finished as world No.3.

Wozniacki has 26 and 49 finals career titles and finals, which is fourth among active players behind the Williams’ sisters and Maria Sharapova. She also has the fourth highest win percentage against top ten ranked players behind, you guessed it, the Williams’ + Sharapova trio. With roughly three good years left, it’s not inconceivable that Wozniacki captures five more WTA titles, which would propel her into the top twenty of all time.

So why don’t people rate Caroline Wozniacki? Because of this…

…And this:

…And this:

I call it the Eugenie Bouchard Syndrome. Wozniacki has had a lot of success modelling.  So too, Bouchard lights up for the cameras. The only difference between the two is the Dane’s results on court.

The other reason Wozniacki is often scoffed at is that she performs poorly in ‘big’ tournaments. This one has more merit. Wozniacki has never won a Grand Slam, WTA Finals trophy or WTA Elite trophy. Here’s a stat: it took the world No.6 almost ten months and 18 more tournaments to earn more prize money than Serena Williams did in two weeks in 2017.

The fact that Wozniacki has never won a major, as damning as it is, should not be confused with the ‘choker’ label many people assign to her. She has made two Grand Slam finals, four semifinals and three quarterfinals, won 100 of a possible 142 matches and only missed two majors in the last ten years.

What’s also worth considering is how much harder it is to be ranked world No.1 than get hot at the right time and win a Grand Slam (like, say, Sloane Stephens).

  • Number of women that have won a Grand Slam: 46
  • Number of women that have been ranked No.1: 26
  • Number of women that have been ranked No.1 for more than 52+ weeks: 9
  • Number of women that have been ranked No.1 for 45+ consecutive weeks: 8

Caroline Wozniacki ticks the last three boxes. She is also the only woman under 30 years-of-age (other than Agnieszka Radwanska) in the top ten for matches won among active players.

This week Wozniacki will make her fifth career WTA Finals appearance and has a very good chance to win the title; she is one of only three qualifiers who has won 50+ matches this season and since the halfway mark of the year is 25-9.

So let’s raise our glasses once more, in celebration of the always-underrated, uber-consistent Caroline Wozniacki.

Here’s to another boatload of Ws in 2018.

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