Welcome to Tennis Elbow, the column that looks back on the week that was in the world of tennis. This week, Charles Blouin-Gascon reviews the 2017 BNP Paribas WTA Finals.
Caroline Wozniacki shocked a whole bunch of people, including this very columnist, by capturing the 2017 BNP Paribas WTA Finals just before Halloween last month.
Granted, maybe we should have been writing this one just after the Dane’s actual win but then came the 2017 Rolex Paris Masters, and when you have 52 columns to write every year you tend to follow the schedule that the sport has so gladly come up with, and you wait until a week later for commenting on the WTA Finals.
No better way to end the season than to win the Year End Championship!Thanks to my team and everyone who supported me, I’ll see you in 2018! pic.twitter.com/o3weWumrBF
— Caroline Wozniacki (@CaroWozniacki) October 29, 2017
So yeah, here we are a week later and Wozniacki is still just as much of a winner today—finally, some might add, since the now-27-year-old has spent more or less her entire career looking for a title worthy of the lofty heights she has reached.
Of course, that’s not entirely true and it’s a little unfair to Wozniacki. You’ll recall that she became the first player from a Scandinavian country to become the top player in the WTA, and only the 20th ever to do so, back in 2010.
Lift that #WTAFinals trophy! ? pic.twitter.com/nsU6nODiYZ
— WTA (@WTA) October 29, 2017
She remained at No. 1 for 67 entire weeks and, if you’re not a Wozniacki fan, that was part of the problem; some didn’t see her ranking as validation in itself, they wanted to see results that were worthy of such a ranking. You know, it’s always been “She doesn’t deserve it because she hasn’t won anything” instead of “that she hasn’t won anything really doesn’t matter because she’s No. 1.”
And for the most part, or so some thought, Wozniacki spent her time at No. 1 disappointing absolutely everyone. She only reached two Grand Slam finals, never even won one, and aren’t No. 1 players supposed to win Grand Slams???
Meh. Actually, a whole bunch of different players have won Grand Slam tournaments throughout the sport’s history, and only 25 have hold the top ranking. So really, you tell us what’s prestigious? Not only that, but over the years Wozniacki has won over 71 per cent of her matches, captured 27 titles and over $26 million in prize money. Where we stand, that’s as good a career as one can hope for.
Part of it too is that Wozniacki has always relied on a more defensive style of play to excel, counting on her opponents making mistakes all the while minimizing the number of her own. That’s more simple than it is true, but the idea has persisted: playing Wozniacki is akin to playing against a wall, they say. But that’s not a bad thing; it’s worked for her, and who cares if she hasn’t won any major title?
That’s probably just a long-winded roundabout way saying that, you know, maybe we can finally move on to something else now and appreciate Wozniacki for who she is? Namely, that she will live on as one of the best players of her generation, and that’s really all we can ask for.
“It got really tight at the end. I was just hoping for the best” – #WTAFinals? champion @CaroWozniacki pic.twitter.com/kzpYKylede
— WTA (@WTA) October 29, 2017
This WTA Finals title, by far the biggest of Wozniacki’s career, caps what’s been a banner season for the player. Wozniacki, as late as the week of the 2016 US Open, was ranked at No. 74 in the world, and entered this year at No. 19.
And while Garbine Muguruza was the WTA’s choice for player of the year, maybe the powers that be should have to amend their choice today? Wozniacki leads the tour with 60 wins in 2017, with 41 wins on hard courts and eight finals competed. Perhaps Muguruza’s Wimbledon title is what tipped the scales in her favor? If so, it wouldn’t be the first time not winning a major title costs Wozniacki.
Let’s hope it’s the last time.
— Caroline Wozniacki (@CaroWozniacki) October 30, 2017
Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG