Caroline Wozniacki Heading Into 2012 With Lots Of People Offering Grand Slam Critiques

Caroline Wozniacki at the 2011 Dubai World Championship watching boyfriend Rory McIroy

For the second straight year, Caroline Wozniacki finished as the #1 ranked player in singles on the WTA. For the second straight year, that was not good enough to be named WTA Player of the Year (she was ITF Player of the Year in 2010). The reason is simple, she lacked either a Major (Grand Slam) or the WTA Tour Championship. In 2010, Kim Clijsters won the US Open and the Tour Championship on her way to being named WTA Player of the Year for the second time (first time was for 2005). In 2011, Petra Kvitova won Wimbledon and the Tour Championship to capture her first WTA Player of the Year.

She claims she doesn’t care about whether she’s won a Major or not, that being #1 is a higher goal. If that’s true, then she should keep doing what she’s doing, playing tons of events and building up points. But if deep down she cares at all about her legacy as a player…and that is written in Grand Slam victories…then she needs to think about how she crafts her schedule. Don’t take it from me, it seems lots of people are talking about Caroline these days.

“Caroline has shown how stable she can be, so the next step is to play fewer tournaments, maybe one or two, not much. Does she need to play Madrid, Rome and Brussels in row right up to Roland Garros? And is it really necessary to play a hard-court tournament (Copenhagen) before Wimbledon? The key is to stay focused before and during a Grand Slam.” – Sven Groeneveld, former coach of Ana Ivanovic and assistant coach to Wozniacki

“If she wants to win a Grand Slam, she should do anything other than what opponents expect of her. They have figured her out. It is not good enough to win a Grand Slam. She has a good foundation to play an elaborate game. She moves extremely well, [but] she can only win a Grand Slam if she disregards the thought that says that she can only get the ball back and be a steady player.” – Nick Bollettieri, legendary tennis coach (too many greats to name all, but Monica Seles, Andre Agassi, Maria Sharapova and Jim Courier are among his Major winning former pupils)

“Wozniacki may be moving better than the others, and she tries to go inside the court, but not often enough. The fact that she does not win grand slams is not only her problem, but also that of her coach.” – Martina Hingis, 15-time Major winner (5 singles, 9 doubles, 1 mixed doubles)

Nobody is saying Caroline cannot win a Major. She has the talent to win. But she has not even reached a Major final since the 2009 US Open. Being #1 and not reaching even a final for two straight seasons has prompted lots of people to come forth and offer their opinion on what is keeping her from winning one. I thought 2011 was her best chance, particularly early in the year. In 2012, Serena will be back from the beginning of the year. Kim Clijsters just beat Caroline at an exhibition a few weeks ago and Petra Kvitova has emerged as a threat to be the next #1. Caroline has yet to beat either Kim or Serena. If those two are healthy in 2012, Caroline will need to lift her game to win a Major (unless Kim and Serena get upset during the tournament).

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