x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Caroline Wozniacki must prove she's worthy of status

Carolina Wozniacki is the luckiest women's player in the world. Whether she really is the best is increasingly open to debate.

Give her this: Carolina Wozniacki is the luckiest women's player in the world. Whether she really is the best is increasingly open to debate.

Her rise to the top has coincided with the injury woes afflicting Serena and Venus Williams as well as Maria Sharapova and Kim Clijsters, and the precipitous retirement of Justine Henin. "Last woman standing" better describes Wozniacki than "world No 1".

She has been defeated in three of her past four tournaments by players of middling skill, Julia Goerges and Andrea Petkovic, results that did little to combat the notion that she is merely the best of a lesser breed. A No 1 worthy of the title does not lose, repeatedly, to players outside the top 10.

With the French Open beginning in two weeks, it is time for Wozniacki to demonstrate she is not a fluke of timing and a rankings system that rewards players who play every week and reach the semi-finals.

She remains an increasingly prominent member of the "No 1s who have never won a major" club, which includes Dinara Safina, Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic, each of whom is seen now, as then, as place holders until a truly elite player returned.

As word comes that Clijsters may not be ready to play at Roland Garros, Wozniacki has no excuse not to pocket her first grand slam before the French Open ends.

If she doesn't, her backers will find it increasingly difficult to describe her as anything other than a competent player who filled a vacuum in the women's game.