x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Women's tennis in need of a shining star

Most people would struggle to name the top-ranked women in the tennis rankings. That is the quandary of the game at the moment.

Who are the top five women's tennis players in the world? Most would struggle to name even the top three without checking the WTA website or any other source.

That is the quandary of the game at the moment.

Not so long ago, even the casual fans could name the top-ranked women's players and the winners of recent grand slams.

This year, there have been three different grand slam winners - Kim Clijsters (Australian Open), Li Na (French Open) and Petra Kvitova (Wimbledon) - and 27 different singles champions on the WTA Tour, with only seven of them winning multiple titles.

Is that just a case of depth in the women's game or simply the lack of a dominant player, someone in the class of a Navratilovas, Grafs or Everts?

The Williams sisters are injured and Clijsters is a virtual passenger. So Caroline Wozniacki continues to rule at the top of the rankings. She has won a tour-leading five titles this year, but suffers from stage fright when it come to the grand slams. In 18 appearances, her best are the 2009 US Open final and two semi-finals.

True, seven of the top nine women on Forbes's list of top-earning female athletes are tennis players, but if you nostalgically wish for a bygone era, then something is wrong with the present.

arizvi@thenational.ae