Tag Archives: Caroline Wozniacki

Kim Clijsters Tears Ankle Ligament While Dancing. It’s Caroline Wozniacki’s Tour now. Is She Ready?

Caroline Wozniacki after winning Sunday

We’ve probably seen the end of Kim Clijsters, who tore ligaments and severely sprained her right ankle over the weekend while dancing at a wedding. She had been looking for an out again anyway, just hanging around for next year’s Olympics.

We’ve seen the end of Justine Henin, who retired again in January, blaming an injury.

And I wonder if we’ve gotten all we’ll get from Serena Williams, too. She has been out for almost a year, first with a mysterious foot injury and – in my opinion – lack of interest. Now, she deals with a blood clot in her lungs.

Clijsters was the news of the day, overshadowing another tournament win by Caroline Wozniacki, who continues as No. 1 even though no one thinks she’s the best. She beat Elena Vesnina 6-2, 6-3 to win the Family Circle Cup.

But what happened when Clijsters got hurt was this: The deck instantly reshuffled on the women’s tour. The game has lost all willing and able champions.

Now, women’s tennis belongs to Wozniacki. Is she ready?

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In 48 Hours, Everything Changed. Remember Tennis’ Old Days, like Wednesday?

From my column on AOL Fanhouse

MELBOURNE, Australia — The best transitions in sports happen naturally, and by process. A star player gets old, and the next guy slowly overtakes him and becomes the top dog. It happens with teams, too.

And fans have a chance to adjust, get used to the new order.

Tennis is in a transition stage, too. But on Wednesday, it wasn’t. Things are happening a little too fast for tennis’ own good.

“From a personal point of view,” Andy Murray said, “I would rather be in the final than watching Roger and Rafa at home, playing again.”

Murray had just beaten David Ferrer 4-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-1, 7-6 (7-2) Friday to advance to the final of the Australian Open. He’ll play Novak Djokovic on Sunday for the year’s first major.

Roger and Rafa — Federer and Nadal — is your regularly scheduled program for major finals. At least one of them, anyway. And this is part of the change.

Just 48 hours ago, the Federer-Nadal rivalry was as solid as ever. Federer had re-established himself over the past few months on that top tier. Nadal was going for the Rafa Slam, winning all four majors in a row.

On the women’s side, while we wait for Serena Williams to recover, Kim Clijsters was dominating the tour. Justine Henin, one of the all-time greats, was struggling some in her comeback with a sore elbow.

Blink. Continue reading

Li, Wozniacki: Which One Sells Best for Tennis?

From my column on AOL Fanhouse

Li Na is not going to sell. Let’s just cut right to it. If that’s sexist, xenophobic, whatever. She has all the personality and color and warmth in the world, but she speaks broken English and doesn’t have drop dead good looks. In the U.S., that stuff is mandatory. She is not going to sell women’s tennis under any circumstances.
Caroline Wozniacki might. She is clearly trying to be the next Maria Sharapova. She is No. 1, and pushes her good looks and blond hair and short skirts. She’s just 20 years old, and has a chance to lead women’s tennis for years, but she still has to prove she belongs at the top.

That’s what Thursday’s semifinal at the Australian Open was about. Different marketing hopes from different hemispheres. Li won, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 to become the first person from China to advance to a major final. She’ll play Kim Clijsters on Saturday.

And after the match, Li climbed right into every tennis fan’s heart with her smile and wit. She said she couldn’t sleep the night before the because her husband snored so loud.

“I think today,” she said, “he can stay in the bathroom.”

But did I get that right? Did tennis need Wozniacki? It seems that way to me, but there is another side of the world to consider. Continue reading

Wozniacki: Tennis’ No. 1 Non-Loser

From my column on AOL Fanhouse

MELBOURNE, Australia — Caroline Wozniacki, No. 1 tennis player in the world, had just completed another non-loss to Francesca Schiavone – the only way to describe Wozniacki’s victories – when she was immediately put on the defensive about it.

Schiavone had hit 41 winners, she was told, and you had only 14. Schiavone also made almost all of the unforced errors, meaning she took all the chances.

Can you be the No. 1 player when the other player is taking all the initiative?

“I just want to know who won the match,” Wozniacki snipped. “I think I did that … If I still win the match, that’s the most important thing in the end.”

Wozniacki did get the victory, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, to advance to the semis of the Australian Open. But there is reason she has to defend herself. It’s because of this: she isn’t the best player, and hasn’t even shown she’s among the top five. Serena Williams is the best, but she isn’t here, still nursing a foot injury that happened somehow, someway. She’s not saying.

The year’s first major, without Serena, throws all of women’s tennis up for the taking. It’s the great opportunity. The question is this:

Is anyone willing to take it? Continue reading