After going out in the first round of two successive slams, has the Danish number one Caroline Wozniacki lost her edge?
Eight months ago Caroline Wozniacki was the world number one having had her best season in 2011, winning six titles and reaching two grand slam semi finals but here we stand just midway through the US Open and Wozniacki is already out. The Danes slam performances over the last eight months have been somewhat concerning, especially Wimbledon and the US Open losing in the first round at both and playing some extremely lacklustre tennis, During her match at the US Open Wozniacki made 22 unforced errors and hit 4 winners to her opponents 19!
The most concerning factor that has become more and more apparent over the course of the year is that her losses to players like Ana Ivanovic and Julia Georges don’t look too demeaning on paper but watching the matches Wozniacki was taken apart, which is exactly the opposite of her plan to counterpunch and force an error or create an opening for the easy winner and it seems as if she is becoming less and less capable at defending and that isn’t good news as she can’t hit big at all! While injury has been a factor in recent times there was no excuse for Caroline’s Wimbledon loss which was quite embarrassing to say the least, Paszek played a very good match but was actually the exact type of player that the Dane favours to play as she can run around the court and make her opponent play low percentage tennis however Wozniacki’s defensive abilities were shown to be a lot lower than what we have come to expect from her.
Due to failing to defend her semi final points at the final slam of the year the Dane is guaranteed to drop outside of the top ten for the first time since 2009, which I believe is affecting her more than she is letting on as she has lost her number one ranking before in 2010 and 2011 but was able to regain it fairly quickly, but this time she is continuously slipping further and further down the rankings but maintaining shes playing better and better. A very controversal subject is of course Wozniacki’s boyfriend, golfer Rory McIlroy who does seem to have a keen interest in tennis however one only has to look at the timeline to figure out that the Danes results started to decline as she started to date the Golfer, im sure the time spent sitting in the freezing cold looking glum while Rory plays golf could be time better spent training?
The former world number one has been continuously criticised for lack of focus since beginning her relationship with McIlroy and he could be a big contributing factor to the Danes shortcomings, though many leading players have managed the life style you do have to get the balance right! So whats next for Caroline? Well the Asian swing is approaching but with the sports leading females playing some sensational tennis it is looking increasingly unlikely Wozniacki will appear in the year ending WTA championships. I firmly believe Caroline needs to go away and rethink her game plan when tackling the likes of Maria Sharapova or Angelique Kerber, Kerber is a great defensive player BUT also has weapons to use against other players, so unless the Dane adds a killer weapon to her arsenal, her life is going to become more and more difficult in the increasingly aggressive women’s game.