Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

No longer No. 1, Wozniacki can start taking risks


Finally, the most worn-out debate in women’s tennis can stop after Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki’s defeat in the Australian Open quarter-finals by Kim Clijsters means she will no longer be No.1 in the rankings.

Ever since she first topped the rankings in October 2010, Wozniacki’s lack of a grand slam title has prompted questions about her suitability for the lofty position. Even this week former great Martina Navratilova said Wozniacki’s status was more to do with the limitations of the ranking system which rewards her grinding consistency rather than results at grand slams.

It is hardly Wozniacki’s fault that she found herself as No.1 for virtually all of the past year, after all she does not make the rules, but falling off her perch might just be a blessing in disguise for the Dane as the focus shifts elsewhere.

Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, Maria Sharapova or Victoria Azarenka, still seeking a first major, could all begin next week as the new No.1 and while Wozniacki confidently predicts that she will regain it soon, she can now concentrate on filling in the glaring gap in her CV without the weekly round of questions over her status.

Why all the fuss about being world number one?


GOLF-RANKINGS/WESTWOODTo much fanfare, Lee Westwood has ended the 281-week reign of Tiger Woods as golf’s world number one yet the fact the Briton has not won a major raises a couple of questions — Do rankings reward consistency rather than great achievement? And how much do they really matter?

According to former world number one and six-times major winner Nick Faldo, the answer is not as much as the big tournaments.

Is Wozniacki a worthy number one?


CHINA/TENNISWorthy number one or just a sad reflection of the way women’s tennis has evolved into a game of low-risk baseline slugging?

That is the question being asked after Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki was confirmed as the new world number one.

From the baseline: Tricky shot


A combination photo shows Roger Federer of Switzerland returning a winning shot between his legs while playing against Brian Dabul of Argentina during their opening night match at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, August 30, 2010. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Trick shots are nothing new for five-time U.S. Open champ Roger Federer.

With five former champs seeing action on day one, it was a spectacular between the legs shot during the second set of his victory over Argentine baseliner Brian Dabul that will dominate talk around the water cooler this morning.

“I’ve only hit a few in my life and two on center court in night session play here in New York,” Federer told his audience. “It’s amazing to share this moment with you guys. Thanks for the ovation and I love it.”