Written by Peter Gehr Senior Tennis Editor
For the world-class women tennis players, the times they are a-changing. Both Serena and Venus Williams have gone through time-out due to injuries and this has resulted in a drop in their rankings, to say the least.
After returning from an injury that put her away from tennis for a long period, 2007 saw Serena drop back to a rank of 140 on the ATP ranking. Around that same time, Venus was 48th on the world scene, but bounced back amongst the top ten women tennis players. However, she is now well outside the best 100 tennis players due to her battle with the disease known as Sjogren’s syndrome.
In 2007, Kim Clijsters had made the announcement of her plan to retire from tennis for the first time, but has since returned to the court, albeit injury hounded, which is hindering her performance and ability to play at her usual world class level.
The following article shows an interesting perspective from 5 years ago.
Here’s the Top 10 Women Tennis Players for May 2007:
“Justine Henin, Maria Sharapova, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Amélie Mauresmo, Jelena Jankovic, Martina Hingis, Nicole Vaidisova, Ana Ivanovic, Dinara Safina and Anna Chakvetadze.
So much has changed in such a relatively short time. Four (Henin, Mauresmo, Hingis and Vaidisova) have retired. Two (Safina and Chakvetadze) seem inexorably headed in that direction.
Other than Sharapova, the rest have since exited the top 10 and have shown few signs of returning.
Of the six still active today, four eventually took advantage of the vacuum at the top of the game and made it to No. 1. Of those No. 1s, only Ivanovic and Sharapova won a Grand Slam title – but not since 2008.
If possible, this week’s rankings are even more bent out of shape.
The top three – Caroline Wozniacki, Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka – have not won a major this season. Two of them have never won one. Between the three, they reached only one major final in 2011 (Sharapova at Wimbledon).
Three others – Petra Kvitova, Samantha Stosur and Li Na – did win Slams this year, but they never even got a sniff at the top spot.
There’s a fairly good chance that 4½ years from now, current toptenners Li, Stosur, Vera Zvonareva and Marion Bartoli might not even be around. All will be on the dark side of 30 by then; Sharapova will be 29.
So the field is wide open for Kvitova, 21, and Azarenka, 22.
We’ll look back again then and see if they, unlike those in 2007, took the opportunity of a lifetime and ran with it.”
With more women tennis players rising in the ranks, the pressure continues for the current world favorites to deliver their best shots more often than not. The rankings are fickle and fame can pass quickly as time and techniques are perfected and young blood flows onto the court to compete for the coveted positions in the halls of tennis fame.