Who is Really Number One? Who is the "Best Player"?
Dinara Safina or Serena Williams? Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal? To answer that question, you really need to define what is meant by “Number One” and “Best.” The Number One ranked tennis player has changed hands many times on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour in the past year with Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic, Jelena Jankovic, Serena Williams and Dinara Safina holding the top rank. On the men’s side, Rafael Nadal took over the Number One
The recent debate on the women’s side has centered on why and how Serena Williams, holder of the 2008 U.S. Open, 2009 Australian Open and 2009 Wimbledon titles, could still be ranked second. The explanation about the intricacies of the current WTA ranking system and how much it rewards the quantity versus quality of results, as well as the points awarded for Grand Slams versus regular tournaments is missing the main point. When people talk about Number One, they are really usually commenting on who is the “Best” player. This then begs the question of how does one determine who is the “Best” female tennis player? Who is the “Best” male tennis pro? If a player only plays three Grand Slams in a year and wins all of them is he/she the "Best"? What if he/she never faced most of the other top ten players en route to the titles while the Number Two ranked player won eight titles, reached a couple Slam semis and a final and had a winning record against everyone else in the top ten? Should the focus be on head to head records rather than titles, even Grand Slams, or how much should they be factored into the equation? If you dig down deep, most people say “Number One” when they mean “Best” and that is usually defined by Grand Slam titles and head to head records. All clear now right?!