Clijsters passed Caroline Wozniacki in this week's ranking courtesy her run to the finals at the Paris Open. She's now 180 points ahead of Wozniacki in the WTA rankings, which were released Monday.
But because the Belgian will be idle for the next WTA tournament, Wozniacki could leapfrog her in next week's rankings with a strong run in Dubai If the 20-year-old Dane can reach the semifinals of the tourney, she'll regain the No. 1 ranking. (It won't be easy; eight of the top 10 women in the world will be in Dubai.)
Though I was staunch defender of Wozniacki's ascendancy to the top spot, it'll be harder to agree with the rankings now that we've had a taste of a superior player dethroning Wozniacki.
Wozniacki's top ranking only made sense when there wasn't a better candidate. There was much consternation when the Dane reached No. 1 but none of those complainers could provide a viable alternative as to who should be there instead of her. Clijsters hadn't played much and flamed out at a few majors in 2010, Serena Williams was hurt and nobody else won as much as Wozniacki in the lesser tournaments. She was the best of the bunch. Wozniacki may not have won Slams, but she earned her positioning.
Now that Clijsters has won the last two Grand Slams and has begun 2011 with a 16-2 record, it's impossible to justify Wozniacki staying ahead of her. Clijsters isn't only the best player in the world, she has the best resume over the past 365 days. She's the best player in tennis. We don't need rankings to tell us that, but it provides more legitimacy to the system when they do.