As of the past year or so, there has been one standard in women's tennis. Caroline Wozniacki has held the Number 1 at every Grand Slam, yet she has failed to hold up the Championship trophy at the end of two weeks. During Wozniacki's reign as the No. 1 player in the world, there have been a multitude of different Grand Slam winners. The year 2012 has just started, and once again, Caroline Wozniacki is the No. 1 player in the world. However, she might not be for too much longer, as Petra Kvitova is quickly closing the gap. Coming off a great year in which she won both Wimbledon and the year-end Championships, Kvitova has her eyes set on the Australian Open title and the No. 1 ranking. The young Czech had a chance to make one of these two things a reality this past week, as she faced Li Na in the semifinals of the Sydney International with a chance to inch closer to the World's top ranking. Li Na, however, would have none of it, and staged a comeback to advance to the final against Victoria Azarenka.
Turning back to Kvitova, she has impressed so many people with her serve, groundstrokes, and mental toughness. After Wimbledon, people started labeling her as a one-time thing, but as time has gone on, she has proven to be a mainstay atop the women's game. A first-round exit at the US Open confirmed the suspicions of her critics, and a solid showing in Melbourne on the hard courts will go a long way in telling whether she deserves the No. 1 ranking. As mentioned before, there is no doubt she has the game. In the 2011 Wimbledon Final against Maria Sharapova, Kvitova did not back down and seemed to embrace one of the biggest stages in the sport. Being a lefty, Petra has an advanatge over a lot of the other top players, and her pace from the baseline is almost unmatched in the women's game. A bit more consistency would go a long way for Kvitova and would most likely give her the No. 1 ranking.
While the prestige of being the No. 1-ranked player in the world is attractive to most players, there seems to be a good amount of players who reach the plateau and then struggle for long periods of time. This often results from the tremendous pressure that comes with this position. It is fair to say that every player near the top of the rankings faces pressure, but the pressure on the world No. 1 is unlike that on any other person in the sport. This is the problem Petra Kvitova will have if and when she earns this ranking. While on-court performance determines most things in the sport of tennis, a player's personality also goes a long way, especially in the eyes of fans. Kvitova has a charming personality and is great in interviews and in front of the camera. This aspect of a player is often overlooked, but it simply cannot be forgotten. Another thing working in Kvitova's favor is her youth. She is in her early 20s, and seems to have several good years ahead of her.
As mentioned before, the 2012 Australian Open will be a huge oportunity for Kvitova, and expect her to play some great tennis throughout the tournament. If things fall into place for the young Czech, there will be a new woman atop the rankings come February, 2012.