Serena Williams has been crowned WTA player of the year for 2012, scooping up the award in a massive year for the fierce American. The world number three claimed the gong ahead of world number one Victoria Azarenka and second-ranked Maria Sharapova.
The former world number one showed the very strength that has characterised, and ultimately resulted in, a lengthy career. She joins the ranks of tennis legends Steffi Graf and Martina Navritilova in being the only players to have nabbed the award more than twice.
For those who can’t get their head around why she isn’t the official number one, since she is in every other sense of the word, it comes down to a boring points system, as opposed to wins. In order to increase your yearly ranking you’ve got to have points made up from Grand Slams, WTA Championship and the Premier Mandatory tournaments. Williams only got 4285 points out of a possible 8000 for her Grand Slam efforts and missed two of the four Premier Mandatory tournaments. It makes sense on paper, but very little elsewhere.
…I’ve been number one. It’s cool…
Williams bounced back from her Aussie loss with a remarkable 48/50 win record that kicked off with title wins in Charleston and Madrid in April and May and despite failing to get the Australian Open crown, coupled with a first round kick out in the French, her Grand Slam glory was realised as she swept her way through Wimbledon, taking the grass court tournament on her way to her home country, where she picked up her second Grand Slam – the US Open, and in doing so, bet the official world number one, Azarenka. Williams took home a gold medal from the London Olympic Games, beating Russian native Sharapova and to cap of her glittery haul, defeated the number two again in the final event on the women’s calendar, the WTA Championships in Istanbul
With a haul as impressive as Williams, disregarding the two surgeries on her foot and other health problems, I can’t help but be dismissive of the ranking system and agree with her in every sense when she said “I don’t care about the ranking. I’ve been number one. It’s cool. But my thing is just to be the best player. If that means I’m winning and I’m not number one, that’s fine.” With 15 Grand Slams in her pocket, I’ll take her word for it.