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DUbai: Former world number one Caroline Wozniacki hit back at Martina Navratilova yesterday for claiming that the Dane had never deserved to be top of the world rankings.
Wozniacki also suggested she has lost respect for Navratilova, regarded by many as the greatest woman player ever, implying that her TV commentating sought to stir things up and that it would be better to “think a little bit.”
“I would never say Martina was number one when there was no-one playing,” Wozniacki said, “or that she was the best when no-one was playing. That would be disrespectful.”
Her comment was an echo of Navratilova’s remarks at an Australian Open press conference, in which the 55-year-old legend said: “Clearly nobody feels Wozniacki is a true number one.”
Navratilova, whose 18 Grand Slam singles titles were achieved when the women’s game had less depth, also criticized the modern ranking system which placed Wozniacki at the top for 68 weeks.
This places too much emphasis on the quantity of wins rather than their quality, Navratilova alleged, suggesting fellow Czech Petra Kvitova, Wimbledon champion and winner of five other titles last year, should have become number one instead.
When Wozniacki was asked if she had lost respect as a result of some of the remarks made about her on television, she reacted immediately.
“I think I have to be honest, lost a little bit of respect. Because I respect what they have achieved,” she said, referring to players of a previous era who are now commentators.
“And I really respect what someone else (has done), I know how hard it is to reach the top level of a sport like tennis.
“I think I would never say Martina was number one when there was no-one playing, or she was the best when no-one was playing. I mean that would be disrespectful.
“She was unbelievable. She won so many Grand Slams, her touch was unbelievable. Martina Hingis was unbelievable as well - for me my favourite player.
“But I think they should respect players that are playing now as well. Because they know how hard it is. You don’t just wake up and say okay I want to win this tournament, and it just happens like this. At that point, you are like, they should just think a little bit.”
Wozniacki reacted almost as strongly when asked about Navratilova’s comment that it was Kvitova and Victoria Azarenka who now formed the game’s best rivalry.
“They always have to make comments, and that’s what they get paid for - to be comments, because they are not playing any more. And they need to stir everything up,” Wozniacki said.
“When I was number one they needed to make a story so in the beginning when I was coming up they were saying I was the next big thing.
“Then when I had been there for a while and it got boring.........then they said she hasn’t won a Grand Slam - because and because and because.
“Soon it will be if Victoria (Azarenka) loses a match, ‘how could she lose a match?’”
Wozniacki lost her world number one ranking to Azarenka three weeks ago, and is seeded three in defence of the Dubai Open title this week, behind the Belarussian and the Czech. afp