Wertheim: Kimīs third-best at best.
This is what Wertheim had to say about Kimīs no.1 rank:
If Kim Clijsters regains her No.1 ranking by the end of the year, do you think she'd deserve the WTA Player of the Year award? --Rajendra Parihar, New Delhi, India
Rankings be damned, even if Clijsters defends her title in L.A. at the Bank of America Tour Championships in November (and thus, almost assuredly, finishes as No. 1) she's still the third-place finisher in Player-of-the-Year honors behind Henin-Hardenne and Serena, in that order. Yes, Williams Nation, you read right. I agree that, in a vacuum, Serena is the superior player. But let's be objective: JH-H won more titles, just as many Slams, played many more events and had a superior head-to-head record.
Judging from your mail, however, there's way too much hostility toward Clijsters. Sure she loads up on events and her ranking is largely a result of her expertly playing the numbers game. But these players can't win. When the Williams sisters play a sparse schedule they stand accused of disrespecting the sport. When Clijsters (to the delight of the tour and its promoters) plays early and often, she gets ripped trying to beat the system. Is it embarrassing that Clijsters may well finish 2003 ranked No.1 , albeit without winning a Slam? (By the way, it could be the second time in three years that the WTA's year-end No. 1 has been Slam-less.) You bet. But blame the ranking system. Not the beneficiary.
Dang! So much for being no.1!!