I think Caroline has a lot of catching up to do in the season to come. She decided to make unnecessary changes to her game and team and paid a price so now there is a real need to fix what was broken. I think that she has a good chance as long as she doesn´t have her focus slip and manages to stay motivated. The experience of falling out of top 10 in 2012 could help here...
In my opinion when she is at her best she is on par with all the top 5 players. Caro 2010 or 2011 would definitely give all of them a lot of trouble. However, to get back to that form won´t be easy especially mentally. The other players have used the time when she was struggling and got a lot better. She no longer has that mental advantage she used to have against some of them in the past (eg Radwanska).
Also, to address the no1 debate, I see it as a non issue for everyone who looks at things realistically. A no1 player doesn´t need a GS win as much as a slam winner doesn´t need a no1 ranking. Those two are completely separate achievements and it is very hard to get any of them. These are the things that many players end up only dreaming about during their careers. Caro achieved one of them already which is great, if she achieves another one it will be great too. If she doesn´t she would still go down in history as one of the best players of her era. The haters will always be there, but all great players have their little bashing brigade,IMO. That´s just a part of it all, as are the fans.
Very true. Caroline is definately one of the best players of this era.
But the alltime greats do both: #1 for a long time, and win majors.
Thats the final level for Caro. You want the Hall of Fame, you want to be on the lists of great players. You have to be great for years and years.
Ofcourse, Caroline has other, amazing, options. She can retire now, marry Rory, and live the life of a billionaire celebrity.
They are one of the biggest celebrity couples in the world, and Nike is going to announce a $200 million+ deal with Rory any day now.
But she can always live that life a few years from now, and add to what she's done in her career; now on the tennis court.
But she has incredible options, that 99.9999% of the world can only dream of