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· Team WTAworld, Administrator, aka Nibbler
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By Richard Pagliaro - Top-ranked Jennifer Capriati, tired of hearing she is really second to one, said she is secure in her spot atop the WTA Tour rankings. The 25-year-old <br />Capriati dismissed the suggestion that Venus Williams is really the best player in the world as "speculation."

The Australian and French Open champion said the proof of her position is apparent in her ranking points. Capriati holds an 834-point lead over the fourth-ranked Williams and has played 19 tournaments compared to 12 for Williams. <br />"It's all speculation," Capriati said of suggestions Williams is the true No. 1. "If Venus should be number one, why isn't she? I don't have to defend myself."

Though Capriati captured the Australian and French Open championships, Williams won Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. The 21-year-old Williams beat Capriati in their two meetings this year — saving eight match points to earn the Ericsson Open title and overcoming a 1-4 deficit to register a 6-4, 6-2 triumph in the U.S. Open semifinals — but has not played a match since defeating sister Serena to capture the U.S. Open crown.

Second-ranked Lindsay Davenport trails Capriati by only 61 points in the rankings, but according to WTA Tour officials, Capriati would have to suffer an early-round setback at this week's Sanex Championships in order for Davenport to have a shot to surpass her and secure the No. 1 ranking for the year.

"My goal is not to finish number one, it's to end the year playing great tennis," Capriati said. "Lindsay might catch me but I believe that if I concentrate on my tennis and keep playing well, the ranking will take care of itself."

A year ago, Capriati suffered a first-round setback to Anna Kournikova in the WTA year-end finale, formerly known as the Chase Championships and played in New York's Madison Square Garden. This week, Capriati enters the event as the top seed and opens the tournament against Magdalena Maleeva tomorrow.

"A change is good," said Capriati of the move from New York to Moscow. "It's a new experience. It's a new start for the tournament at the end of a year that marked a new start for me."
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