No one player dominated the WTA in 2017, meaning there was a constant battle for the No. 1 ranking. Five different players—Angelique Kerber, Serena Williams, Karolina Pliskova, Garbine Muguruza and Simona Halep—spent some time at the top of the tour last season. It tied the record for the most players to spend time at No. 1 during a year since rankings began in 1975.
As we begin the 2018 season, though, there’s another player—someone who very nearly got to No. 1 in 2017—who could make a record-setting return to No. 1 in 2018.
That player is Caroline Wozniacki.
Having begun 2017 ranked No. 19, Wozniacki put together a remarkably consistent season, reaching the quarterfinals or better at 14 events, winning titles in Tokyo and at the WTA Finals and making another six finals, including five Premier-level finals in Doha, Dubai, Miami, Eastbourne and Toronto.
Wozniacki's triumph at the WTA Finals, the biggest title of her career, pushed her to No. 3 by year's end, marking the first time she was ranked inside the Top 3 since she was ranked No. 1 during the Australian Open fortnight in 2012.
Wozniacki will begin her 2018 season at the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand, but it’s at the Australian Open where she’ll have the greatest shot at returning to No. 1, as she’s only defending third-round points in Melbourne (she lost to Johanna Konta last year).
Should Wozniacki return to No. 1 (at any time), she’d break the record for longest gap between stints at No. 1. That record currently belongs to Serena Williams, who went five years and 29 days between stints at No. 1 (between August 10, 2003 and September 8, 2008).
Wozniacki has spent 67 career weeks at No. 1, all in a 68-week span between October 2010 and January 2012, with Kim Clijsters sneaking in there for one week from February 14 to 20, 2011.
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