Consistency paid off
The how of Pliskova’s rise to No. 1 in world doesn’t matter much to her, just that she made it there ... Kerber, Halep say they are fine ... Muguruza didn’t celebrate Wimbledon win much
Karolina Pliskova doesn’t mind that she took a roundabout way to becoming the top-ranked women’s player in the world.
The 25-year-old Czech rose to the No. 1-ranking when she surpassed Germany’s Angelique Kerber during this year’s edition of Wimbledon, even though she had an early exit from the grand slam event.
“It doesn’t matter how you get there, it’s just important that I got there,” Pliskova told reporters during media availability at the Rogers Cup at York University yesterday.
“Even if it’s only for two or three weeks, I’ll take it.”
Due to the points-based ranking system, Pliskova, who has won three times this season and nine times in her career, rose to the top thanks to Simona Halep’s quarterfinal loss to Johanna Konta.
Halep of Romania would have become world No. 1 had she beaten the Briton.
“Obviously, it’s tennis and it can happen like this,” said Pliskova, who was with her boyfriend at the time Halep was losing her match. “I told him, ‘I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want to follow the live score or anything’ because I wasn’t sure I wanted to get there like this … But I was following the last two balls on match point.”
Pliskova, the third seed at Wimbledon, lost in the second round to 33rd-ranked Magdalena Rybarikova but her consistent results this season, including getting to the French Open semifinals, moved her up to the No. 1 spot.
Pliskova will get either Anastasia Pavlyuchenkov or Alize Cornet in her first match. No. 4 seed Garbine Muguruza practices yesterday. Muguruza beat Venus Williams to win the Wimbledon title this year.
Kerber, who at 28 was the oldest player ever to reach No. 1, came into the press area slightly banged up.
The world No. 3 was wearing a brace on her ankle and had had a bandage on her elbow during practice, but said she is doing okay.
“The brace on my ankle is just a precaution,” she said. “I’m playing all the matches with ankle tape, so everything is fine. My elbow is actually okay. I was feeling it a little bit in the last few weeks, but I hope it’s nothing serious.”
The German will face either qualifier Donna Vekic or Canadian Eugenie Bouchard in her first match.
Kerber said she really didn’t have a preference.
“We will see, I don’t care. I’m here to play matches and I’m not thinking too much about my opponent,” said Kerber, who hasn’t played since Wimbledon. “For me it’s more that I’m going out there and playing again, trying to make the transition from all the practising the last couple of weeks.”
She had been coping with a hamstring injury heading into Wimbledon, where she lost in the Round of 16.
Though she has won four times this season and has risen all the way to No. 5 in the world, Elina Svitolina of Ukraine isn’t eying the No. 1-ranking just yet.
“For the moment I’m not focussing on this,” she said. “I think it’s just a matter of time, just a matter of preparation. I still think I can improve. To be No. 1, you need to be more complete as a player. There are some small details I need to tinker with.”
While her focus might be elsewhere, she does like some of the perks that go with being a top-ranked player.
“People listen to you more,” the 22-year-old said with a laugh. “There’s more pressure, of course, but it’s just part of tennis.”
Svitolina said she is happy to be back on the hardcourt after having some foot issues at Wimbledon, where she lost in the Round of 16.
“I’m feeling good and refreshed,” she said.
What would you do if you had just won the women’s Wimbledon title? Perhaps go out and party with friends? Maybe treat yourself to something lavish? Not world No. 4 Garbine Muguruza.
“I didn’t have a really big celebration, I had a nice dinner with my family and team. I’m not like that wild person who goes partying and stuff like that. But I think we had a good moment,” said the Wimbledon champ, who beat veteran Venus Williams to hoist the trophy.
In her only other grand slam victory, Muguruza defeated Venus’ sister, Serena, at the 2015 French Open.
The 23-year-old Spaniard said she is feeling motivated heading into her first match since the big victory.
“I want to keep things the same way, keep it simple, not make a big deal of anything, and not to take anything for granted as well,” she said.
Halep, the defending champion at this event and the world No. 2, opened her summer hardcourt season last week in Washington, D.C., where she retired during her quarterfinal with heat illness. She said she is okay. “I feel much better now. I feel ready to start the tournament,” she said … Konta still has some work in front of her. The 26-yearold, who is currently ranked seventh in the world and rose as high as No. 4, said she started playing tennis at the age of 8 and knew by the time she was 9 that she wanted to be world No. 1 … There is $2.735 million in prize money up for grabs in this tournament, which is in its 49th year as a WTA event.