The title of 2012 World #1 Player actually goes to different women depending on your source. The International Tennis Federation (ITF) gives the title to Serena Williams and the Women's Tennis Association (WTF) gives it to Victoria Azarenka.
What's the difference? The ITF ranks performances throughout the year, including Grand Slam tournaments, the ATP World Tour Finals, the Davis Cup, and weekly tour events. The WTF ranks performance on a rolling 52-week, cumulative system. But let's not squabble over details, and talk about how amazing these women are.
Serena Williams, USA
Williams' record basically speaks for itself: 30 Grand Slam titles, 4 Olympic gold medals. She's been named the World No. 1 Female Player in Singles six times. She's also the oldest player, at 31 years old, to receive the honor.
My favorite stat about Serena Williams? She's the only player ever to achieve a Career Golden Slam in both singles and doubles! (A Career Golden Slam means Williams has won all four grand slam tournaments and an Olympic gold medal over the course of her career. And she did that in singles and doubles. Amazing!)
Williams' is mostly a baseline player and her serve is considered "the greatest serve in the history of women's tennis" by many tennis experts. Her serve has been recorded at 128mph. Her powerful and consistent serve supports her aggressive playing style.
Victoria Azarenka, Belarus
Azarenka has won two Australian Open singles titles, one US Open mixed doubles title, French Open mixed doubles, gold medal in mixed doubles and a bronze medal in singles at the 2012 Olympics. Azarenka debuted at the junior tennis level in 2003.
"You don’t expect to be smiling when you’re in a tough battle," says Azarenka.
Azarenka is fluent in Belarusian, Russian, English and has some handling of French and Ukrainian. She regards her grandmother as a source of inspiration for her continued development and play in the sport.
- - - - -
There's a mild rivalry between Azarenka and Williams. They've gone head to head 14 times, and of those matches, Williams has a win-loss record of 12-2.
Both women are playing in the French Open, happening now until June 9!