Dubai: The world No. 1 spot is changing so much in Serena Williams’ absence that it doesn’t matter, according former top-ranked Karolina Pliskova.
“It was important for me to get there, so I know I’m able to do it,” said the 25-year-old Czech, who assumed the position for the first time in her career for eight weeks last summer while Serena was pregnant.
“But I wouldn’t say I want to get back there. I don’t think there is much difference between being No. 1 and No. 5,” she said in reference of her current position heading into this week’s Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
“I think the pressure and everything is the same. You’re still coming into tournaments as a favourite, you may not be top favourite, but you’re still a favourite.
“The pressure is maybe a little bit bigger when you look at the draw because when somebody is No. 1 you expect them to win the tournament. This put a little bit more pressure on me, but otherwise it was no different.
“For me it was just good experience that I was there, but ranking doesn’t matter that much.”
In the five months since Pliskova held the top spot, Garbine Muguruza, Simona Halep and incumbent Caroline Wozniacki have all gone on to lead.
“If Serena is not getting back to where she was, I think it’s going to be like this, changing a lot,” she added.
“The ranking is changing because it’s very close. It’s very open for everybody. Right now from the top 10, I feel like they all have the chance to win big tournaments.
“The players are good. They are solid. They are playing very good. They are consistent. That’s why it’s just so close. For Caro now it’s going to be a challenge to stay there.”
Pliskova, who reached the 2016 US Open final in her best Grand Slam finish, started this year following up a semi-final finish in Brisbane with quarter-final exit in Melbourne. She’s now looking to go one better in Dubai where she reached the final in 2015 before losing to Simona Halep. That was her best run here in five appearances.
“For sure I have a good chance to go far again,” said the Czech, who has a first-round bye and the likes of Angelique Kerber, Elina Svitolina and Petra Kvitova in her half of the draw. “But the draw is very strong. There is no easy match. And not really a match which can warm me up, so it’s going to be very tough for me.”