WTA Tour executives recently pointed out the women's tour stars Safina, the second ranked Serena Williams and her sister, the third ranked Venus Williams of the USA plus the current glamour girl Maria Sharapova of Russia.
What they failed to mention however was the fact that the WTA Tour's top stars more often than not burn out mentally and/or retire injured while at or near the top of their games before many reach their thirtieth birthdays.
The laundry list of former WTA Tour number ones sidelined due to injures/burnout includes Jennifer Capriati and Monica Seles of the USA and Steffi Graf of Germany. Former top players and Belgians Kim Clijsters and Justin Henin as well walked away from tennis while at the top of their games. Former number one Martina Hingis of Switzerland was banned from the tour for two years due to a positive drug test.
Both Williams sisters have taken extended breaks from the game due to injuries while Sharapova's ranking went from number one in May of 2008 to number 126 this May while she sat out for months sidelined due to a shoulder surgery which has required her to alter her service motion.
Last year's US Open Series winner Safina, despite never winning a grand slam, tops the WTA Tour rankings while the reigning US Open, Australian Open and Wimbledon champion Serena Williams follows Safina at number two.
Williams, bothered by a leg injury, lost four matches in a row this spring while Safina took WTA Tour titles in Rome and Madrid while finishing as finalist at several others including the French Open.
Over the course of the last 52 weeks, Safina has finished as finalist in five and winner of six WTA Tour tournaments but has turned in a 0-4 result in the grand slams.
The bizarre news circulated after Wimbledon that perhaps even if Williams had won the French Open to hold all four of the grand slams at once, Safina would still have topped the WTA Tour rankings.
Safina lost 6-3, 6-2 at last year's US Open semifinals to Serena Williams before losing again to Williams in January in the Australian Open final 6-0, 6-3. Safina lost by an even worse scoreline to Venus Williams in the Wimbledon semifinals 6-1, 6-0.
And while Safina at the US Open which begins August 31st will look to solve her Williams sisters grand slam puzzle, let's hope the WTA Tour can as well sooner rather than later solve the puzzle in the women's tennis rankings system.