The downfall of Dinara Safina

© AP Photo

Dinara Safina concluded 2010 with a ranking of 62, one of her worst seasons since she turned professional in 2000. 2009 had been a great year for the former World No.1, reaching eight WTA finals, winning three of them. She also performed well in the Grand Slams that year, reaching the finals of the Australian and French Open and a semi-final at Wimbledon.

However, after the 24-year old reached the summit of the WTA rankings in April 2009, in the space of 12 months she slipped 49 places to number 50 as she struggled with recurring back problems. This rise and fall trend isn’t just a worry for Safina herself, but it also questions the competitiveness of women’s tennis as a whole. Current World No.1 Caroline Wozniacki, Jelena Jankovic and Safina have reached the top without landing a major title.

The younger sister of Marat Safin can take inspiration from her brother as he too struggled in the earlier part of his career, most notably in 2003 when he finished the year ranked 77 after winning the 2000 US Open. Fortunately for Safin, he rebounded in 2005 to win his second major title at the Australian Open. Could it be attributed to the fact that Safina’s struggles are due to Safin’s retirement in 2009?

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