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By Nick Georgandis

In a candid interview with the New York Times in advance of the US Open, former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki said she feels the media forgets that she is "only" 23 years old in regards to seeing her as being past her prime.

"I definitely feel like I have a lot left in the tank," Wozniacki said. "I would love to get back into the Top 5 on the WTA tour and also capture my first Grand Slam. I do think the media forgets my age. I know that I have accomplished a lot already, but I am still hungry for more."

Actually, the media hasn't forgotten Woz's age, they just do a good job of remembering their history. A look at the history of the WTA rankings makes one thing painfully clear:: If you're No. 1 and then fall out of the Top 5 for any reason other than injury or retirement, you're never getting back to the top.

A snapshot of the players who have held the No. 1 ranking over the past five years offers definitive proof of the assertion. Since January 1, 2008, the players to hold the No. 1 ranking are: Justine Henin, Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic, Jelena Jankovic, Serena Williams, Dinara Safina, Caroline Wozniacki, Kim Clijsters and Victoria Azarenka.

Of those nine women, the ones to lose the No. 1 ranking and regain it - with at least a year in between reigns - or who held it previous to 2008 are: Henin, Sharapova, Williams, and Clijsters.

Henin and Clijsters both regained the No. 1 ranking after coming back from retirement. Sharapova and Williams lost parts of seasons to injury, with Sharapova falling out of the Top 10 and Williams out of the Top 100 before bouncing back.
That leaves Azarenka, who has spent 51 weeks at No. 1 in the past year and a half, and has never fallen past No. 3 in the time away from the top spot.

Ivanovic was No. 1 briefly twice in 2008, but dropped to 22nd the next season and has yet to penetrate the Top 10 again. Like Wozniacki, she was ranked No. 1 fairly early in her career - she was 20 - and now at 25 seems past her true prime.

Safina was No. 1 briefly, but never returned to her form because of a back injury that ultimately forced her to retire at age 26.
Jankovic was No. 1 despite never winning a Grand Slam title - an odd bit of trivia she shares with Wozniacki and Safina - when she was 23, but eventually fell out of the Top 20, and five years later has finally returned to the outskirts of the Top 10.

Wozniacki plays enough tournaments that she'll always be relevant in the Top 10-20 players in the world with her consistent, defensive game. She reached No. 1 at a time when Serena Williams was hurt and Kim Clijsters was on the second stanza of her career and playing a reduced schedule. Sharapova was fighting her way back from injury.

On an even playing field, injuries aside, Wozniacki was probably the fourth or fifth-best player in the world at the time she was No. 1, but she took advantage of the circumstances and should never feel apologetic for the 67 weeks she sat atop the WTA rankings.

However, the statistics don't lie about former No. 1s, and as Wozniacki has struggled to hang onto her spot in the Top 10, a return to No. 1 seems more like a daydream that an inevitability.