Caroline Wozniacki is No. 1 without winning a Grand Slam tournament - and she has no problem with that.
"I've won quite a few tournaments the last year and I feel like I'm playing great tennis at the moment," she said during a news conference for the Sony Ericsson Open, which began Tuesday. "I feel I deserve to be where I am.
"I'm 20 and No. 1. A lot of people want to be in my footsteps."
The opening day of the tournament featured 12 women's first-round matches as well qualifying matches.
American Melanie Oudin moved into the second round with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Julia Goerges of Germany.
Sixteen-year-old American wildcard Madison Keys challenged former top-10 player Patty Schnyder of Switzerland before losing 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (2).
Wozniacki's already won two titles this year: Dubai and Indian Wells. She did, however, fall short at the Australian Open, losing in the semifinals to Li Na of China.
In 2010, Wozniacki won six of her 14 career titles. But her best 2010 Grand Slam result was a U.S. Open semifinal appearance.
Wozniacki's only career Grand Slam final was at the 2009 U.S. Open, wher she lost in straight sets to Kim Clijsters.
Clijsters, the Sony Ericsson Open defending champion, also makes a good case for being No. 1 in the world as the reigning champion of the last two majors: the 2010 U.S. Open and 2011 Australian Open.
Clijsters did push Wozniacki out of the No. 1 ranking for the week of Feb. 14, 2011. But Wozniacki returned to top billing the following week and will remain at No. 1 at least through April 10, 2011.
"Kim deserves to be No. 1 as well," said No. 5 Sam Stosur of Australia. "I can't really say anything except, unfortunately, that's the way the rankings work for the players who don't play as much."
Stosur, however, acknowledges Wozniacki's play the past year has been impressive.
"If she's No. 1 without winning one (a Grand Slam) then that's credit to her for doing well every single week and being ultra consistent," Stosur said.
Clijsters said a shoulder injury that forced her to retire from a fourth-round match against Marion Bartoli of France at Indian Wells is much better. She anticipates no problem attempting to defend her title this week.
For her part, Clijsters wasn't all that interested in debating the No. 1 issue. She's been top-ranked for 20 weeks throughout her career.
"To me, it's not something I'm focused on and aiming for," Clijsters said. "I'm happy she enjoys the whole role because when you're number one there's even more things to do.
"Let somebody else do that."