Yes, the rankings are a joke - but that's NOT the full story.
Players who focus too greatly on the rankings become a joke. This is the point. They get injured, exhaust themselves, and start to think they're better players than they are. Think of Hingis, Dokic, Coetzer in 1997, Zvonareva - they all overplayed to keep their rankings up.
So the rankings aren't meant to be serious. All they are for is to give the tournament an objective idea of who are the best players of the last year so that they can plan that those players meet in the later rounds. The rankings are simply for prestige, for the spectators; to simplify the order of ability for the all-important public whose support the tour obviously needs. Hingis, for example, knew she couldn't win slams, so she played 22 tournaments a year and her career ended prematurely - all for the sake of prestige, to say she was "the world number one". Zvonareva was insecure about being the 5th or 6th best Russian last year, Mauresmo about not winning a slam, hence her focusing on -- and failing -- to win the race to chase of 2004.
So people need to stop criticising the rankings every time a player wins one tournament (by any logic, the best player in the world for that week) and her 52 week doesn't reflect that. We could have weekly rankings, or monthly rankings - but would that be any better? In a lot of situations the Williams sisters would be unranked.
Intelligent players don't take the rankings seriously. Graf and Seles never did, and what both of them did incredibly well was to focus on one thing, and one thing only - the ball. If they played the ball the best they could, they knew they'd probably win, and if they won, and won, and won, they'd hold trophies. And with the trophies, came their rankings. The Williams', Sharapova and Davenport are the same - and that's why I think Sharapova will last.
If intelligent players don't focus on their rankings, the same goes for the fans (however tempting it is).
Last edited by Steffica Greles; Jul 4th, 2005 at 10:37 PM.