How long will Clijsters hold the #1 ranking, and who will be #1 in 2004??
I think Clijsters will hold the #1 ranking for the rest of the year. the only person who can challenge her is Henin and she would have to go on quite a tear to accomplish this. SO I think Kim has is wrapped up for 2003. 2004 is where it heats up though. For the first three months Clijsters has about 1800 points to defend in 6 tournaments, Henin has about 1100 to defend in 5 tournaments, Serena also has about 1800 to defend with three tourneys, and Venus has almost 1100 to defend in 3 tournaments. This is where I think Henin can seriously make her move to get the #1. It will be tough for Clijsters to defend 6 tournaments. Serena will probably successfully defend all of her points, since she only has 3 tourneys and usually plays Scottsdale, which she didn't play this year. Venus can make up alot of ground in this period on Clijsters and Serena. She dropped 3 tourneys that she was defending champion at during this time in 2003. So she will stand to make up some serious points here.
So at the end of March 2004 I expect the rankings to look like:
The next period is from April through the end of Wimbledon. Clijsters has almost 2000 points in this span, Serena has almost 2100, Henin has a whopping 2500 to defend, and Venus has only 1125. This period is sort of tricky because there are 2 Grand Slams, so I'll predict for both after the French and after Wimbledon. I think after the clay season and the FO, it could be a real Venus/Serena battle for #1 with Henin and Clijsters not that far behind. Venus has only about 300 points to defend for the clay season so a healthy Venus could add by leaps and bounds and be #1. Serena only has about 1000 points to defend on the clay so she will stand to gain a few points. Clijsters and Henin will struggle to repeat their stellar efforts on clay in 2003 in 2004, so I expect them to lose a few hundred points apiece. After the French, I think the rankings will be:
#1 Venus (tough call to pick her over Serena, but she has few points to defend in the first half of the year)
after French to Wimbledon Serena has about 1100 to defend, Venus about 800, Henin about 500, and Clijsters about 650. Venus and Serena will most likely meet in this final again so their points should be okay. Henin will probably gain about 150 pts since at Wimby 2003 she didn't get many quality points. Clijsters should stay the same or losr a small # of points. I think Henin will be close enough to pass Kim here though, and will become #3.
The winner of Wimbledon between the sisters I think will be or stay #1, I think Serena will win so I think the rankings will be:
I would like to hear everyone's projections who would like to share them. All I ask is that the projections be realistic. No BS like a return to #1 by Martina Hingis.