Originally Posted by Andy T
now compiled for World Tennis by Neil Amdur
Off the Wall
This ranking seems highly political to me and probably contains more than a smidgeon of favouritism as well. I don't have my stats beside me but
it seems clear that this is all about sending the message that the slims tour is "THE" tour in women's tennis. Non slims players Goolagong and Wade deserve to be ranked higher, imo, Goolagong at #2 and Wade ahead of Casals at least and maybe Melville. I can't see what Richey did (except beat Chrissie) to be ranked quite so high either. I'd love to read the "rationale" behind this listing.
No year is ever easy to compile world rankings for and 1972 has the added difficulty in that there were two circuits on the go. So perhaps it is the results in which they came together which count for the most.
I don't think there can be much doubt that the Slims circuit had much the stronger players but they were missing Goolagong and Wade although Wade did play half-a-dozen tournaments or so at the start of the season before going to the other circuit which in the main consisted of Masthoff, Tuero, Chanfreau, Morozova, Hunt etc. Most of the players competed in around 25 tournaments. Evert because of her schooling only played 12 but she managed most of the big ones and there was also the complication of Margaret Court only returning to the circuit after Wimbledon which meant she only competed for 4 months and in 1 Slam but there is just about enough in her record to be able to assess her.
There are some significant differences between who were considered the two top rankers in the world, namely Lance Tingay and World Tennis and Bud Collins was different again so there was much divergence. In the end unless you stick hard and fast to statistics any list can only be a judgement call. I think sometimes certain compilers (not all) were prey to the ice-skating syndrome in that you could see certain obvious mistakes which meant compulsory reductions yet when the marks came up the scores given were literally "impossible" - they were being judged on reputation. Some fell into this trap perhaps with Court in 66 and Bueno in 68. You might know that on form Margaret e.g. is the best player in the world but it is vital that the ranking for that year is based solely on the results achieved within the period of assessment.
It was interesting to see the grading of many tournaments in the CU Grand Prix. The Australian tournaments weren't included at all which in the overall standings disadvantaged some players, although in terms of world ranking they didn't make much difference. The South African which was little more than an exhibition for Goolagong and Wade was graded "A" while one such as Dallas with Goolagong, King, Gunter, Evert, Durr, Melville and Casals was a "B". The German Champs (Masthoff, Tuero) which more than most suffered post 68 was a "B" the same as Dallas and ahead of the Italian "C" with Wade, Morozova and Hunt in addition to Masthoff and Tuero. Obviously the points available for these events are out of line relative to the strength of the fields which is another disadvantage of a statisical system. Of course as Andy says this is an insurmountable problem when the status has to be pre-determined.
This would be my list:
At this point may I just say a special word of thanks to AndyT
for his forbearance and co-operation in supplying some data I was missing and answering many queries I had.
I don't think anyone is going to quarrel with BJK as No.1. Champion of France, Wimbledon and the US plus the leader on the Slims circuit. Obviously the weekly nature of the tour meant she was playing more than she normally would - 27 tournaments. However she was by no means invulnerable losing 15 matches - including 3 each to Gunter, Evert and Durr. This is an unusually large number for the world #1. Her record of 9 wins and 7 runner up spots in 24 tournaments might be statistically bettered by others but she won the 3 big ones when all the players came together, the only player who had an h2h advantage over her was Evert 3-1 and her victories came on clay. Frankie Durr also raised her game against Bj and finished 3-3.
It seemed pretty obvious that Evonne Goolagong was the #2, South African Champion and runner up in Australia, France and Wimbledon. But then as you look more closely cracks begin to appear in that theory. The Australian and South African prestigious though they may be were in effect little more than exhibitions for Goolagong and Wade. Defeats for either of them in the seriously weak fields before the final would have been disastrous. Wade won the Slam title in Australia (my views regarding the fields in SOME of the years are well documented) and Goolagong the SA but IMO while they cannot be ignored there are many more significant events in relation to the wotld rankings. Evonne did well in defending her French and Wimbledon crowns only losing the finals to BJK and beat Chris Evert in the Wimbledon semi but she flopped at Forest Hills. Having said that she was actually ahead of BJK on numbers in the other tournaments losing 11 times in 24 events winning 13 titles sharing one other and reaching 7 other finals but then again you have to consider the strength of all those Australian events in late 71/early 72.
She is also down on h2hs against King, Evert and Court and only level with Melville and Casals. So, I ask, is she #2?
How does Chris Evert's record stand up?
After Andy's brilliant post I see no need to go into the records but just give my reasons for my relative placings.
In a short space of time Chris achieved much winning the US Clay courts, the Slims final at Boca Raton which has to be regarded as the fourth biggest tournament of the year and also reaching the semis at both Wimbledon and Forest Hills on grass. Amdur in WT states that her 0-3 record against her nullifies any chance of ranking Chris above Nancy Richey. This is rubbish. There are many precedents such as Jones over King in 1969 on a 1-3 record or Goolagong over Court in 1971 despite being 2-6. In tennis player A usually beats player B who in turn generally beats player C, therefore..... As we all know it doesn't always follow. Player C's game happens to dovetail nicely into Player A's........ Apart from Nancy, Evert had winning h2hs over every other player. I appreciate those over BJK were on all on clay but she reached the semis in the two biggest grass court tournaments.
It's just a personal opinion but I place quite a bit of store on "bad" defeats and also the strength of the field in tournaments won. I would have loved to place Evert and Goolagong #2= but I don't cop out and after much deliberation I like Chris' all round performance better.
Margaret was a problem in that she only palyed for 4 months and 10 tournaments but she achieved much in this time and it was possible to assess her I don't agree with P/F that her spell on the tour means a lower ranking. I believe it is her performance relative to that of the other players. It is unfortunate for her that she had to withdraw at Boca when leading 5-2 final set. Although she had losing h2hs against King and Evert she also had wins over them was 1-1 with Wade and had plus records against all other players (except her withdrawal against J. Evert) including Gunter, Goolagong, Casals and Durr and she was always in the semis or finals winning 5 tournaments in her four and a half months. Semis at Forest Hills losing to BJK.
Nancy, of course was No.2 on the Slims tour but her performances in the biggest event hurt her. She reached her "protected" quarter at Wimbledon then lost to Casals, was beaten early at the USO and what really killed off her clain for ahigher ranking was her defeat to Stove early at Boca.
Melville, Casals and Wade were all pretty close. Melville had the prestige of finals at Forest Hills and Boca but a relatively weak record elsewhere but she had few "bad" defeats. Many of her losses were to players who would just have been outside the top 10. Rosie Casals reached the Wimbledon semis and US quarters and didn't have the usual number of bad losses. Virginia was her usual unpredicable self, brilliant in beating Evonne in Australia and losing to players who would hardly have been heard of. They were all so close together that in the end I went with their h2hs. Kerry was 4-3 on Casals and 2-0 on Wade and Casals was 2-1 on Wade.
Frankie Durr had wins against Goolagong, Wade and Casals and a splendid 3-3 record against Billie Jean and was a perennial quarter finallist. It always took a good player to beat her. She slotted easily into #9.
#10 was a question of you pays your money and you takes your choice. Heldman, Hunt, Morozova, Tuero.