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On Wikipedia it claims that the WTA introduced the Tier I to Tier V tournament ranking system in the 1988 season https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WTA_Tier_I_tournaments. On the WTA Tour season pages eg. here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1990_WTA_Tour then I think the tournaments are tiered correctly for the years from 1990 onwards. I corrected a few errors but it looks pretty good.

The tiers listed for the 1988 and 1989 seasons don't look right at all, so I'm trying to find out what the correct ones were. Or even that it was the same system that was used from 1990 onwards?

On the WTA tournament archives http://www.wtatennis.com/tournament-archive for each tournament there's a draw attached. On some of these draws they have a ranking points scale attached, but only on some of them unfortunately.

The winners of these tournaments would get the following points:

Tier I = 375pts
Tier II = 300pts
Tier III = 240pts
Tier IV = 190pts
Tier V = 110pts

For 1990 onwards then these correspond neatly with the tournament prize pools. So you can decipher the tournament tier by looking at the prize pool. I would've expected this to be the same for previous years as well. For 1989 however there are all sorts of anomalies. There are $100k tournaments in 2 different tiers. The same for both $250k & $300k tournaments as well. For example Rome and Toronto are both $300k tournaments with 56 players. Yet one has the winner getting 240pts and the other 375pts.

So can anyone please shed any further light on the tournament tier system in place in 88 and 89? Or list the tournaments for those years by tier?
 

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From the 1990 World of Tennis, page 163.

1989 Virginia Slims Points Explanation:

Category 7- 820 points for winner (Grand Slams and Virginia Slims Chmps)
Category 6- 470 points (other two week events)
Category 5- 376 points ($300,000 in prize money)
Category 4-300 points ($250,000 in prize money)
Category 3-240 points ($2000,000 in prize money)
Category 2-190 points (Starred events of at least $100,000 in prize money)
Category 1-110 points (non-starred events-at least $50,000 in prize money)

Looking at it that way one can argue that a Category 5=Tier 1, etc.

Here are event Category/Tiers to the best of my knowledge:

Category 6

The Lipton International (now in Miami)
*at $750,000 it had double the prize money over the next lowest tour level. Outside the slam this was the only big event held with men in 1989. How times have changed! The Lipton led the way to today's tour model.

Category 5

VS of Washington
VS of Florida (Boca Raton)
VS of Los Angeles
Family Circle Cup
Amelia Island
Italian Open
German Open
Eastbourne
Canadian Open
VS of New England

Category 4

Tokyo Pan Pacific
VS of California (Oakland)
VS of Indian Wells
VS of Houston
VS of Dallas
Stuttgart/Filderstadt
Zurich
Brighton
VS of Chicago

Category 3

Sydney
US Hard Courts (San Antonio)
Tampa
San Diego
Hamburg
VS of Newport
Mahwah

Category 2

Brisbane
VS of Kansas (Witchita)
VS of Oklahoma
Japan Open (*also a combined event with men)
Barcelona
Geneva
Strasbourg
Birmingham
Archacon
Brussels
Estoril
VS of Albuquerque
VS of Arizona (Phoenix)
Paris
Moscow
Bayonne
Puerto Rican Open
VS of Indianapolis
VS of Nashville

Category 1

Auckland
Wellington
Singapore
Taipei
Taranto
Bastad
Schnectady
Sofia
Athens
 

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According to World of Tennis the "Tier" naming system was introduced in 1990. Neither the 1988 nor 1989 years used "Tier" but instead used the term "Category".
 

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The tiers listed for the 1988 and 1989 seasons don't look right at all, so I'm trying to find out what the correct ones were. Or even that it was the same system that was used from 1990 onwards?

[...]

For 1990 onwards then these correspond neatly with the tournament prize pools. So you can decipher the tournament tier by looking at the prize pool. I would've expected this to be the same for previous years as well. For 1989 however there are all sorts of anomalies. There are $100k tournaments in 2 different tiers. The same for both $250k & $300k tournaments as well. For example Rome and Toronto are both $300k tournaments with 56 players. Yet one has the winner getting 240pts and the other 375pts.

So can anyone please shed any further light on the tournament tier system in place in 88 and 89? Or list the tournaments for those years by tier?
The 1989 tournament points and prize money anomalies/discrepancies are a result of the elimination of the "play down rule" (if a player won a tournament that awarded points lower than her overall average, she was instead allotted her average). There was a bit of skullduggery behind the motivation for this, and the upshot was a "compromise" in which the points didn't correlate with the prize money at certain tournaments. It's covered in the Graf thread. By 1990, things had been sorted out.
 
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