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I'm More Major than You

Some people love to make life hard on themselves. Example: People call the slams "majors." Two syllables instead of one. Who needs all that extra work?

But this has another problem: It costs us the very useful word "major." Slams are Slams, of course, but there are fully ten events on the WTA Tour which normally have Slam-strength fields. And they aren't all Tier I events, either.

The ten slam-strength events are, in calendar order:<br />Sydney<br />Australian Open<br />Indian Wells<br />Ericsson<br />Roland Garros<br />Wimbledon<br />San Diego<br />U. S. Open<br />Filderstadt<br />Munich Championships

(That's the list as of now. Until last year, Philadelphia was on the list, but it no longer exists, and until this year Indian Wells was rather weaker. Filderstadt 2000 was weak, but that's because of a one-time scheduling conflict with the Olympics.)

Munich, of course, is next week. But with nine of ten majors complete, we can use these as an alternate women's ranking system. In a year when the Player of the Year award is unusually hard to gauge, this might prove helpful.

In our simplified ranking system, we will ignore quality points (since these tournaments all have Slam-level fields) and early losses. We'll assign one point for a semifinal, three for a final, and five for a win.

In singles, this gives us twelve players with a result in a major. If we rank them, we get the following:

<br />Rank Player ... Score<br /> 1 . V.Williams . 22<br /> 2 . Capriati ... 15<br /> 3 . Hingis ..... 14<br /> 4 . Davenport ...11<br /> 5 . S. Williams . 8<br /> 6 . Henin ....... 7<br /> 7 . Clijsters ... 6<br /> 8 . Seles ....... 3<br />9T . Dementieva ...1<br />9T . Martinez .....1<br />9T . Mauresmo .....1<br />9T . Testud .......1

If one insists upon a Slam Bonus (which should not be needed for events of this level), we could multiply every Slam by 1.5, but there is no need -- we get the exact same rankings with or without a Slam Bonus.

If we calculate this same result for doubles, we find almost twice as many teams (23), and naturally more than twice as many players. Let's list only the Top Fifteen, since there were exactly fifteen teams to earn more than one point:

<br />Rank Team ...............Score<br /> 1 . Raymond/Stubbs ....... 17<br /> 2 . Ruano Pasucal/Suarez ...9<br /> 3T .Arendt/Sugiyama ....... 6<br /> 3T .Black/Likhovtseva ..... 6<br /> 3T .Sanchez-Vicario/Tauziat 6<br /> 6T .Davenport/Raymond ..... 5<br /> 6T .Kournikova/Schett ..... 5<br /> 6T .Williams/Williams ..... 5<br /> 9T .Clijsters/Sugiyama .....4<br /> 9T .Hingis/Kournikova ..... 4<br /> 9T .Po-Messerli/Tauziat ... 4<br />12T .Davenport/Morariu ..... 3<br />12T .Dokic/Martinez .........3<br />12T .Henin/Shaughnessy ..... 3<br />15 . Hingis/Seles ...........2

This shows how overwhelmingly dominant the team of Raymond and Stubbs has been this year, with twice the points of their nearest rivals. (An interesting sidelight to this is that, of the top seven teams in this list, only three -- Raymond/Stubbs, Ruano Pascual/Suarez, and Black/Likhovtseva -- will be playing at Munich. The way the Race is set up, it's better to have a lot of little results than a few big ones.)

If we calculate results individually, we find that we have 33 total players (players who appeared twice: Clijsters, Davenport, Henin, Hingis, Kournikova, Po-Messerli, Sanchez-Vicario, Schett, Sugiyama, Tauziat, Testud; Lisa Raymond heads the pack, having earned Major points with three different partners: Davenport, Stubbs, and Testud). If we total the results for these players, we find the following:

<br />Rank Player ... Score<br /> 1 .Raymond .......23<br /> 2 .Stubbs ....... 17<br /> 3T Sugiyama ..... 10<br /> 3T Tauziat .......10<br /> 5T Kournikova .....9<br /> 5T Ruano Pascual . 9<br /> 5T Suarez .........9<br /> 8 .Davenport ..... 8<br /> 9 .Sanchez-Vicario 7<br />10T Arendt .........6<br />10T Black ......... 6<br />10T Hingis .........6<br />10T Likhovtseva ... 6<br />10T Schett .........6<br />15T Clijsters ..... 5<br />15T Po-Messerli ... 5<br />15T S.Williams .....5<br />15T V.Williams .....5

Perhaps the most amazing thing about this list is that Lisa Raymond scored points in seven of the nine majors. This isn't actually the best rate of "efficiency" -- Hingis played five majors, and scored in four of them -- but no other player comes close to equalling this level of success; Stubbs scored in five majors; Sugiyama, Tauziat, and Hingis in four; and no one else in more than three. Is it any wonder that Raymond is #1 in doubles?

(source: bob larson newsletter)
 

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GREAT

VENUS <img src="graemlins/kiss.gif" border="0" alt="[Kiss]" />

RUANO PASCUAL / SUAREZ <img src="graemlins/kiss.gif" border="0" alt="[Kiss]" /> <img src="graemlins/kiss.gif" border="0" alt="[Kiss]" />
 

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I think its a valid extraction to take as a point of reference, and one that serves a purpose, and does show Venus' record in the 10 slam-strengh events.

However I thnk that surely the slam-strenth events record will be included in a player's ranking total anyway.

But it is interesting.
 
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