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Thanks AndrewTas :)
 

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Can anyone explain what are these "official" rankings for 1973 and 1974 and how they were arrived at?

I wasn't aware that these existed.
 

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The 71 #1 spot is probably the most politically charged of any of the pre-WTA ranking debates, pitting the new Slims tour against the traditional circuit, its leading player against the winner of two of the three most important majors and the personification of the professional woman tennis player against a player who exuded the amateur spirit. You could also add an American vs European/Commonwealth dimension to the contrast. One woman was unquestionably the form player at the end of the year while the other reached the highest pinnacle of achievement during the year. It's not difficult to see why the pundits of the time and the history books are divided.
 

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The 71 #1 spot is probably the most politically charged of any of the pre-WTA ranking debates, pitting the new Slims tour against the traditional circuit, its leading player against the winner of two of the three most important majors and the personification of the professional woman tennis player against a player who exuded the amateur spirit. You could also add an American vs European/Commonwealth dimension to the contrast. One woman was unquestionably the form player at the end of the year while the other reached the highest pinnacle of achievement during the year. It's not difficult to see why the pundits of the time and the history books are divided.
I never thought of it that way Andy T. You are spot on course.

For Gongamaniacs its also the only year their lass had a claim to be year-end #1.
 

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goolagong vs king in 71... looks like the powers that be that decided world rankings before the days of the computer put a HUGE emphasis on who won the major tournaments.. i.e. goolagong winning the french and wimbledon... i say this because looking at evonne's year long results, yeah, she won a number of tournaments, but she also lost more than a few.. more than a number 1 for that year should lose, plus she had a few losing records too. i mean she was 1-6 against court! 0-2 against durr, etcetra....

in regard to evert vs navratilova, well it's a given that martina ruled the first 6 months and evert the last 6 months of the year.... besides evert having the slight head to head record.... i think some took into account that evert also had NO bad losses throughout the entire year, and the fact that martina lost to shriver in the 78's semis probably was HUGE in the rankings decision, this was considered a HUGE and BAD loss to an unknown... and so there you go both had 2 major titles, and yes, martina totally dominated the first 6 months of 78, but without evert, who as the reigning number 1 for 4 years straight already (74 to 77) this was considered i'm sure also a huge handicap for martina, kind of like boxing, the challenger has to k.o. the champion to come out on top, and without no evert, martina's wins were lessened in their impact....

so factor in the head to head records, no bad losses for chris, and evert the current champ and there you go....
 

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i say this because looking at evonne's year long results, yeah, she won a number of tournaments, but she also lost more than a few.. more than a number 1 for that year should lose, plus she had a few losing records too. i mean she was 1-6 against court! 0-2 against durr, etcetra....
Goolagong Cawley beat Durr at least twice that year.....
 

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I don't think there was such a big split in 1971.

I've seen 8 correspondent's rankings for 1971 and it was 6 for Goolagong, 1 for King and 1 co-ranking.

For what it's worth the Blaster's Ranking Panel split 6-1 in favour of Goolagong and the recently published list by John Dolan goes for King.

Not unanimous but pretty decisive.

Goolagong's record against the top players that year was:

4-0 Wade
3-0 Shaw
3-1 Durr
3-2 Stove
2-0 Gourlay
1-0 Chanfreau, Gunter, Heldman, Hunt, King
0-1 Dalton
2-6 Court

Other losses: Hogan, Orth plus many victories over other players.

Ranking year October 1970-September1971 although John Dolan's list based on calendar year 1971.
 

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FYI (from Tennislovers.com)

Unofficial world rankings for men and women determined by the London Daily Telegraph from 1914-72. Since then, official world rankings computed by men's and women's tours. Rankings included only amateur players from 1914 until the arrival of open (professional) tennis in 1968. No rankings were released during World Wars I and II.


Year Player
(before)
1970 Margaret Court
1971 Evonne Goolagong
1972 Billie Jean King
1973 Margaret Court
1974 Billie Jean King
1975 Chris Evert
1976 Chris Evert
1977 Chris Evert
1978 Martina Navratilova
1979 Martina Navratilova
(after)
sw15sport (formerly of WTA) has confirmed that the first official ranking list by the WTA was in November 1975.

A few days ago I first noticed posts at the beginning of this thread talking matter-of-factly about Official World Rankings beginning in 1973 but I can find nothing to support this nor anyone who has any knowledge of these.

Unfortunately the posters have departed the Forum some years ago so I can't ask them where they got their information.

I can find a Tennislovers.com site but nowhere in it can I find this list. If it is the same site it may have been revised as it would appear to change hands and is currently up for sale.

If these rankings had existed would the World of Tennis '74 and '75 manuals (covering 1973 and 1974) not have carried them instead of correspondent's rankings?

In this case where did the rankings for 1973 and 1974 come from for the 1974 #1 is not that of the London Daily Telegraph.

I do have a suspicion that IF THIS IS AN ERROR it has originated in a former edition of Bud Collins Total Tennis where he claimed that the women's computer rankings began in 1973. He ostensibly listed the DT top 10 rankings until 1967 then his own until 1972. However it subsequently transpired that the 1973 and 1974 lists were also his own.

To be consistent (correctly I believe) it would look that the list above gave the DT rankings from 1968-1972 but then believing that the 1973/74 were "official" quoted Collins' #1 which in 1974 differed from most other correspondents who ranked Evert at the top.

I can't verify this but there is a doubt concerning these years.
 

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I can confirm that following several board meetings during the year, the WTA tested a ranking system throughout 1975 to determine tournament acceptances before going live with it on November 4, 1975. I also have seen several sources say the WTA rankings start in 1973 about 10 years ago but this is INCORRECT. Since the ATP's system went live in 1973, some correspondents assumed the WTA's also did at the same time but as we all know that did not happen.

Two points related to Goolagong: The pre-1984 ranking method (called the Jenkins system) was complicated and ever-changing. The ranking values for each tournament varied according to the strength of the field, unlike systems since 1984 where the values were designated according to prize money levels. For instance, nearly all of the Virginia Slims indoor events carried the same points values as Wimbledon and Forest Hills since all of the top players were entered. That's why Evonne was able to briefly overtake Chris between the 1976 Slims Championship and 1976 Hilton Head (as Chris also lost her points for the 1975 FCC Cup at the same time, which was held a week later in 1976. Also considered in this method was the average ranking of opponents defeated during a tourney. If this was higher one year and lower the next, you could drop points. Likewise if you lost to someone who was ranked much lower than you (No. 1 Evert losing to No. 20 Fromholtz in the 1r of Boston really hurt your ranking if that didn't normally happen to you, for some reason, while Evonne had a tendency to lose to lesser ranked individuals, so this was considered into their overall performance). You can see why the WTA first lobbied to change this in 1978 because players couldn't follow it, again in 1981 following Mandlikova's No. 5 debacle, before finally finding a system the membership agreed on (devised by James Broder during 1983) and that was implemented following the March Slims Championships in 1984.

Regarding the 1971 year-end rankings, the reason I gave BJK the nod over Goolagong in my own non-official ranking list was because of the following:
1. During the year King had an an approximate 39-11 record vs. Top 10 opposition, while Evonne could only muster approximately 11-9.
2. King failed to reach the final only seven times in 31 tries, winning 17 titles, losing only to nine players - and Nell Truman (not including her retirement vs. Evert) was her only non-Top 10 loss.
3. Evonne told me herself that she never felt like the world's best player at the end of 1971, but only did in April 1976, which prompted me to look into the WTA's early ranking archive properly in late 2007 (why no one else before bothered was beyond me).
4. Apart from Wimbledon and Melbourne, Gong was a consistent runner-up to Margaret Court during the first seven months of the year, and post Wimbledon when the pressure was on her she suffered some losses. For example: 1971 Hoylake - a WT Women's Pro Tour event (one of only three all year to feature the the big three Court, King and Gong entered, after Hurlingham and Wimbledon) was particularly interesting with the Australian losing in 70 mins to Patti Hogan in the QF while King defeated Wade, Court and Casals to win the title. Again at the end of the year (granted Evonne didn't like playing indoors, but King was also exhausted), with both women playing the British Indoors, Gong fell in the SF to Durr while King came from mp and 2-5 down in the final set to take the title over her 1971-72 nemesis, Durr. Evonne didn't play the US Open, but King did and had to survive the second biggest pressure match of her career in the SF (which reduced her to tears in the locker-room BEFORE the match, knowing the entire future of the WT Women's Pro Tour circuit rested on her shoulders) to come through magnificently against Evert.
5. Taking Wimbledon out (Gong only beat sixth seed Durr en route to her French Open, from a field that had six of the Top 10) Evonne did not have a dominating year. Sure she won 11 other titles but these were not against Top flight opposition contested on primarily the British and Australian provincial circuits. I am a huge fan of Evonne's and no player has ever looked so graceful on the court but looking objectively at their two records during the year, in my humble opinion King had the edge, albeit it a MARGINAL one.

As with any pre-1975 ranking system (and turns out increasingly since 2004 on the WTA's side the lack of clear-cut No. 1s) any system is open to debate and this is the whole fun of varying opinions. If we all agreed, it would be very boring.
 

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Tennisvideos, Evonne was no. 1 in 1971? Who made the rankings back then? I thought the official ranking began in 1973, the computer rankings in 1975.

Referring to Austin I didn't want to go into deeper speculation, it just sound strange to me that IF you speculate to assume she would only have won 1 more major, due to the fact that she had been so succesful from 79 to 81.

By the way, I put Seles and Connolly in the same category. If you look at their Grand Slam records they are about the same (winning 8 in 3 years). And both got to the top of the game unbelievably fast, within less than 2 years after joining the tour.

Surely Monica lost a handful of more matches in her best years (in smaller tournaments) than Maureen did, but in the early 90s there's surely more depth in Tennis than it had been in the 50s.

Where do you see the difference between those 2 ?
Seles is not even close to Connolly. Maureen for 3 years was unbeatable on all surfaces. Seles was never the top player on grass and was destroyed whenever she met the best grass player of her era. Maureen of course won the Grand Slam the only year she tried for it.

Maureen won every slam she played for 3 years barely losing sets, and never losing sets to main rivals. Seles lost many sets to women outside the top 20 in her slam wins as well as to main rivals.

Seles had a losing record to the World #2 during her 2+ year period of dominance, and had a lose to every other player in the top 6 during her best year ever (1992). That is a huge contrast to Maureen's monopoly over main rivals.

Lastly Maureen you get the impression could have and probably would have dominated tennis 12 years or longer. You never get that impression with Seles, and as it was she did continue her career and it made things increasingly clear she wasnt ever going to have an insane decade plus period of dominance easily imaginable for Maureen.

Maureen also did not have less competition. Maureen faced Hart, Brough, Du Pont, Fry, all at or near their bests. Seles had only Graf, who wasnt even playing that well around that time and whom she barely met.


As for Austin I dont get the idea people have she would have been a dominant player. Her success as a teenager was very impressive but she had a one dimensional baseline game and an incredibly weak serve. I could see her winning a few more majors perhaps, but she was never going to be as great as Navratilova or Evert had she stayed healthy long term, not even close.
 

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I always thought Martina deserved the number one spot in 1978, since she dominated the (Evert-less) Slims tour and played consistently well the entire season.

Chris played wonderful tennis, but probably 30 matches less than Martina. They were equal in terms of majors, 2 a piece. What was their head to head? 2-1 for Evert? Didn't World Tennis or Tennis Magazine give Evert the nod in their year-end rankings?
I felt Evert was still the true #1. When she played she was clearly better than Martina, except on grass where Martina was ever so slightly better after a long layoff for Evert. I agree with the ITF ranking Evert on top.
 

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To go back to the original question.If the present computer ranking system had been in place back in 1971 then I am pretty sure BJK would have ranked number 1 for 1971 rather than Goolagong.Based on number of matches/tournaments won for the year.BJK played week in week out that year compiling a large number of match wins.The situation was compounded by not all players playing the Virginia Slims Circuit. ie some top players not meeting all that frequently.Even after computer rankings were introduced in 1975 the end of year rankings were still assessed by "experts".Clearly the computer was not fully trusted in the 70s.For example in 1978 Evert was named number 1 by a panel and experts etc.Rightly in my view.But the computer had Martina at number one(Source World of Tennis Year Book).In 1977 Virginia Wade was ranked by a many at number 2(inc World of Tennis Yearbook) but had a computer ranking of 4.I think the computerised version is more robust now and prevents the subjectivity of the "experts".
 

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1952-54 Maureen Connolly vs 1991-1993 Monica Seles
I'm unconvinced Connolly shows she is better than Seles. Undoubtedly Connolly was more dominant over the field she faced - 9 striaght GS level wins, however there is little doubt in my mind that Seles faced much stiffer competition. At the GS in pre-QF (or maybe pre-SF) play, Connolly faced much weaker competition, the money was not there to attract the vast talent pool that exists today (and in the 90's) among the lower ranks. In 1953 there would have been, at best, hundreds of players vying to play the "tour", now there are thousands.
At the top of the game were Hart, Osborne, Brough, and Fry (and maybe Mortimer and Gibson). Mortimer and Gibson had not come into their own as top players yet. 1953 birthdays put Hart at 28, Osborne at 35, Brough at 30, Fry at 26. I would say Hart, Osborne, and Brough, by still being at the top at past-their-prime ages, show the weakness of the field. Only Fry is in her prime and she had (at that point) won a French title. Certainly she is no match for Steffi Graf - Seles' chief rival. Nor is Doris Hart.
It was impressive that Connolly won the 1953 Slam and dominated the field - but I'd say the field was ripe for picking.
Compare this to the early 90's. Navratilova was still making Wim, US, and YEC finals. She easily trumps Brough (who won Wim 1955). Graf more than takes out Hart. I would argue that Sabatini in 1992, who was in her prime, was a far greater threat than the aged Osborne DuPont in 1953. That leaves Fry who is probably a toss up with SanchezVicario.
I would say that the top 5 was much deeper in 1992 than 1953, and after the top 5, 1992 is vastly deeper.
At the end of the day, I consider Connolly one of the all time greats and mourn her untimely retirement. Without doubt she was more dominant over her contemporaries than Seles was, but Seles faced an army, and Connolly faced a tribe.
 

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1971 Goolagong vs King
It is far from clear to me that King would be ranked #1 in "today's computer rankings." Given the best of 15 (or whatever it is now) system, I think Goolagong's 11 tournament victories and 2000, 2000, 1400 point slam finishes would likely trump whatever points King's record would generate. BJK would undoubtedly suffer for scoring 0's at mandatory slam events.

But obviously, the tour then is not comparable to today and any attempt to wrestle it into today's ranking system is highly artificial.

What IS important, I think, is what contemporaries thought about it. The contemporaneous vote seems to have gone overwhelmingly with Goolagong. In this the Wimbledon title, I think, cannot be underestimated.

Although the World Championship label was dropped in 1924, it still lived on in people's minds as THE tournament. As long as most people and the players thought of it as the most important tournament, it was. If everyone is saying, "this is the de facto world championship" and player X wins it, then most people will think that player is #1 for that year - even the other players - since they have attached that significance to Wimbledon. It would take enormous shortcomings in the Wimbledon winner's record for that year or heroic accomplishments by some other player to displace the #1 notion in the public's (and players') mind. At some point in the late 70's early 80's this had shifted - Chris Evert may in fact be responsible - but in 1971 the importance of Wimbledon for yearend #1 was still huge and should not be underestimated.

At the end of the day, however, what is key in the 1971 #1 debate is the viewpoints of the contemporaries, and here we must side, I believe, with Goolagong.
 

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1952-54 Maureen Connolly vs 1991-1993 Monica Seles
I'm unconvinced Connolly shows she is better than Seles. Undoubtedly Connolly was more dominant over the field she faced - 9 striaght GS level wins, however there is little doubt in my mind that Seles faced much stiffer competition. At the GS in pre-QF (or maybe pre-SF) play, Connolly faced much weaker competition, the money was not there to attract the vast talent pool that exists today (and in the 90's) among the lower ranks. In 1953 there would have been, at best, hundreds of players vying to play the "tour", now there are thousands.
At the top of the game were Hart, Osborne, Brough, and Fry (and maybe Mortimer and Gibson). Mortimer and Gibson had not come into their own as top players yet. 1953 birthdays put Hart at 28, Osborne at 35, Brough at 30, Fry at 26. I would say Hart, Osborne, and Brough, by still being at the top at past-their-prime ages, show the weakness of the field. Only Fry is in her prime and she had (at that point) won a French title. Certainly she is no match for Steffi Graf - Seles' chief rival. Nor is Doris Hart.
It was impressive that Connolly won the 1953 Slam and dominated the field - but I'd say the field was ripe for picking.
Compare this to the early 90's. Navratilova was still making Wim, US, and YEC finals. She easily trumps Brough (who won Wim 1955). Graf more than takes out Hart. I would argue that Sabatini in 1992, who was in her prime, was a far greater threat than the aged Osborne DuPont in 1953. That leaves Fry who is probably a toss up with SanchezVicario.
I would say that the top 5 was much deeper in 1992 than 1953, and after the top 5, 1992 is vastly deeper.
At the end of the day, I consider Connolly one of the all time greats and mourn her untimely retirement. Without doubt she was more dominant over her contemporaries than Seles was, but Seles faced an army, and Connolly faced a tribe.
Graf wasnt playing well at all at the time while Hart was playing her best tennis ever. I would be surprised if the 91-92 version of Graf was better than Hart at her career peak. If it wasnt for Connolly, Hart would have had her best years ever during that period. If even Sabatini was probably better than Graf from late 90-mid 92 than Hart who is far superior to Sabatini most likely would have been.

Brough was not nearly as old or far past her prime around then as Navratilova was in the early 90s.

I agree Fry and Sanchez are similar.

I dont think Seles had tougher competition really. A slumping Graf who she barely played (and still usually lost to when she did), a mid 30s Martina close to retirement, a still developing Sanchez Vicario, and 1 slam winner Sabatini. Still a decent field, but nothing anything more than Connolly faced.
 

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1978 Navratilova vs Evert
As I have argued in my preceding post, the importance of Wimbledon was very significant in past times for determining #1. I think that in 1978 we see the the dissolving of that trend. The conventional thought line would be that since Navratilova took the "world championship" (historically regarded only and lower case since it was certainly unofficial) title that year, and since her record was nearly/arguably as good as Evert's that year, MN should be regarded as #1. However Evert had upset that notion recently in 1975 and 1977 by clearly being the best player and not winning Wim.

The test was in 1978 when it was close - how important was Wimbledon? It has been argued eloquently here that Evert's record for the year was stronger and more consistent, that she was the reigning #1, etc, and I tend to agree. But the vote was split among contemporaries in part, I believe, because of the high importance attached to Wimbledon. In the end I believe Evert carried the day on the majority of lists (although perhaps I am mistaken??) and it is the contemporary opinion (I have argued) that is important.
 

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Graf wasnt playing well at all at the time while Hart was playing her best tennis ever. I would be surprised if the 91-92 version of Graf was better than Hart at her career peak. If it wasnt for Connolly, Hart would have had her best years ever during that period.
I would be willing to bet a great deal on the 1991-92 Graf vs the 1953 Hart (just mho)
 

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1952-54 Maureen Connolly vs 1991-1993 Monica Seles
I'm unconvinced Connolly shows she is better than Seles. Undoubtedly Connolly was more dominant over the field she faced - 9 striaght GS level wins, however there is little doubt in my mind that Seles faced much stiffer competition. At the GS in pre-QF (or maybe pre-SF) play, Connolly faced much weaker competition, the money was not there to attract the vast talent pool that exists today (and in the 90's) among the lower ranks. In 1953 there would have been, at best, hundreds of players vying to play the "tour", now there are thousands.
At the top of the game were Hart, Osborne, Brough, and Fry (and maybe Mortimer and Gibson). Mortimer and Gibson had not come into their own as top players yet. 1953 birthdays put Hart at 28, Osborne at 35, Brough at 30, Fry at 26. I would say Hart, Osborne, and Brough, by still being at the top at past-their-prime ages, show the weakness of the field. Only Fry is in her prime and she had (at that point) won a French title. Certainly she is no match for Steffi Graf - Seles' chief rival. Nor is Doris Hart.
It was impressive that Connolly won the 1953 Slam and dominated the field - but I'd say the field was ripe for picking.
Compare this to the early 90's. Navratilova was still making Wim, US, and YEC finals. She easily trumps Brough (who won Wim 1955). Graf more than takes out Hart. I would argue that Sabatini in 1992, who was in her prime, was a far greater threat than the aged Osborne DuPont in 1953. That leaves Fry who is probably a toss up with SanchezVicario.
I would say that the top 5 was much deeper in 1992 than 1953, and after the top 5, 1992 is vastly deeper.
At the end of the day, I consider Connolly one of the all time greats and mourn her untimely retirement. Without doubt she was more dominant over her contemporaries than Seles was, but Seles faced an army, and Connolly faced a tribe.
This is the WRONG thread for a Seles versus Connolly Brinker debate.
 

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1978 Navratilova vs Evert
As I have argued in my preceding post, the importance of Wimbledon was very significant in past times for determining #1. I think that in 1978 we see the the dissolving of that trend. The conventional thought line would be that since Navratilova took the "world championship" (historically regarded only and lower case since it was certainly unofficial) title that year, and since her record was nearly/arguably as good as Evert's that year, MN should be regarded as #1. However Evert had upset that notion recently in 1975 and 1977 by clearly being the best player and not winning Wim.

The test was in 1978 when it was close - how important was Wimbledon? It has been argued eloquently here that Evert's record for the year was stronger and more consistent, that she was the reigning #1, etc, and I tend to agree. But the vote was split among contemporaries in part, I believe, because of the high importance attached to Wimbledon. In the end I believe Evert carried the day on the majority of lists (although perhaps I am mistaken??) and it is the contemporary opinion (I have argued) that is important.
This is the WRONG thread for yet another Navratilova versus Evert 1978 debate. Go to this thread instead: http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=208033&page=7
 

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I can confirm that following several board meetings during the year, the WTA tested a ranking system throughout 1975 to determine tournament acceptances before going live with it on November 4, 1975. I also have seen several sources say the WTA rankings start in 1973 about 10 years ago but this is INCORRECT. Since the ATP's system went live in 1973, some correspondents assumed the WTA's also did at the same time but as we all know that did not happen.
I've always thought this was the case, just a bit of sloppiness on the part of some, thinking that if the ATP had computer rankings in 1973, the WTA must have too.

Two points related to Goolagong: The pre-1984 ranking method (called the Jenkins system) was complicated and ever-changing. The ranking values for each tournament varied according to the strength of the field, unlike systems since 1984 where the values were designated according to prize money levels. For instance, nearly all of the Virginia Slims indoor events carried the same points values as Wimbledon and Forest Hills since all of the top players were entered. That's why Evonne was able to briefly overtake Chris between the 1976 Slims Championship and 1976 Hilton Head (as Chris also lost her points for the 1975 FCC Cup at the same time, which was held a week later in 1976. Also considered in this method was the average ranking of opponents defeated during a tourney. If this was higher one year and lower the next, you could drop points. Likewise if you lost to someone who was ranked much lower than you (No. 1 Evert losing to No. 20 Fromholtz in the 1r of Boston really hurt your ranking if that didn't normally happen to you, for some reason, while Evonne had a tendency to lose to lesser ranked individuals, so this was considered into their overall performance). You can see why the WTA first lobbied to change this in 1978 because players couldn't follow it, again in 1981 following Mandlikova's No. 5 debacle, before finally finding a system the membership agreed on (devised by James Broder during 1983) and that was implemented following the March Slims Championships in 1984.
THANK YOU for this explanation! It comes closest to anything I've ever read on how the rankings were first calculated, pre-1984. I still wish the WTA would have kept more explicit records, to actually show the bi-weekly calculations.

I guess I find it hard to believe that in the 1970s, the WTA would consider Virginia Slims events equivalent to Wimbledon and Forest Hills. Granted most Slims events had the top players entered, they were still 32 draw events. And when you review actual entrants (not including the withdrawals that did occur regularly), there is just no way that Slims events should have been equal to Wimbledon or Forest Hills. The VS Championships I could see, but not all Slims events. And while I like the idea of a ranking system where tournament points are based on the strength of field, I kind of wonder how the WTA would have been able to accurately rank and determine strength of fields back in 1976.

As much as I like Evonne Goolagong, and think it's wonderful that she was belated credited with a brief stint as #1, I think it does strain credibility that she was #1 in April 1976, if you are talking about a 12 month ranking system. You'd have to go back and review both Evert and Goolagong's record from May 1975-April 1976 to see the number of tournaments both competed in that Chris clearly had the superior record. So while I understand that the 1R Boston loss to Fromholtz could have affected Evert's ranking a bit, Evert still had a lead in their H2H. And looking at the year end rankings from 1975: Evert 14.936 points vs Evonne's 9.354 (which incidentally is different from the WTA Media Guide, which lists Evert with 15.79 points and Evonne with 9.74), it is still hard to fathom how Evonne could have overtaken Chris. Even for 2 weeks. And how the 1976 Family Circle Cup win would have vaulted Evert past Evonne again. The 1976 FCC didn't have a very strong draw, certainly not equal to any of the Slims events.

Not saying you or the WTA is wrong. Just saying that it was actually difficult to make big leaps in the rankings on the old WTA ranking system. Regardless, at least as of April 1976 - if you were just going by year-to-date results, Evonne did deserve that best in the world designation. I think it made their 1976 Wimbledon final even all the more intriguing. It truly was a battle for #1. Probably one of the few times in history where a Wimbledon final between #1 and #2 was so tense and close, and that the victor emerged as the #1 player for the year, with a tough, but well earned close win.

Regarding the 1971 year-end rankings, the reason I gave BJK the nod over Goolagong in my own non-official ranking list was because of the following:
1. During the year King had an an approximate 39-11 record vs. Top 10 opposition, while Evonne could only muster approximately 11-9.
2. King failed to reach the final only seven times in 31 tries, winning 17 titles, losing only to nine players - and Nell Truman (not including her retirement vs. Evert) was her only non-Top 10 loss.
3. Evonne told me herself that she never felt like the world's best player at the end of 1971, but only did in April 1976, which prompted me to look into the WTA's early ranking archive properly in late 2007 (why no one else before bothered was beyond me).
4. Apart from Wimbledon and Melbourne, Gong was a consistent runner-up to Margaret Court during the first seven months of the year, and post Wimbledon when the pressure was on her she suffered some losses. For example: 1971 Hoylake - a WT Women's Pro Tour event (one of only three all year to feature the the big three Court, King and Gong entered, after Hurlingham and Wimbledon) was particularly interesting with the Australian losing in 70 mins to Patti Hogan in the QF while King defeated Wade, Court and Casals to win the title. Again at the end of the year (granted Evonne didn't like playing indoors, but King was also exhausted), with both women playing the British Indoors, Gong fell in the SF to Durr while King came from mp and 2-5 down in the final set to take the title over her 1971-72 nemesis, Durr. Evonne didn't play the US Open, but King did and had to survive the second biggest pressure match of her career in the SF (which reduced her to tears in the locker-room BEFORE the match, knowing the entire future of the WT Women's Pro Tour circuit rested on her shoulders) to come through magnificently against Evert.
5. Taking Wimbledon out (Gong only beat sixth seed Durr en route to her French Open, from a field that had six of the Top 10) Evonne did not have a dominating year. Sure she won 11 other titles but these were not against Top flight opposition contested on primarily the British and Australian provincial circuits. I am a huge fan of Evonne's and no player has ever looked so graceful on the court but looking objectively at their two records during the year, in my humble opinion King had the edge, albeit it a MARGINAL one.
Agree with your assessment of King #1 over Goolagong in 1971. I do think at the time, sportswriters were fascinated with Evonne. And taken in by her quick succession of wins in Paris and Wimbledon, which included straight set triumphs over King and Court. But on balance, King had the better year, and deserved #1.

As with any pre-1975 ranking system (and turns out increasingly since 2004 on the WTA's side the lack of clear-cut No. 1s) any system is open to debate and this is the whole fun of varying opinions. If we all agreed, it would be very boring.
Yes!
 
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