Will this give an advantage or a disadvantage?
It will help Hingis first of all, who plays all Slam and Tier I events. Williamses. who played 2 and 3 Tier Is correspondingly ( and that's a lot for them , last year Venus played 1 Tier I, Serena played 2 ) will be the most hurt. Becuase the sisters tend not to play same events, and play very lttle Tier Is, it will hurt them. <hr></blockquote>
<br />Umm ys, don't you think the Williames will adjust their schedules with the change??? Don't start counting them out yet... I'll bet you that they will use the change to their advantage <img src="tongue.gif" border="0">
Umm ys, don't you think the Williames will adjust their schedules with the change??? Don't start counting them out yet... I'll bet you that they will use the change to their advantage <hr></blockquote>
People say that Venus and Serena can get to #1 and #2 if only they'd play enough events. Yet to this point, neither has seemed bothered to play anything close to enough events. (Yes, I know that's a bit of a loaded statement <img src="tongue.gif" border="0"> ) What's to say they'll suddenly start playing a schedule richer in Tier 1's now?
Note that for all I know (which when it comes to the upcoming plans of the Williamses is next to nothing!), they might well go out an do just that. It's just that they haven't done so in the past.
However, the move to make Indian Wells and Key Biscayne worth more than other Tier 1's will of course help the Williams Sisters, and anybody else who does best on the faster American hardcourts (I'd guess a healthy Davenport, Clijsters, Seles, and Dementieva for starters).
If they wanted to make the strongest events worth more, they should have redone the formula so that Quality Points are a greater proportion of a player's total points, not just increased the round points.
Finally, the new points scheme will help one player (like Mandula this year) who gets lucky and has her one great result at a Slam. Indeed, such a player will be helped more this year than in years past now that the Tier 3 and 4 events have been downgraded in terms of points. Looking at Mandula's result at Roland Garros she received 262 points for reaching the Quarters. That would be worth slightly more than winning a Tier 3 in 2001. Under the new scheme, she'd get almost 300 points, which will be worth something closer to winning a Tier 3 *and* reaching the finals of a second Tier 3. This obviously doesn't mean much for the high-ranked players, but for the lower-ranked players, it's a *huge* deal.
This new points system overvalues North American hardcourts, IMO. In a way, it favors Davenport (who seems to avoid clay) and both Williamses as well as anyone else who's more proficient on the surface and hurts someone like Mauresmo who prefers everything else. Then again, it's the same rules being applied to everyone.<br /><hr></blockquote>
But it's the same *bad* rules being applied to everyone!
It should also be pointed out that there are fewer Tier 3 and below events on outdoor hardcourts (when compared to the Tier 2 and up events) than on clay. IIRC, last year there were 3 Tier 1's on hardcourt, 8 Tier 2's, and 10 Tour events below Tier 2 (not counting the cancelled Surabaya). On clay, however, it was 3 Tier 1s, 3 Tier 2s, and 15 events below Tier 2 (not counting the cancelled Warsaw). The practical effect of this is that it will be even easier for the players best on hardcourts to rack up big points on hardcourts, while clay-courters (especially the lower-ranked ones) will have a more difficult time of it.
I wonder whether both tours are still traumatized by Thomas Muster, who got to #1 almost entirely with clay-court results, that they want to *punish* clay-courters.
This system really wasn't designed to help the players but to help the WTA avoid further criticism in the media. <hr></blockquote>
You're absolutely right here! If the WTA is going to jigger with its ranking system, they should first ask themselves, "What do we want the #1 player to have done?" Under the divisor system, that meant having the best overall results. Under the additive system, that more or less means having the most good results (never mind the bad results). Now, I think #1 should have the best results on all surfaces (or as close to this as possible, which means a divisor-like system penalizing players who don't play on all surfaces, with some relief for players who help the tour by playing more than the minimum number of events -- get rid of something like one out of every three events more than the minimum played). What the WTA seems to have done at the end of this year is say, "We don't like how the race for #1 ended. What changes to the current system would have made the race turn out 'right'?" And they changed the system in that way.
As I've pointed out before, if they really want to make the strongest events more important, make the Quality Points more important, not the Round Points. If you make Round Points at certain events too important, you're going to end up with a ranking system like the ATP's where men are practically tanking non-Masters Series events because those events almost won't count for their ranking. The WTA ought to look to the PGA Tour in this regard. It's almost as big a deal to hold off Tiger Woods (or Duval, Mickelson, Garcia, etc.) at Pebble Beach or the Western Open as it would be to hold him off at the Masters or British Open. Events like the Greater Hartford Open or the Greensboro Open are considered lesser not because they offer less prize money, but because the field isn't as good. And golf has become much more popular for this.
Of course, there still remains the question of how we get the rest of the WTA tour the same TV exposure that minor PGA events like the Greater Hartford Open get. <img src="frown.gif" border="0">