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#1 Without a Bullet

This week or (in the worst possible case) next, Maria Sharapova can look forward to gaining the #1 ranking from Lindsay Davenport. Sharapova will be #1 without currently holding a Slam; she has the year-end Championships and a weak Tier I title (Pan Pacific), plus assorted small titles.

Davenport has no Slams either, though she has some finals.

And Davenport replaced Amelie Mauresmo, who had no Slam titles either.

We aren't going to debate whether it is "right" for a player to be #1 without a Slam; we could give good reasons why it has to be possible if the ranking system is to work, but that doesn't mean it has to be easy.

The question became serious at the end of January 2000, when Martina Hingis failed to defend her Australian Open title and became #1 without a Slam. Since then, counting next week when Sharapova takes the top spot, we have had 247 ranking periods (that's not weeks, since some of them cover two-week periods; it's the number of ranking lists that have been released). In slightly more than half of those ranking periods -- 131 of them -- we've had a #1 without a Slam. Clijsters managed it for twelve ranking periods, Davenport for 43, Hingis for 70, Mauresmo for five, and now Sharapova will have at least one (and counting).

The list (sorted by date):

DATE......PLAYER
1/30/00..Hingis, Martina
2/6/00..Hingis, Martina
2/13/00..Hingis, Martina
2/21/00..Hingis, Martina
2/28/00..Hingis, Martina
3/6/00..Hingis, Martina
3/20/00..Hingis, Martina
5/8/00..Hingis, Martina
5/22/00..Hingis, Martina
5/29/00..Hingis, Martina
6/12/00..Hingis, Martina
6/19/00..Hingis, Martina
6/26/00..Hingis, Martina
7/10/00..Hingis, Martina
7/17/00..Hingis, Martina
7/24/00..Hingis, Martina
7/31/00..Hingis, Martina
8/7/00..Hingis, Martina
8/12/00..Hingis, Martina
8/14/00..Hingis, Martina
8/27/00..Hingis, Martina
9/11/00..Hingis, Martina
9/18/00..Hingis, Martina
9/25/00..Hingis, Martina
10/2/00..Hingis, Martina
10/9/00..Hingis, Martina
10/16/00..Hingis, Martina
10/23/00..Hingis, Martina
10/29/00..Hingis, Martina
11/5/00..Hingis, Martina
11/13/00..Hingis, Martina
11/20/00..Hingis, Martina
11/27/00..Hingis, Martina
12/4/00..Hingis, Martina
12/11/00..Hingis, Martina
12/18/00..Hingis, Martina
1/8/01..Hingis, Martina
1/15/01..Hingis, Martina
1/29/01..Hingis, Martina
2/5/01..Hingis, Martina
2/12/01..Hingis, Martina
2/19/01..Hingis, Martina
2/26/01..Hingis, Martina
3/5/01..Hingis, Martina
3/19/01..Hingis, Martina
4/2/01..Hingis, Martina
4/9/01..Hingis, Martina
4/16/01..Hingis, Martina
4/23/01..Hingis, Martina
4/30/01..Hingis, Martina
5/7/01..Hingis, Martina
5/14/01..Hingis, Martina
5/20/01..Hingis, Martina
5/27/01..Hingis, Martina
6/10/01..Hingis, Martina
6/18/01..Hingis, Martina
6/25/01..Hingis, Martina
7/9/01..Hingis, Martina
7/16/01..Hingis, Martina
7/23/01..Hingis, Martina
7/30/01..Hingis, Martina
8/6/01..Hingis, Martina
8/13/01..Hingis, Martina
8/20/01..Hingis, Martina
8/27/01..Hingis, Martina
9/10/01..Hingis, Martina
9/17/01..Hingis, Martina
9/24/01..Hingis, Martina
10/1/01..Hingis, Martina
10/8/01..Hingis, Martina
11/5/01..Davenport, Lindsay
11/12/01..Davenport, Lindsay
11/19/01..Davenport, Lindsay
11/26/01..Davenport, Lindsay
12/3/01..Davenport, Lindsay
12/10/01..Davenport, Lindsay
12/17/01..Davenport, Lindsay
1/7/02..Davenport, Lindsay
8/11/03..Clijsters, Kim
8/17/03..Clijsters, Kim
8/24/03..Clijsters, Kim
9/8/03..Clijsters, Kim
9/15/03..Clijsters, Kim
9/22/03..Clijsters, Kim
9/28/03..Clijsters, Kim
10/5/03..Clijsters, Kim
10/12/03..Clijsters, Kim
10/27/03..Clijsters, Kim
11/2/03..Clijsters, Kim
9/12/04..Mauresmo, Amelie
9/19/04..Mauresmo, Amelie
9/27/04..Mauresmo, Amelie
10/3/04..Mauresmo, Amelie
10/11/04..Mauresmo, Amelie
10/17/04..Davenport, Lindsay
10/25/04..Davenport, Lindsay
10/31/04..Davenport, Lindsay
11/7/04..Davenport, Lindsay
11/16/04..Davenport, Lindsay
11/22/04..Davenport, Lindsay
11/29/04..Davenport, Lindsay
12/6/04..Davenport, Lindsay
12/13/04..Davenport, Lindsay
12/20/04..Davenport, Lindsay
12/27/04..Davenport, Lindsay
1/10/05..Davenport, Lindsay
1/17/05..Davenport, Lindsay
1/30/05..Davenport, Lindsay
2/7/05..Davenport, Lindsay
2/13/05..Davenport, Lindsay
2/21/05..Davenport, Lindsay
2/27/05..Davenport, Lindsay
3/6/05..Davenport, Lindsay
3/21/05..Davenport, Lindsay
4/3/05..Davenport, Lindsay
4/11/05..Davenport, Lindsay
4/17/05..Davenport, Lindsay
4/24/05..Davenport, Lindsay
5/2/05..Davenport, Lindsay
5/9/05..Davenport, Lindsay
5/16/05..Davenport, Lindsay
5/23/05..Davenport, Lindsay
6/5/05..Davenport, Lindsay
6/13/05..Davenport, Lindsay
6/19/05..Davenport, Lindsay
7/4/05..Davenport, Lindsay
7/11/05..Davenport, Lindsay
7/18/05..Davenport, Lindsay
7/24/05..Davenport, Lindsay
7/31/05..Davenport, Lindsay
8/7/05..Davenport, Lindsay
8/14/05..(probably) Sharapova, Maria

But there is another interesting point here. For whatever reason, the trend is for it to get easier to become #1 without a Slam. Let us demonstrate: The following table shows the dates and players (same list as above), but with the point totals that made them #1.

Date......Player........Points
1/30/00..Hingis..........5793
2/6/00..Hingis..........5734
2/13/00..Hingis..........5734
2/21/00..Hingis..........5734
2/28/00..Hingis..........5684
3/6/00..Hingis..........5823
3/20/00..Hingis..........6005
5/8/00..Hingis..........6181
5/22/00..Hingis..........5982
5/29/00..Hingis..........5982
6/12/00..Hingis..........5816
6/19/00..Hingis..........5816
6/26/00..Hingis..........6000
7/10/00..Hingis..........6145
7/17/00..Hingis..........6145
7/24/00..Hingis..........6145
7/31/00..Hingis..........6145
8/7/00..Hingis..........5918
8/12/00..Hingis..........5884
8/14/00..Hingis..........5914
8/27/00..Hingis..........5884
9/11/00..Hingis..........5684
9/18/00..Hingis..........5684
9/25/00..Hingis..........5684
10/2/00..Hingis..........5684
10/9/00..Hingis..........5662
10/16/00..Hingis..........5812
10/23/00..Hingis..........5812
10/29/00..Hingis..........6051
11/5/00..Hingis..........6051
11/13/00..Hingis..........6050
11/20/00..Hingis..........6180
11/27/00..Hingis..........6180
12/4/00..Hingis..........6180
12/11/00..Hingis..........6180
12/18/00..Hingis..........6180
1/8/01..Hingis..........6044
1/15/01..Hingis..........6252
1/29/01..Hingis..........6248
2/5/01..Hingis..........6105
2/12/01..Hingis..........6105
2/19/01..Hingis..........6134
2/26/01..Hingis..........6202
3/5/01..Hingis..........6176
3/19/01..Hingis..........6013
4/2/01..Hingis..........5763
4/9/01..Hingis..........5763
4/16/01..Hingis..........5763
4/23/01..Hingis..........5860
4/30/01..Hingis..........5860
5/7/01..Hingis..........5725
5/14/01..Hingis..........5725
5/20/01..Hingis..........5725
5/27/01..Hingis..........5725
6/10/01..Hingis..........5685
6/18/01..Hingis..........5685
6/25/01..Hingis..........5681
7/9/01..Hingis..........5577
7/16/01..Hingis..........5577
7/23/01..Hingis..........5577
7/30/01..Hingis..........5577
8/6/01..Hingis..........5577
8/13/01..Hingis..........5577
8/20/01..Hingis..........5342
8/27/01..Hingis..........5342
9/10/01..Hingis..........5256
9/17/01..Hingis..........5256
9/24/01..Hingis..........5256
10/1/01..Hingis..........5256
10/8/01..Hingis..........5100
11/5/01..Davenport.......4902
11/12/01..Davenport.......4902
11/19/01..Davenport.......4902
11/26/01..Davenport.......4902
12/3/01..Davenport.......4902
12/10/01..Davenport.......4902
12/17/01..Davenport.......4902
1/7/02..Davenport.......4902
8/11/03..Clijsters.......6039
8/17/03..Clijsters.......6039
8/24/03..Clijsters.......6039
9/8/03..Clijsters.......6589
9/15/03..Clijsters.......6589
9/22/03..Clijsters.......6579
9/28/03..Clijsters.......6579
10/5/03..Clijsters.......6579
10/12/03..Clijsters.......6584
10/27/03..Clijsters.......6596
11/2/03..Clijsters.......6596
9/12/04..Mauresmo........4527
9/19/04..Mauresmo........4527
9/27/04..Mauresmo........4527
10/3/04..Mauresmo........4242
10/11/04..Mauresmo........4395
10/17/04..Davenport.......4546
10/25/04..Davenport.......4546
10/31/04..Davenport.......4546
11/7/04..Davenport.......4546
11/16/04..Davenport.......4760
11/22/04..Davenport.......4760
11/29/04..Davenport.......4760
12/6/04..Davenport.......4760
12/13/04..Davenport.......4760
12/20/04..Davenport.......4760
12/27/04..Davenport.......4760
1/10/05..Davenport.......4760
1/17/05..Davenport.......4666
1/30/05..Davenport.......5058
&n! bsp; 2/7/05..Davenport.......4965
2/13/05..Davenport.......4965
2/21/05..Davenport.......4965
2/27/05..Davenport.......4965
3/6/05..Davenport.......5161
3/21/05..Davenport.......5233
4/3/05..Davenport.......5233
4/11/05..Davenport.......5184
4/17/05..Davenport.......5169
4/24/05..Davenport.......5169
5/2/05..Davenport.......5169
5/9/05..Davenport.......5169
5/16/05..Davenport.......5169
5/23/05..Davenport.......5105
6/5/05..Davenport.......5247
6/13/05..Davenport.......5247
6/19/05..Davenport.......5247
7/4/05..Davenport.......5613
7/11/05..Davenport.......5613
7/18/05..Davenport.......5331
7/24/05..Davenport.......4935
7/31/05..Davenport.......4475
8/7/05..Davenport.......4475
8/14/05..Sharapova?......4475+

This, however, is a distorted picture. The WTA instituted a point-inflated ranking table in 2002. This increased players' points by an average of about 8%. We aren't going to calculate every player's actual points, but we'll inflate the 2000 and 2001 totals by that 8% value. That gives us this list of what these #1-without-a-Slam players would have had under the current points table:

Date......Player........Points
1/30/00..Hingis..........6256
2/6/00..Hingis..........6193
2/13/00..Hingis..........6193
2/21/00..Hingis..........6193
2/28/00..Hingis..........6139
3/6/00..Hingis..........6289
3/20/00..Hingis..........6485
5/8/00..Hingis..........6675
5/22/00..Hingis..........6461
5/29/00..Hingis..........6461
6/12/00..Hingis..........6281
6/19/00..Hingis..........6281
6/26/00..Hingis..........6480
7/10/00..Hingis..........6637
7/17/00..Hingis..........6637
7/24/00..Hingis..........6637
7/31/00..Hingis..........6637
8/7/00..Hingis..........6391
8/12/00..Hingis..........6355
8/14/00..Hingis..........6387
8/27/00..Hingis..........6355
9/11/00..Hingis..........6139
9/18/00..Hingis..........6139
9/25/00..Hingis..........6139
10/2/00..Hingis..........6139
10/9/00..Hingis..........6115
10/16/00..Hingis..........6277
10/23/00..Hingis..........6277
10/29/00..Hingis..........6535
11/5/00..Hingis..........6535
11/13/00..Hingis..........6534
11/20/00..Hingis..........6674
11/27/00..Hingis..........6674
12/4/00..Hingis..........6674
12/11/00..Hingis..........6674
12/18/00..Hingis..........6674
1/8/01..Hingis..........6528
1/15/01..Hingis..........6752
1/29/01..Hingis..........6748
2/5/01..Hingis..........6593
2/12/01..Hingis..........6593
2/19/01..Hingis..........6625
2/26/01..Hingis..........6698
3/5/01..Hingis..........6670
3/19/01..Hingis..........6494
4/2/01..Hingis..........6224
4/9/01..Hingis..........6224
4/16/01..Hingis..........6224
4/23/01..Hingis..........6329
4/30/01..Hingis..........6329
5/7/01..Hingis..........6183
5/14/01..Hingis..........6183
5/20/01..Hingis..........6183
5/27/01..Hingis..........6183
6/10/01..Hingis..........6140
6/18/01..Hingis..........6140
6/25/01..Hingis..........6135
7/9/01..Hingis..........6023
7/16/01..Hingis..........6023
7/23/01..Hingis..........6023
7/30/01..Hingis..........6023
8/6/01..Hingis..........6023
8/13/01..Hingis..........6023
8/20/01..Hingis..........5769
8/27/01..Hingis..........5769
9/10/01..Hingis..........5676
9/17/01..Hingis..........5676
9/24/01..Hingis..........5676
10/1/01..Hingis..........5676
10/8/01..Hingis..........5508
11/5/01..Davenport.......5294
11/12/01..Davenport.......5294
11/19/01..Davenport.......5294
11/26/01..Davenport.......5294
12/3/01..Davenport.......5294
12/10/01..Davenport.......5294
12/17/01..Davenport.......5294
1/7/02..Davenport.......5294
8/11/03..Clijsters.......6039
8/17/03..Clijsters.......6039
8/24/03..Clijsters.......6039
9/8/03..Clijsters.......6589
9/15/03..Clijsters.......6589
9/22/03..Clijsters.......6579
9/28/03..Clijsters.......6579
10/5/03..Clijsters.......6579
10/12/03..Clijsters.......6584
10/27/03..Clijsters.......6596
11/2/03..Clijsters.......6596
9/12/04..Mauresmo........4527
9/19/04..Mauresmo........4527
9/27/04..Mauresmo........4527
10/3/04..Mauresmo........4242
10/11/04..Mauresmo........4395
10/17/04..Davenport.......4546
10/25/04..Davenport.......4546
10/31/04..Davenport.......4546
11/7/04..Davenport.......4546
11/16/04..Davenport.......4760
11/22/04..Davenport.......4760
11/29/04..Davenport.......4760
12/6/04..Davenport.......4760
12/13/04..Davenport.......4760
12/20/04..Davenport.......4760
12/27/04..Davenport.......4760
1/10/05..Davenport.......4760
1/17/05..Davenport.......4666
1/30/05..Davenport.......5058
&n! bsp; 2/7/05..Davenport.......4965
2/13/05..Davenport.......4965
2/21/05..Davenport.......4965
2/27/05..Davenport.......4965
3/6/05..Davenport.......5161
3/21/05..Davenport.......5233
4/3/05..Davenport.......5233
4/11/05..Davenport.......5184
4/17/05..Davenport.......5169
4/24/05..Davenport.......5169
5/2/05..Davenport.......5169
5/9/05..Davenport.......5169
5/16/05..Davenport.......5169
5/23/05..Davenport.......5105
6/5/05..Davenport.......5247
6/13/05..Davenport.......5247
6/19/05..Davenport.......5247
7/4/05..Davenport.......5613
7/11/05..Davenport.......5613
7/18/05..Davenport.......5331
7/24/05..Davenport.......4935
7/31/05..Davenport.......4475
8/7/05..Sharapova.......4452

This is something we can graph. We aren't going to bother labelling this in detail. The graph simply shows the point total for the #1 player at the end of each month since (the end of) January 2000. If the #1 player that month had a Slam, the column is left blank. Each asterisk represents 200 points; the ticks are at 1000s, with the top of the graph being at 7000. To show who is #1, we've used the player's initial in the graph -- that is, the columns with "H" in them represent time when Hingis was #1, D represents Davenport, C Clijsters, M Mauresmo; Sharapova does not yet appear, but she is right around where Davenport was at the end of July.

7------------:-----------:-----------:-----------:-----------:--------
| :H : : : :
| H HHHHH : : CC : :
| H HHHH HHHHHHH : : CC : :
|HHH HHHHHHHHHHHHHH : : CC : :
6-HHH-HHHHHHHHHHHHHHH----:-----------:-------CCC-:-----------:--------
|HHH HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH : : CCC : :
|HHH HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH : : CCC : :
|HHH HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH : : CCC : :
|HHH HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH DD : CCC : : DDDD
5-HHH-HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH-DD-----------:-------CCC-:-----------DDDDD--
|HHH HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH DDDD : CCC : DDDDDDDD
|HHH HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH DDDD : CCC : MDDDDDDDDD
|HHH HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH DDDD : CCC : MDDDDDDDDDD
|HHH HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH DDDD : CCC : MDDDDDDDDDD
4-HHH-HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH-DDDD---------:-------CCC-:--------MDDDDDDDDDD-
|HHH HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH DDDD : CCC : MDDDDDDDDDD
|HHH HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH DDDD : CCC : MDDDDDDDDDD
|HHH HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH DDDD : CCC : MDDDDDDDDDD
|HHH HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH DDDD : CCC : MDDDDDDDDDD
3-HHH-HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH-DDDD---------:-------CCC-:--------MDDDDDDDDDD-
|HHH HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH DDDD : CCC : MDDDDDDDDDD
|HHH HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH DDDD : CCC : MDDDDDDDDDD
|HHH HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH DDDD : CCC : MDDDDDDDDDD
|HHH HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH DDDD : CCC : MDDDDDDDDDD
2-HHH-HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH-DDDD---------:-------CCC-:--------MDDDDDDDDDD-
|HHH HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH DDDD : CCC : MDDDDDDDDDD
|HHH HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH DDDD : CCC : MDDDDDDDDDD
|HHH HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH DDDD : CCC : MDDDDDDDDDD
|HHH HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH DDDD : CCC : MDDDDDDDDDD
1-HHH-HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH-DDDD----------:------CCC--:-------MDDDDDDDDDD-
|HHH HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH DDDD : CCC : MDDDDDDDDDD
|HHH HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH DDDD : CCC : MDDDDDDDDDD
|HHH HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH DDDD : CCC : MDDDDDDDDDD
|HHH HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH DDDD : CCC : MDDDDDDDDDD
0------------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-----------+--------
12/2000 12/2001 12/2002 12/2003 12/2004

The obvious point here is how easy it has been, in the past year, to become #1 without a Slam. Davenport at her peak in this time barely exceeded the minimum for a previous #1 without a Slam (a figure she herself had set), and her total is even lower now.

Thus Davenport is now the equivalent of two whole Slams behind the best-ever #1 without a Slam (Hingis around the beginning of 2001). She's a Slam and a year-end Championships behind Clijsters two years ago. Further conclusions are left for the reader. The picture, though, is amazingly clear: Not only are we getting a #1 without a Slam, but we're getting a #1 who isn't really a threat, points-wise, to the former #1-without-a-Slam players.
 

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but so true
 

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Whether Masha hasn't won a Slam the past 12 months, that's irrelevant. At least she won a Slam at the AGE of 17, under the AER. How many players were top 5 ranked at the age of 17, under the AER? Without the AER, Masha would probably have made it sooner to number 1. It's a great achievement being World's number one at the AGE of 18.
 

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Isn't it all coincidental due to injuries and illness of the players who we would have expected to be #1 in a lot of these periods? Or are those injuries a result of overplaying and being pushed harder by a more competitive field of players? Surely competition is good? If we are in an era where nobody can hold on to #1 and the slams go to 4 different players, isn't that a sign that we have a higher overall level of play than when one player blitzes everyone else and becomes #1 with all 4 slams?
 

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I personally think there is too much emphasis on the Grand Slams - I mean, yeah, great tournaments, but why is someone that plays regularly through out the year, and plays well in general, is less than someone who wins a GS and then goes back into the oblivion that is injuries?
 

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agreed soporificeffect
 

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bandabou said:
#1 Without a Bullet

The picture, though, is amazingly clear: Not only are we getting a #1 without a Slam, but we're getting a #1 who isn't really a threat, points-wise, to the former #1-without-a-Slam players.
This is so true to date and the argument is well supported by the facts. Obviously there are people who are comforted by the mathematical computations rather than the actual achievements. For me, my joy comes when the coronation is done on the courts not by the media and computer. To each their own. :D
 

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soporificeffect said:
I personally think there is too much emphasis on the Grand Slams - I mean, yeah, great tournaments, but why is someone that plays regularly through out the year, and plays well in general, is less than someone who wins a GS and then goes back into the oblivion that is injuries?
How can there be too much emphasis on majors, when these are the primere tournaments in the sport? Remember the other tournaments are considered warm-up to the majors, that means players are getting ready for the more important tournaments. For majors you are contending with majority of the best in the sport for the most part, unlike other tournaments where there might be only one or two at any given time. The majors are the most important in tennis and your career will be judged by how many you were able to win and there is no dening this fact.
 

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What really needs to happen now is for Sharapova to win the U.S Open and redeem this travesty of a ranking system. Sharapova looks to be the only one with a good shot at ending the year number 1 and winning a slam. All the other slam winners doesn't look to be able to play enough to end the year number 1, and none of the other threats to become number 1 will win a slam.
 

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soporificeffect said:
I personally think there is too much emphasis on the Grand Slams - I mean, yeah, great tournaments, but why is someone that plays regularly through out the year, and plays well in general, is less than someone who wins a GS and then goes back into the oblivion that is injuries?

Because grandslams in tennis are like winning the superbowl, the nba championships, etc etc etc.

So you would say a team that does well in the season but doesnt make the playoffs and doesnt win the superbowl should somehow deemed more worthy than someone who does? That makes no sense.
 

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This discussion will be moot once Justine wins the U.S. Open and goes on to win the Aussie, won't it??:rolleyes: Which she, of course will do.:angel:

Anyway, I kind of agree that no player has taken over in the past couple of years. Seems like a different player wins each Slam and then that player goes on to do absolutely nothing the rest of the year (Sveta, Myskina, Serena, Maria). Somebody has to be #1.:lol: Might as well be Maria. She has at least won a Slam more recently than Lindsay. And, Lord knows, anybody is more worthy of No. 1 than Dear Amelie:tape: :lol:
 

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everyone knows sharapova is not good enough to be a worthy world number 1 (unless she improves) but the computer points award semi-finals in tier 2's too generously and not enough points are offered in what's the most important- the slams

hence the ''golden girl'' of tennis being gifted the top spot.....along with the luck of relying on other players injuries

at least all the players know it won't be hard taking the top spot from her :tape:
 

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Sign of Greatness- Holding #1 w/o a slam

Sharapova joins:

Clijsters, Mauresmo, and Davenport!

Congrats, Maria! :)
 
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