The Australian Open is the weakest, because its just not known as well. Hell, in America, coverage of the final isn't even shown on network television whereas several Tier II's have. The Australian Open would be greater in America at least, if it wasn't covered by ESPN, a sports channel that barely acknowledges tennis enough to show more than 1 and a 1/2 hours of an exciting final (Canadian Open).
As for the #1 issue, you win the Grand Slams, great. You should be #1. But you should support it with other smaller tournament victories. I agree that it is vital for the existance of smaller tourneys. Also, #1 shouldn't go the whole year without at least a Grand Slam Final..something Hingis has at least done.
I think its hard to say. Just accept the rankings as they are, because whoever's #1 certainly took advantage of her own opportunities to achieve that ranking. If you don't want to follow the system, then you obviously don't have as much desire to become #1, and thats all.
Whoever ends this year on top, be it Davenport or Capriati, I hope everyone will accept it!
Any valid ranking system has to allow for the possibility of someone being the #1 ranked player without holding any slam singles titles. It's happened before. Tracy Austin held #1 without a slam title and only 2 slam semis in late 1980, over Chris Evert who had 2. Steffi Graf held #1 in the spring of 1991 with no slams, and did it again in the spring of 1995, in both cases over a player that held 2 slams (Seles and Sanchez).
For Davenport to finish at #1 this year, she will most likely have to win the Tour Championships, which is the 5th biggest tournament, and unofficial "5th slam". Last year (and throughout her reign this year), Hingis also had the "5th slam" among her titles. As did Austin.
The slams count twice a Tier I. Even more over a Tier II. Which means that a player winning no slams has to win at least two titles for every slam another wins. That also consumes 2 slots of their best 17, leaving them less space. If the slam winner does anything in that extra tourney, she's ahead. The non-slam-winner has to be exceptionally dominant in her other events to make up that ground. Davenport has. Remember when Hingis went 19-1 during the fall indoor season, one of the greatest finishes in tour history? If Davenport wins the Championships, she's 20-0 indoors this year.
To put it into another perspective, how many individual decathalon events do you need to win to get the gold medal? Answer: none. By doing better than your opponents over the course of all of the events, you get the gold. Even without winning any dividual events. Sure, if one guy wins, say, 4 events, he and his fans will complain. But the system is the same for everyone, and set up in advance. If there are no complaints when it's implemented, there should be none when it doesn't produce the results someone wants, or expects, without looking at the whole picture.
What gets me with the tennis media is the ones who cry out to the WTA to "fix the system" to meet the expectations they have after watching only 4 tournaments a year. Where are their suggestions? There aren't any forthcoming, because any ranking system can produce results like this, and many have glaring problems of their own.
People are bitching that the slams don't get enough emphasis, because Venus didn't get #1, then Jen didn't get it soon enough. 2 years ago, people were bitching that the slam emphasis was too high, because Stevenson and Lucic were held aloft in the rankings based almost exclusively on their Wimbledon results. It's the same ranking system. So which is it? Does it give the slams too much or too little emphasis? That there have been complaints in both directions indicates it's doing a pretty good job. If Jen holds #1 she deserves it. If Lindsay takes it, she deserves it. It's not easy to pile up points at regular events, especially if other top players and their quality points aren't present. If someone can do it under those circumstances, more power to them.
first winning the Chase or whatever we are calling it this year is hardly winning a slam. You win 4 matches to win you win 7 at a slam much different. Winning a bunch of tier 1's or 2's is winning roughly 4 or 5 matches with in most cases getting byes, slams do not provide that. Lindsay did not even reach a final this year and did no better than Jen in any of the slams doing worse in 3 of the 4 doing as well at Wimbledon. Furthermore if you looked surface by surface it's a no contest:<br />Hard: Jen<br />Clay: Jen <br />Grass: even<br />Carpet: Lindsay<br />Where's the comparison?
Hm, yeah Brian summed it up exqusitely! I guess all debate is legitimate, and that includes this one, but eliminating the slams?
Let's forget about the 'elite' players for the moment. with 128-player field, just ONE seeded player going out early, can really open up the draw for someone unfancied to come through. Not only does that make it more exciting for us fans, it can mean the breakthrough in a young players career.
jrj, i agree with some of what you said, but its unfair to give Jennifer the edge on clay when Lindsay was out for pretty much the entire claycourt season! But if you give Jen the edge on clay for those reasons, then I'd give Davenport the edge on grass. She played and won Eastbourne, whereas Jen didn't play any Grass court tournaments but Wimb. And at Wimbledon, Davenport ran into Venus. Both Davenport and Capriati have problems with Venus. But then again, who doesn't? <img src="smile.gif" border="0">
This does seem to be a lose-lose situation, regardless of how one looks at it or tries to change it.
As a Williams fan, it doesn't bother me at all that Venus is not number one and Serena isn't ranked higher because I see the rankings as something very different from who is the best player.
Objectively (I am trying), what bothers me the most is how the number one seed seems to cake walk to the quarters or semis, and sometimes the finals, while other players duke it out and are eliminated, even though one of those players who lost might have taken out the number 1.
Actually, lately it seems to happen to EITHER the number one OR the number 2.
I have no remedy for this. I can understand that if someone has earned number 1/2 she has certain privileges. But, it just seems unfair sometimes to have, say Serena at the top of her game play Justine at the top of her game in the fourth round or quarters, then meet up with Jennifer Capriati at the top of her game, and the winner to meet a Venus in the semi's, while all the while Martina is in the semi's and has hardly been challenged at all.
Please note I am trying to be objective here, but I think an example was in order. Feel free to interchange the names anyway you like. I am honestly not trying to argue for an advantage of any one player over another.
why would I not give Jen the edge on clay, she won the French Open! Should we discount that? Grass is even, Eastbourne is a bit of a joke who did Lindsay beat there? They each got to the semis a Wimbledon it's a wash.
so winning a bunch of dink tournaments in Europe is harder than winning a slam? Then we should eliminate the slams and for that matter the entire tour!<br />Beating Jelena Dokic a couple times does not measure up to winning 2 slams in a year!
Australian Open is also seen as the 'weaker' slam because of the time difference. God forbid everyone else could stay up a little bit late to watch it! :rolleyes" Same thing happened with the Sydney Olympics and why it didn't do so well in the USA, it was an inconvenience. *sigh*
Considering all the people in the Australian.New Zealand timezone have to stay up late for 3 of the 4 slams, it's just too hard for the rest of the world.
Yes, winning 3 or 4 "dink" tournaments _in a row_ is harder than winning a slam.
7 matches for a slam, at least 12, at most 16 for the others<br />top players _do_ go to these other events, and just because some lost early or because the winner of the tournaments didn't play them, it doesn't mean that the tournament is more crap. the field at the beginning was still good. if all the top players went into a slam and lost 1st round, the winner of that slam is just as legit in my eyes.<br />the winner of many tournaments in a row will have had to play 3 matches in 3 days 3 or 4 times, and have had other early round matches as well. they would have had to drive or fly for hours and hours after every sunday, get settled into a new hotel, get used to new courts, new stadiums etc, would have had to get a good chunk of rest, and then get fired up for another tournament from the beginning again after being on the high of winning the previous final. its not easy to have winning streaks lasting 3 or 4 consecutive weeks. I would prefer to play in the same location on the same surface, having my regular practices sorted, have the same home for 2 weeks - like what u get in the grand slam.
i'm not saying the grand slams are irrelevant, as that is obviously stupid - but saying that the other trournaments are worthless is just as dumb. winning them is an achievement, and winning them one after another for weeks is a huge one. Its not as good prestige wise, and grand slam winners should be praised and praised and praised - but numbers wise, and rankings wise, i am not surprised you get more points for a tier 1, 2 tier 2's and possibly a year end championships than you get for a grand slam.
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