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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
... at least for this week.

In any professional game, rules are set; they may be changed but are set at any given time. There are rules to play by during a match, rules to determine the winner of a match, and ranking rules for the players (or teams). All this is well known. Now, if you enter a game, it's a contract to play by all rules, including ranking rules.

To me, in tennis, if a player reaches the #1 position, there is no question as to whether or not he/she deserves it. All matches are played in the open for all to see, and the #1 doesn't come suddenly. The #1 could be questioned only if cheating was involved. Here again, most of the times, if a player cheats we can all see it as well as the umpire, and there are rules to deal with that. At times, there are controversial calls, this is why we have several points, several games, and several sets to mitigate those calls and determine a winner. When all points are tallied over 52 weeks, a #1 emerges. That's it.

We, the viewing public, may or may not like the emerged #1. However, the players themselves know to accept it. The rules were laid out and the players agreed to play by them. Some players decided to play more, some less, which was their choice; they were all operating under the same rules.

The rankings are used for seeding (more often than not), but, whether we like it or not, they also tell the general public who the best player is. A special kind of controversy develops when the emerged #1 doesn't match the perceived best player. That controversy becomes greater when the emerged #1 herself (in this case, Davenport in 2001) affirms she's not deserving of the #1. What are the tour officials to do? What are we to do or think? The clamor may be: "change the rules!". Well, the WTA officials have done just that over the years. We all agree that such actions should be tempered, weighted with the input of all stakeholders taken into consideration.

Who are the stakeholders here? Certainly the players, the tourney organizers, the WTA officials, but also the paying spectators, the fans, the media owners, the advertisers, even the doctors treating these players. Such a diverse group can definitely have conflicting agendas, which explains how treacherous a change can be.

As in all organizations, change will come as warranted and in due course after all views are pondered and all interests, addressed. But until that change comes, let's go by the current rules.

We have a weekly determined #1 (based on 52-week performance) and at the end of the year, a yearend #1. Let's hold on to that and cheer on these all deserving women.

Your take.

TP
 

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My take if Kim makes it to number one she will have earned it.
 
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To me, this is an unwinnable argument. While everyone acknowledges the importance of the slams, not everyone thinks the points system should be weighted any more favorably toward the slams.

To me, winning a slam is very important, and no player would be ranked as among the elite of the sport if he or she did not win at least one slam.

But there are also one slam wonders, so it takes more than a single slam to get you into the top ranks of this sport. And one slam wonders prove it is easier to play great for a two week period, than to play great for a whole year or more, which is what it takes to get to number one in the rankings.

As stated before, setting out a minimum number of touranaments a player has to appear in could qualify you for a certain amount of points.

But what about injury withdrawals.

In the end, the system as it stands is imperfect, but workable. And I don't really remember this debate except as it applies to the Willies.
 

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Yes. Capriati was rated number one by the ITF. I think you are definately right. The number one ranked player doesn't always have to equal the best player. What I think they should do instead of the "best of 17" system is this:

Make 5 tier one tournaments, and make all the top players play those.

Include the point totals from the grand slams, tier ones, porsche Championships, and your best five other results. That would encourage a healthy schedule of 15 tournaments per year, and would favor consistant results at the biggest events.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
mboyle said:
What I think they should do instead of the "best of 17" system is this:

Make 5 tier one tournaments, and make all the top players play those.

Include the point totals from the grand slams, tier ones, porsche Championships, and your best five other results. That would encourage a healthy schedule of 15 tournaments per year, and would favor consistant results at the biggest events.
This way, a player can't compensate for missing a tier-1, a slam or the yearend championships. Some people would object to that, given the randomness of injuries and other mishaps. However, your plan can still be presented at the discussion table as one-fan proposal together with the rest of the proposals from other stakeholders.
 

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The rankings are a joke. They are a ploy to get the players to play way too much and destroy their bodies so that the WTA can make more money. Martina Hingis is the perfect example. Kim Clijsters plays way too much and is going to ruin her career because of it, but does it because the WTA encourages her with incentives and rankings. She needs to win a slam to deserve it.
 

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hey TennisPower, where were you when Hingis needed you most...:p
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
tennischick said:
hey TennisPower, where were you when Hingis needed you most...:p
I was right here in Toronto and never got her call. Please tell her I'm still available and would be thrilled if ever she decided to come back to the tour. :kiss: :p :kiss:
 

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Asmus said:
The rankings are a joke. They are a ploy to get the players to play way too much and destroy their bodies so that the WTA can make more money. Martina Hingis is the perfect example. Kim Clijsters plays way too much and is going to ruin her career because of it, but does it because the WTA encourages her with incentives and rankings. She needs to win a slam to deserve it.
I agree. Players, analysts, commentators, coaches have all bitched about a shorter season and a true off season. The system engineers a schedule that entices players to playe more. However as we have seen this does not mean that the best player will emerge on top. This is a system for seeding. Higher points, better seed position. This system is not about who is the best.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Cybelle Darkholme said:
I agree. Players, analysts, commentators, coaches have all bitched about a shorter season and a true off season. The system engineers a schedule that entices players to playe more. However as we have seen this does not mean that the best player will emerge on top. This is a system for seeding. Higher points, better seed position. This system is not about who is the best.
Cybelle, I hear you but I just took another look at the top 25 players. To help the discussion, let me reproduce the list here:
Code:
Projected WTA Singles Rankings			
(As of July 28, 2003)			
Pos.	Player	               Points	#Tr
			
1	Serena*Williams*(USA)	6060	12
2	Kim*Clijsters*(BEL)	5639	22
3	Justine*Henin-H.*(BEL)	4705	19
4	Venus*Williams*(USA)	3925	11
5	Lindsay*Davenport*(USA)	3529	19
6	Amelie*Mauresmo*(FRA)	2932	14
7	Jennifer*Capriati*(USA)	2634	20
8	Chanda*Rubin*(USA)	2434	20
9	Daniela*Hantu.*(SVK)	2078	25
10	Anastasia*Myskina*(RUS)	1990	25
11	Ai*Sugiyama*(JPN)	1763	24
12	Jelena*Dokic*(YUG)	1758	30
13	Magdalena*Maleeva*(BUL)	1700	24
14	Conchita*Martinez*(ESP)	1637	21
15	Amanda*Coetzer*(RSA)	1547	22
16	Elena*Dementieva*(RUS)	1483	27
17	Vera*Zvonareva*(RUS)	1468.75	21
18	Meghann*Shaugh.*(USA)	1415	26
19	Patty*Schnyder*(SUI)	1401	23
20	Silvia*Farina*E.*(ITA)	1384	27
21	Eleni*Daniilidou*(GRE)	1341	27
22	Elena*Bovina*(RUS)	1328.5	21
23	Nathalie*Dechy*(FRA)	1309	26
24	Nadia*Petrova*(RUS)	1190.25	18
25	Monica*Seles*(USA)	1142	10
As you can see, aside from those who are or have been on long term injury, namely Monica (10 tr), Amelie (14 tr), all the top 25 players except the Willys have 18 tr or more. In fact, most have 20 tr or more and the avg works out to be 21.36. Doesn't that tell us something?

It may well be that the players as a whole are not bitching as much as we think. If you were a decision maker, given this picture alone, what would invite you to reduce the system's number to below 17 tr? Failing other inputs like medical et al, I don't see how you could do it.
 

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TennisPower said:
Cybelle, I hear you but I just took another look at the top 25 players. To help the discussion, let me reproduce the list here:
Code:
Projected WTA Singles Rankings			
(As of July 28, 2003)			
Pos.	Player	               Points	#Tr
			
1	Serena*Williams*(USA)	6060	12
2	Kim*Clijsters*(BEL)	5639	22
3	Justine*Henin-H.*(BEL)	4705	19
4	Venus*Williams*(USA)	3925	11
5	Lindsay*Davenport*(USA)	3529	19
6	Amelie*Mauresmo*(FRA)	2932	14
7	Jennifer*Capriati*(USA)	2634	20
8	Chanda*Rubin*(USA)	2434	20
9	Daniela*Hantu.*(SVK)	2078	25
10	Anastasia*Myskina*(RUS)	1990	25
11	Ai*Sugiyama*(JPN)	1763	24
12	Jelena*Dokic*(YUG)	1758	30
13	Magdalena*Maleeva*(BUL)	1700	24
14	Conchita*Martinez*(ESP)	1637	21
15	Amanda*Coetzer*(RSA)	1547	22
16	Elena*Dementieva*(RUS)	1483	27
17	Vera*Zvonareva*(RUS)	1468.75	21
18	Meghann*Shaugh.*(USA)	1415	26
19	Patty*Schnyder*(SUI)	1401	23
20	Silvia*Farina*E.*(ITA)	1384	27
21	Eleni*Daniilidou*(GRE)	1341	27
22	Elena*Bovina*(RUS)	1328.5	21
23	Nathalie*Dechy*(FRA)	1309	26
24	Nadia*Petrova*(RUS)	1190.25	18
25	Monica*Seles*(USA)	1142	10
As you can see, aside from those who are or have been on long term injury, namely Monica (10 tr), Amelie (14 tr), all the top 25 players except the Willys have 18 tr or more. In fact, most have 20 tr or more and the avg works out to be 21.36. Doesn't that tell us something?

It may well be that the players as a whole are not bitching as much as we think. If you were a decision maker, given this picture alone, what would invite you to reduce the system's number to below 17 tr? Failing other inputs like medical et al, I don't see how you could do it.

IMO the problems of players playing too much and distorted rankings (eg a # 1 with no slams) are both caused by the ranking system, but are unrelated and have different solutions.

moving the limit of 17 tournaments down will only make things worse, players won't play less and the first round losses will count even less.

The limit is hurt players like Kim, who are very consistent. The points that are excluded from Kim's ranking are real points, important points, for players with a lot of first round losses it makes no difference, if they counted all tournaments it will only mean 10-15 more points.

I always favoured the average system as a more accurate way to measure perfomance, because simple accumulation doesn't work in that system, if a player gets a bad result, it will hurt her ranking badly.

The problem is that you need to have a limit, it used to be 12 tournaments, that was logic because with less than that you can't really meassure a player's perfomance but, it encouraged top players to play less. the WTA wanted the opposite so they got rid of it.

You could achieve the same by setting the minimun number of tournaments higuer (let's say 15 or 16 tournaments) but in that case, with players like Venus or Serena, or injured players like Monica or Amelie, the effect would be even more distorted than with the current system.

So, the WTA needs to make up its mind, do they want to encourage top players to play more? or they want a more accurate system? they made that decision 6 years ago, maybe it's time to review it.

What I don't agree (and that's what some tards don't get :rolleyes: ) is that the system should be changed if there is a rational analysis of the situation, and its objectives, not thinking of particular situations, and not trying to be comprehensive of all possible situations.

I personally would make some changes, return to the average system with 12 tournaments minimum denominator, rework the round and quality points (I think it's it shouldn't be that much of a difference, 50 points between beating # 1 and # 2 in a GS). I think that some levels of the GS give way too many points (causing distortion eg Clarisa Fernandez, Serra Zanetti).

In any case, any change to the system should be carefully analyzed and thought. They have to think what they want to achieve, not set what final result they want and they try to adapt the system to do that.
 

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Fingon said:
IMO the problems of players playing too much and distorted rankings (eg a # 1 with no slams) are both caused by the ranking system, but are unrelated and have different solutions.

moving the limit of 17 tournaments down will only make things worse, players won't play less and the first round losses will count even less.

The limit is hurt players like Kim, who are very consistent. The points that are excluded from Kim's ranking are real points, important points, for players with a lot of first round losses it makes no difference, if they counted all tournaments it will only mean 10-15 more points.

I always favoured the average system as a more accurate way to measure perfomance, because simple accumulation doesn't work in that system, if a player gets a bad result, it will hurt her ranking badly.

The problem is that you need to have a limit, it used to be 12 tournaments, that was logic because with less than that you can't really meassure a player's perfomance but, it encouraged top players to play less. the WTA wanted the opposite so they got rid of it.

You could achieve the same by setting the minimun number of tournaments higuer (let's say 15 or 16 tournaments) but in that case, with players like Venus or Serena, or injured players like Monica or Amelie, the effect would be even more distorted than with the current system.

So, the WTA needs to make up its mind, do they want to encourage top players to play more? or they want a more accurate system? they made that decision 6 years ago, maybe it's time to review it.

What I don't agree (and that's what some tards don't get :rolleyes: ) is that the system should be changed if there is a rational analysis of the situation, and its objectives, not thinking of particular situations, and not trying to be comprehensive of all possible situations.

I personally would make some changes, return to the average system with 12 tournaments minimum denominator, rework the round and quality points (I think it's it shouldn't be that much of a difference, 50 points between beating # 1 and # 2 in a GS). I think that some levels of the GS give way too many points (causing distortion eg Clarisa Fernandez, Serra Zanetti).

In any case, any change to the system should be carefully analyzed and thought. They have to think what they want to achieve, not set what final result they want and they try to adapt the system to do that.
I have a novel suggestion. How about you average the tournaments, but increase the divisor to 18? Granted, that is still likely to keep players like Kim out of Tier III's, but it would encourage players to play at least 18 events, with no advantage other than prize money to play more. And to mkae the Williams fans happy, despite the fact it puts them even further from the minimum, it would actually slightly increase their position relative to Kim, and not cause them to lose ground to Justine.
 

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I think the only way to actually have a ranking where you're sure the best player is actually number one is to have no number, no points. A committee would be apointed to make rankings. That's the one and only way to assure that the rankings are "right". The current system isn't perfect and it's easy to just say oh using a divisor system with 12 as the minimum would fix everything but it wouldn't fix everything. What happens if the player who's obviously number one gets injured and has to pull out after the first round of both a slam and a tier one? Her points would drop drastically. Throw into the mix that that player only plays 8 tournaments a year, that would make it even worse. No system will ever be perfect. A system can look great on paper but when it's applied, there will be flaws, that's a given. Right now the minimum number of tournaments is 17 yet Serena only plays 12 and she can get away with it because her results are so good. If the number was lowered, what tells us that Serena wouldn't play even less events because again, she knows she can? It doesn't even have to be Serena. It can be in 10 years from now that that situation would be a problem and at that time, the system would be slammed once again.

The system as it is now would work perfectly if all players followed the guidelines. 17 tournaments a year is not asking too much of the players. As somebody pointed out, Serena and Venus ( if you consider her not injured which is questionable) are the only healthy players in the top 25 not playing at least 17 tournaments. If those two are such great athletes then they should be able to keep up with the rest of the tour in tournaments played. In fact, they don't even have to keep up with the rest of the tour, they just have to play the 17 tournaments. If Serena was playing the amount of tournaments the tour thinks she should be playing, we wouldn't have this big "controversy" right now and the ranking system wouldn't even be an issue.
 

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angele87 said:
I think the only way to actually have a ranking where you're sure the best player is actually number one is to have no number, no points. A committee would be apointed to make rankings. That's the one and only way to assure that the rankings are "right".
If we had a committee Capriati would currently be on about her 110th consecutive week at #1.
 

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disposablehero said:
I have a novel suggestion. How about you average the tournaments, but increase the divisor to 18? Granted, that is still likely to keep players like Kim out of Tier III's, but it would encourage players to play at least 18 events, with no advantage other than prize money to play more. And to mkae the Williams fans happy, despite the fact it puts them even further from the minimum, it would actually slightly increase their position relative to Kim, and not cause them to lose ground to Justine.

I don't think Kim plays tier IIIs for the points, and I think she's been the most consistent player. Even though she hasn't won a GS she's been in two semis and one final, and won 6 titles in the last 12 months.

If she is # 1 she will deserve it, the average system won't hurt Kim (or Justine once Stanford and New Haven are off), it will rather hurt players such as Dokic or Hantuchova or Stevenson with many early losses.

I think 18 would be too much. Of course Serena could chose to play more but some times there isn't a choice (Monica for example) and that would really push her down, I think 12 is a fair number but they probably could encourage more playing by other means.

I do think Kim plays a little bit too much, but that has nothing to do with her quality as a player, she is one of the best 4 players in the row, whether she plays 1 or 100 tournaments a year.
 

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TennisPower said:
Cybelle, I hear you but I just took another look at the top 25 players. To help the discussion, let me reproduce the list here:
Code:
Projected WTA Singles Rankings			
(As of July 28, 2003)			
Pos.	Player	               Points	#Tr
			
1	Serena*Williams*(USA)	6060	12
2	Kim*Clijsters*(BEL)	5639	22
3	Justine*Henin-H.*(BEL)	4705	19
4	Venus*Williams*(USA)	3925	11
5	Lindsay*Davenport*(USA)	3529	19
6	Amelie*Mauresmo*(FRA)	2932	14
7	Jennifer*Capriati*(USA)	2634	20
8	Chanda*Rubin*(USA)	2434	20
9	Daniela*Hantu.*(SVK)	2078	25
10	Anastasia*Myskina*(RUS)	1990	25
11	Ai*Sugiyama*(JPN)	1763	24
12	Jelena*Dokic*(YUG)	1758	30
13	Magdalena*Maleeva*(BUL)	1700	24
14	Conchita*Martinez*(ESP)	1637	21
15	Amanda*Coetzer*(RSA)	1547	22
16	Elena*Dementieva*(RUS)	1483	27
17	Vera*Zvonareva*(RUS)	1468.75	21
18	Meghann*Shaugh.*(USA)	1415	26
19	Patty*Schnyder*(SUI)	1401	23
20	Silvia*Farina*E.*(ITA)	1384	27
21	Eleni*Daniilidou*(GRE)	1341	27
22	Elena*Bovina*(RUS)	1328.5	21
23	Nathalie*Dechy*(FRA)	1309	26
24	Nadia*Petrova*(RUS)	1190.25	18
25	Monica*Seles*(USA)	1142	10
As you can see, aside from those who are or have been on long term injury, namely Monica (10 tr), Amelie (14 tr), all the top 25 players except the Willys have 18 tr or more. In fact, most have 20 tr or more and the avg works out to be 21.36. Doesn't that tell us something?

It may well be that the players as a whole are not bitching as much as we think. If you were a decision maker, given this picture alone, what would invite you to reduce the system's number to below 17 tr? Failing other inputs like medical et al, I don't see how you could do it.
There's a bit of a problem with this: it doesn't take into account that more successful players play more matches per tournament. Since I run a spreadsheet of all the WTA Tour events and Challengers (excluding qualifying from $10K events), I decided to run a Perl script to spit out a list of who's played the most singles matches over the past year. This includes WTA events from last year's Stanford on (including Sopot 2002 but not Stanford 2003), and all the Challenger events from Week 29 of 2002 through Week 28 of 2003 (since the Challengers go on the WTA rankings one year later). Hopman/Fed Cups are not included. The list includes walkovers, however.

Here's the Top 25:
Code:
CLIJSTERS Kim                 93
ABRAMOVIC Ivana               81
CAMERIN Maria Elena           81
JURAK Darija                  81
PARRA Arancha                 80
SCHAUL Claudine               79
ALVES Maria Fernanda          78
DEGLIESPOSTI Rita             77
KURHAJCOVA Lubomira           76
LEE-WATERS Lindsay            76
DAVENPORT Lindsay             75
CHEVALIER Klidine             75
SPREM Karolina                74
KEOTHAVONG Anne               73
CARGILL Ansley                73
BASU Caroline                 73
HENIN-HARDENNE Justine        73
GRANVILLE Laura               72
CZINK Melinda                 72
VORACOVA Renata               72
PIEDADE Frederica             72
SERNA Magui                   71
PICHET Virginie               71
COHEN ALORO Stephanie         70
NOORLANDER Seda               70
Serena Williams is at 61 matches, which is tied for #63 (with Daniilidou and Loit, amongst others). Venus Williams, with 53 matches, is tied for #153 (with Schnyder and Raymond, amongst others).

I haven't culled out players below the Top 100 since I don't have my spreadsheet set up to do that. To be honest, it doesn't surprise me that there are a bunch of players from Challengers in the list; they need to play constantly to make a living! Clijsters' 93 matches is an aberration, I believe; the rest of the list amongst Top 100 players seems relatively closer together:

(done by hand)

Code:
 1 CLIJSTERS Kim                 93
 2 CAMERIN Maria Elena           81
 3 PARRA Arancha                 80
 4 KURHAJCOVA Lubomira           76
 5 DAVENPORT Lindsay             75
 6 SPREM Karolina                74
 7 CARGILL Ansley                73
 7 HENIN-HARDENNE Justine        73
 9 GRANVILLE Laura               72
10 SERNA Magui                   71
11 COHEN ALORO Stephanie         70
12 BARTOLI Marion                68
13 RANDRIANTEFY Dally            67
14 ZVONAREVA Vera                66
15 CHLADKOVA Denisa              65
15 DOKIC Jelena                  65
15 DECHY Nathalie                65
18 HANTUCHOVA Daniela            64
19 RAZZANO Virginie              63
19 PENNETTA Flavia               63
19 SUGIYAMA Ai                   63
22 CAPRIATI Jennifer             62
22 IRVIN Marissa                 62
22 BARNA Anca                    62
22 CERVANOVA Ludmila             62
26 LOIT Emilie                   61
26 KOUKALOVA Klara               61
26 WILLIAMS Serena               61
26 DANIILIDOU Eleni              61
26 TAYLOR Sarah                  61
That's the 30 players with the most matches -- I think. I didn't realize on the first run-through that Parra is already in the WTA Top 100!

As for players in the WTA Top 25, it looks as though Serena is tied for #10 in terms of number of matches played. It looks as though the only two players with fewer Singles matches than Venus Williams are currently Petrova and Seles, although Kuznetsova is currently at 52 matches by my count.

If anybody wants, I can run a Perl script to spit out a list of who's got the most wins in the past year; Venus and Serena would move up quite a bit on that list.
 
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