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What a differnce a year makes! Five new players in the top ten. Three for the first time. Three Americans held onto or bettered their ranking positions.

Serena Williams began 2001 ranked #6, and end ranked #3.<br />Venus Williams began 2001 ranked #3, and end ranked #3.<br />Lindsay Davenport began 2001 ranked #2, and end ranked Numero ONE-0.<br />Other than these three, the entire top ten was in violent flux. Five new faces, plus precipitious drop-offs in play and ranking for Monica Seles and Martina Hingis.

<br />2001

01. Lindsay Davenport<br />02. Jennifer Capriati <br />03. Venus Williams<br />04. Martina Hingis<br />05. Kim Clijsters<br />06. Serena Williams<br />07. Justine Henin<br />08. Jelena Dokic<br />09. Amelie Mauresmo<br />10. Monica Seles

2000<br />01. Martina Hingis<br />02. Lindsay Davenport<br />03. Venus Williams<br />04. Monica Seles<br />05. Conchita Martinez<br />06. Serena Williams<br />07. Mary Pierce<br />08. Anna Kournikova<br />09. Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario<br />10. Nathalie Tauziat

1999<br />01. Martina Hingis<br />02. Lindsay Davenport<br />03. Venus Williams<br />04. Serena Williams<br />05. Mary Pierce<br />06. Monica Seles<br />07. Nathalie Tauziat<br />08. Barbara Schett<br />09. Julie Halard- Decugis<br />10. Amelie Mauresmo

1998<br />01. Lindsay Davenport<br />02. Martina Hingis<br />03. Jana Novotna<br />04. Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario<br />05. Venus Williams<br />06. Monica Seles<br />07. Mary Pierce<br />08. Conchita Martinez<br />09. Steffi Graf<br />10. Nathalie Tauzia

1997<br />01. Martina Hingis<br />02. Jana Novotna<br />03. Lindsay Davenport<br />04. Amanda Coetzer<br />05. Monica Seles<br />06. Iva Majoli<br />07. Mary Pierce<br />08. Irina Spirlea<br />09. Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario<br />10. Mary Joe Fernandez
 

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I'm beginning to wonder about those "Age Eligibility Rules." Clijsters, Henin and Dokic were among the first batch to be affected by them. Clijsters and Dokic just turned 18 this year. Henin could have played more last year but was injured.

I'm not saying that they could've broken into the Top Ten sooner or anything. (But maybe that's a possibility given the limited big match experience they've had compared to pre-AE Rules youngsters?) I'm also wondering if maybe there's some other "kids" who will burst through to the top level once they shake off the AE Rules or if this year is just VERY different.
 

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Yeah, about those rules... Why is it there? I heard it had something to do with Capriati, but I'm not sure. i personally don't think it's fair to hold youngsters back because they can play better when they're younger. Cutting off at the age of 18 is like cutting off a big chunk of their careers. Think about how different things would have been for Martina Hingis if she had been under those rules. But then again, I don't know the purpose of the rules, so I shouldn't really be talking. <img src="rolleyes.gif" border="0">
 

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The rules were implemented in reaction to the burnout of players like Tracey Austin and Andrea Jaeger.

The rules are, of course, grossly unfair on all the other players who don't burnout and can handle playing more tournaments.

It's my opinion that we can now do without those rules. Today there's a far greater awareness of the possible adverse effects that playing full-time on the tour can have on some young players. I favour allowing the players concerned (with the help of their handlers) the freedom to decide how many tournaments are appropriate for the player in question.

[ November 06, 2001: Message edited by: Simon ]</p>
 
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