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Discussion Starter #1
From the spring of 1984 WTA introduced a new computer ranking system, where tournaments were assigned points based on their prize money and category, independent of the quality of the field (this latter was taken into account by bonus points).
I have the tournament categories from 1988 on, but have no details before 1988. I wonder whether there is any detail about the WTA computer system in WTA Media Guides from the 1980s.

Could any of you check whether you find something about how many points certain tournaments got between 1984 (or earlier) and 1988?
 

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collected somewhere:

1982 was split into two major tours-the Avon Series, which ran from January to March, and the Toyota Series, which covered the majority of the year.

Toyota Series Points Summary
33 events overall, 13 in the US, 4 in Britain, 3 each in Germany, Japan, and Australia, 2 each in France and Itlay, plus 1 in Switzerland, anada, and Hong Kong)

Grand Slam----all 4 slams, prize money minimum of $300,000
Category 7----at least $200,000 prize money
Category 6-----at least $175,000 prize money
Category 5------at least $150,000 prize money
Category 4*----at least $125,000 prize money
Category 3-----at least $100,000 prize money
Category 2----at least $75,000 prize money
Category 1 ---at least $50,000 prize money

Ranked by category

Slams--French, Wimbledon, US Open, Australian Open (4 total)
Cat 7---Hilton Head, Amelia Island, Orlando, Candian (4 total)
Cat 6--Tokyo (1 total)
Cat 5--Bridgestone Doubles, Eastbourne, US Clay, Brighton (4 total)
Cat 4--San Diego, US Indoor, Deerfield Beach, Tampa,Stuttgart, Brisbane,Sydney,Richmond (8 total)
Cat 3--Italian Open, Swiss Open , German Open , Birmingham, Monte Carlo,Atlanta, Mahwah (7 total)
Cat 2--Borden Classic (Tokyo), Japan Open, and Hong Kong (3 total)
Cat 1--Sardinia, Hittfeld (2 total)

-----------------------------------------

Virginia Slims Points categories*

The tour consited of 49 events, plus 8 'Ginny' tournaments leading to a 'Ginny' Championships. Note the tour is not a true calandar. The 1984 Slims Championships in March of 1984 was the culmination of the 1983-1984 season, just of the 1985 Slims Championships was the culmination of the 1984-85 season.

Grand Slam*(France, Great Britian, US, and Australia)--plus the Virignia Slims Championships
W=400 RU=250 SF=200 QF=150 R16=100 R32=50 R64=25 R128=15

Category 4*(prize money of at least $200,000)
W=250 RU=150 SF=130 QF=100 R16=65 R32=30 R64=15 R128=10

Category 3*(prize money of at least $150,000)
W=200 RU=110 SF=90 QF=60 R16=35 R32=20 R64=10 R128=5

Category 2*(prize money of at least $100,000)
W=100 RU=70 SF=50 QF=25 R16=15 R32=9 R64=5 R128=2

Category 1+*(Ginny events with prize money of at least $50 ,000)
W=85 RU=65 SF=45 QF=23 R16=13 R32=5*

Category 1*(prize money of at least $50 ,000)
W=75 RU=50 SF=30 QF=15 R16=8 R32=2*


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Discussion Starter #3
collected somewhere:

1982 was split into two major tours-the Avon Series, which ran from January to March, and the Toyota Series, which covered the majority of the year.


Thanks for this effort.
Unfortunately, these are Grand Prix categories and points, which were different from the WTA computer rankings.
 

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Wish I could be of more help Elegos.

The rankings were so mysterious in the old days that no one could really keep track of them. We only found out decades later that for two brief weeks in 1976 Evonne Goolagong was #1!

Part of the trouble was that points were not only were given for prize money, but also the strength of the field. Thus a $100,000 event with Chris Evert in 1978 might feature more points than a $120,000 event without Evert.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Wish I could be of more help Elegos.

The rankings were so mysterious in the old days that no one could really keep track of them. We only found out decades later that for two brief weeks in 1976 Evonne Goolagong was #1!

Part of the trouble was that points were not only were given for prize money, but also the strength of the field. Thus a $100,000 event with Chris Evert in 1978 might feature more points than a $120,000 event without Evert.
Hi Rollo,

I am aware of the complexities of the WTA ranking system in the 1970s. However, there was a reform in 1984, when the rankings became better predictable.

This is what I gathered of this new WTA computer ranking system from the spring of 1984.
- In 1983 the WTA hired James Broder as Director of Management Information Systems early in the year and post Wimbledon he had come up with a new ranking formula that replaced the system in place since 1975. Although complex, this was extremely thorough, accurate and reflected the quality of more recent wins of a player.
- More importantly because he assigned values to tournaments based on prize money ahead of time, as opposed to deciding this after based on who entered, it was now possible for players and Tour staff to compute ahead of time, with the aid of a calculator, what their ranking would be. Previously this was impossible.
- The new averaging system (which maintained 12 as the minimum divisor) had three main elements:
1) the round points assigned based on the amount of prize money offered at an event,
2) bonus (quality) points were awarded based on the current ranking of the player who you had a victory over (given for wins over Top 200 players),
3) plus a new element, whereby after points earned after 26 weeks decreased by 50% and retained that value until dropping off completely after the 53rd week they were earned.
- This formula was overwhelmingly approved at the end of the year and put into operation at the beginning of the 1984-85 Virginia Slims World Championship Series on March 6.

I found a report about the WTA computer rankings in 1986:
- The WTA divides tournaments into 10 categories, but considers the type of event more heavily than the prize money offered. Category 1 events are $10,000 satellite tournaments at which the winner earns one point. At the high end of the scale are the Grand Slam events - category 10 tournaments - which award 300 round points to the winner. All the Grand Slams carry the same amount of points for the women, whether they offer $5000,000 or $5,000,000 in prize money.
- "Our point structure is designed to reflect the strength of a tournament more," says James Broder, the WTA's director of Management Information Systems. "Our primary events, like the 'Virginia Slims Of' tournaments, get the strongest fields since the WTA is committed to produce a number of top players for these events. What we want to do is create a distinction between primary and nonprimary events. So a $250,000 nonprimary event like the Queens Grand Prix, for instance, has the same point structure as a $150,000 primary event like the Virgina Slims of Dallas."
- In addition to round points, a win over any of the top 300 women gives the victor various amounts of bonus points.
- The WTA encourages its top two drawing cards, Navratilova and Chris Evert Lloyd, to play in lesser-money events with a rule that stipulates they are guaranteed their averages upon winning.
- The elimination of the "diminishing return" ranking system. That system discounted a player's points by 50% six months after they'd come on the computer. It encouraged a player to go out and play to keep her average high. But the system was scrapped because many of the top players, spearheaded by Navratilova, felt it was especially injurious to them.

Beginning with 1987 the official WTA site has usually the round points a player has earned, but there is no info about the bonus points. And there is no info about the round points before 1987.

I heard Marian Ciulpan plans to reconstruct the historical WTA rankings as well, just as he did with the ATP rankings. So maybe in a few years we will have more info.
 

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@elegos7
I don't know if you're still looking for the points scales for tournaments in the last half of the 80's but we might as well put it up here. This is for the 1986 season (1985 and probably 1984 were the same):

I don't know exactly how points were calculated in 1983 but I find it quite difficult to make sense of some of the changes in the rankings that year (having just gone through it all). But there was definetely another system 1984-1985. We can tell only by looking at the ranking points, which are ~10 times larger.

We also notice that the official rankings of 1984-5 has a column "Next to be disc'd". That's the 50% off you're talking about. This column is not there in 1986 - or on the year end rankings of 1985. Which means that this system was abandoned for the 1986 season. This only confirms what you said in your post.
 

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I miss the VS Championships in that picture. Also category 10?

2 points for Categery 9 qualifyers but only 0.5 for Categery 10 qualifyers ???
 

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Discussion Starter #8
@elegos7
I don't know if you're still looking for the points scales for tournaments in the last half of the 80's but we might as well put it up here. This is for the 1986 season (1985 and probably 1984 were the same):
Hi angliru,

Thank you very much for these WTA computer points for 1986! Where did you find them?

The official site has some tournament points for 1987, and it seems to be the same system. It would be good to know what qualifyed for Primary event in these years.

With this table at hand, maybe the official points (including bonus points) can also be reconstructed for 1986.

The VS Championships is not in the table. It seems players earned their current average there, regardless how they performed at the Championships.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
@elegos7
I don't know if you're still looking for the points scales for tournaments in the last half of the 80's but we might as well put it up here. This is for the 1986 season (1985 and probably 1984 were the same):
I took a look at the official year-end rankings for 1985, which contains the points gained at the Tokyo indoor in December.
Deducting the same bonus points as in 1986, I arrived at the following point distribution:
W: 200 F: 150 S:100 Q:50 R16:25

Such a category does not exist in the 1986 rankings. I think this tournament was a Non-Primary 250K USD event in 1985, so the corresponding category has actally been devalued for 1986.
 

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Ok, I see.
Re. Primary events, I think it should be pretty easy to determine which ones are Primary or not. By looking at Mandlikova's 1987 year I see from points gained that for instance Chicago, Zurich, Toronto, Los Angeles, Houston, Piscataway, Washington DC, San Francisco, Sydney are all Primary. It should be pretty easy to pinpoit them all by looking at a few more players (assuming points are distributed like in the table I provided).

Brisbane $100,000 doesn't fit the pattern though but there can be explainable reasons for that.

I don't know where I got the table. It's a screencapture, probably when searching archive.org years ago.
 

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@Peter2003
Only 0.5 for slam qualifyers does seem strange but maybe the reasoning has been about draw size and strength. Because there's 2 points for qualifyers at Australian Open with 64 draw. So it has been harder to qualify at AO with smaller main draw against higher ranked oppositionin in qualifying? I don't know.
 

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I did some calculations based on 1984 and 1985 rankings, and now I'm actually quite sure that there were different point systems in use each of the years 1983, 84, 85 & 86!

For instance in 1984, it seems like round points were about the half of what they were in 1985 & 1986:
Code:
            SF       QF      R16      R32
$50,000    12.5      6.5     3.5      0.5
I only had quick glance at it and it's quite difficult to to "decrypt" or "reverse engineer" because both round points and bonus points were different in 1984 compared to the 1986 table. But I'm quite sure the round points for QF, R16 and R32 are correct for 1984 (6.5, 3.5 & 0.5). But I need a lot more data to be able to put a whole table together for 1984 & 1985. It will be easier once I'm done with the 1984 & 1985 rankings. I'm not sure about bonus points in 1984 but maybe something like this (a wild guess):
Code:
Rank     Points
101-151    0,5
76-100      1
etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I did some calculations based on 1984 and 1985 rankings, and now I'm actually quite sure that there were different point systems in use each of the years 1983, 84, 85 & 86!
I am sure the 1984 system was different from the 1986 system. The official year-end rankings for 1984 also contains the points to be dropped for Wimbledon, played half a year earlier.
Navratilova drops 397.5, while Evert 276.25, etc.

Maybe with your 1984 weekly rankings the tournament and bonus points for Wimbledon 1984 (and, analogously, other Grand Slam events in that year) could be reconstructed.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I did some calculations based on 1984 and 1985 rankings, and now I'm actually quite sure that there were different point systems in use each of the years 1983, 84, 85 & 86!
With angrilu's reconstructed WTA rankings for June 25 1984, I tried to calculate tournament and bonus points for Wimbledon 1984, where the official WTA points are known (they can be seen in the 1984 year-end rankings).

It looks like the tournament points were very similar to 1986, probably the Grand Slam finalists and semifinalists got more points:
W-300, F-230, SF-150, QF-75, R16- 38, R32-19, R64-10,R128-1

The bonus points are significantly less than in 1986. Probably the following points apply for 1984.
No1: ? (unknown, as Navratilova won the event)
No2: 45?
No3-5: 25
No6-8: 20
No9-11: 15
No12-18: 10
No19-30: 5
No31-50: 3
No51-75: 2
No77-100: 1
No101-150: 0.5
No151-?: 0.25

However, it is difficult to pin-point the bonus points for beating players in the Top10, as we have too few examples, and the Grand Slam tournament points in the final and semi-final are also a bit uncertain.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
I have managed to find info how the WTA computer worked in 1984.

There were seven tournament point categories:
W F S Q R16 R32 R64 R128
Cat 7 - Grand Slam 300 225 150 75 38 19 10 1
Cat 6 - 151K+ 200 150 100 50 25 13 7 1
Cat 5 - 150K 150 113 75 38 19 10 1
Cat 4 - 100K-199K 100 75 50 25 13 1
Cat 3 - 50K-99K 50 38 25 13 7 1
Cat 2 - 25K+ 10 7.5 5 2.5 1.25 0.75
Cat 1 - 10K+ 1 0.75 0.5 0.25 0.125

The bonus points were distributed this way for beating various opponents.
No1: 44
No2: 40
No3-5: 30
No6-8: 20
No9-11: 15
No12-18: 10
No19-30: 5
No31-50: 3
No51-75: 2
No76-100: 1
No101-150: 0.5
No151-200: 0.25
 

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I have managed to find info how the WTA computer worked in 1984.

There were seven tournament point categories:
W F S Q R16 R32 R64 R128
Cat 7 - Grand Slam 300 225 150 75 38 19 10 1
Cat 6 - 151K+ 200 150 100 50 25 13 7 1
Cat 5 - 150K 150 113 75 38 19 10 1
Cat 4 - 100K-199K 100 75 50 25 13 1
Cat 3 - 50K-99K 50 38 25 13 7 1
...
typo or intent?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
typo or intent?
This was the way the German Tennis Magazin reported it.
I can imagine there was a distinction between primary and non-primary events.

The best way to know would be reconstructing the 1984 WTA year-end rankings using these rules.
 

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This was the way the German Tennis Magazin reported it.
I can imagine there was a distinction between primary and non-primary events.

The best way to know would be reconstructing the 1984 WTA year-end rankings using these rules.
damn! I hate those arbitrary things in the mid-80s
 

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I found a newspaper article mentioning the 1980 rankings. It doesn't contain the tables, figures or numbers we've seen in previous posts but it's the only thing I've seen on print regarding 1980. I don't know if it makes any sense but here it is:

The Palm Beach Post, 27 Jul 1980, Sun, Page 94 (article should be downloadable on the site as pdf)

Rankings: Confusing, Complicated and Computed

Peggy Gossett

There is no question that Bjorn Borg is the No. 1 ranked men's tennis player in the world. The newly married Borg is rated far and above his nearest opponents - John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors - in the ratings game.

For the women pros, the No. 1 spot is another matter. Martina Navratilova, Tracy Austin and Chris Evert Lloyd are all within two computer points of each other, while the No. 1 Navratilova and the No. 2 Austin are separated by only .14 of a point.

For the tennis professionals, tennis rankings are tough enough to figure out. For the layman, the ranking system seems as complex as the theory of relativity.

Quite surprisingly, many tennis professionals do not haggle over their rankings, especially if they are among the world's top players. Until they reach a showdown for the No. 1 spot, such as the case with Navratilova and Austin, they do not run back to notepads and compute what their victory or loss will do to their current rankings. Many leave the mathematics to their agents or public relations directors - or forget it entirely.

However, a few pros - especially the struggling ones - do perform a bit of mathematical artistry each time they compete, to determine if their world rankings have plummeted or risen.

Tracy Austin once said: "I can't worry about it, whether I'm No. 1 today or No. 2 today. It means so little in one sense because it's what's in your mind, not what's in the computer, that counts. I have to think about my matches. Let the rankings take care of themselves."

Yet, another pro, a Barbara Potter or a Lindsay Morse, might approach the matter with pen and paper. She might calculate her ranking, as a baseball player might determine his batting average after a good game, eager to figure it before the team statistician can get the facts together.

Here is how tennis pros determine their rankings:

They take the current rankings, as determined for the men by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), the men's union, or for the women by the Women's Tennis Association (WTA). The ranking reads in points, such as Navratilova's 16.687 points going into Wimbledon. Those cover one-half of the current tennis season. By December, the beginning of the new tennis year, Navratilova will have accumulated about 32 points, providing she maintains a steady pace of tournaments.

Next, they determine their most recent matches, and to whom they lost or who they beat. Also, take into account the class of the tournament. A Wimbledon or U.S. Open is a Class Five, or Grand Class, event. Other tournaments are rated from Class-AAAA (next highest) to Class-A (lowest).

Remember, the score of the match does not matter. If they lose in two sets or in five sets, it does not matter. Just that it was a loss matters in the rankings.

Given all the information, the pros sit-down and calculate the latest ranking and finish with a somewhat-accurate standing.

A loss to a higher-ranked opponent will decrease their rankings by about .33 of a point. A loss to a lower-ranked opponent will further damage the ranking, dropping it by about .5 of a point. When Evert lost to Greer Stevenson in the Avon Classic of Fort Lauderdale two years ago, she suffered a larger setback than if she had lost to Navratilova. It's the odds game working here: Stevens had the odds against her, and Evert had them in her favor. When the longshot triumphed, the favorite suffers even more.

Also, a player gains more points for winning in a higher-rated tournament and vice versa. Upsetting Evert in Wimbledon will do a player's ranking more good that beating her in Bettendorf, Iowa. When players win or lose in a smaller tournament, therefore, their rankings will be less affected. That is one reason why players seek to enter the big tournaments; they have more to gain.

They system is a highly complex one, so much so that even the ATP and WTA officials get confused. That is why they let computers do the work for them.

Lastly, the computers usually are behind the tournament schedule by two or three weeks. Wimbledon's results are just now being calculated on players' rankings and the tournamnt was three weeks ago. It's enough to drive players to repressing thoughts of rankings altogether.
 

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Wow, I can’t believe the author wrote that Navratilova would have 32 points by end of year. Obviously they knew nothing about the subject at hand, hilarious!
 
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