Jelena Jankovic is the number one ranked player on the WTA Tour and once again the argument rages as to whether she is a worthy number one. To define the sides in this debate. Does the number one player mean that said player has racked up the most points and is by that measure number one? Or does being number one mean that said player has played the best tennis, won at least a major during the last fifty two week period, and shown the mental and physical skills in their matches to make them worthy of being called best in the world?
To quote "Oswald56" from Tennis Forum
Of the current top ten only Serena, Sharapova, Venus, Ivanovic and Safina (just) have winning records against the rest of the top ten, Jankovic doesn't (25-31). Whether she wins a slam or not she's certainly not a great player. Her high ranking is due to her racking up a lot of victories against lower ranked players.
Jankovic is not the first player to inspire this debate. Kim Clijsters ascension to number one was also widely questioned. She was called by some tennisheads "Cupcake Kim" for the soft draws she received. Those draws allowed her to rack up a lot of points and propel her to number one. She did eventually win a Slam - The US Open - but soon after retired to marry and start a family.
Lindsay Davenport was also number one without benefit of a Slam victory for quite some time.
On the ATP side I remember when Marcelo Rios became number one and the firestorm it caused. He is still considered one of the best never to have won a Slam.
I don't think Jankovic will ever be put into that category. And that is where the problem lies.
As the poster above says she is not a great player. The deficiencies in her game are many. But over the last couple of years she has played a lot of tennis and piled up the points. It's why when the better players lose, as happens in tennis, she was poised to take over the number one spot. No one can doubt that Serena Williams and
Dinara Safina (for the second part of the year) have been the dominant players. Ana Ivanovic is in a slump right now. Maria Sharapova pulled out with injury for the rest of the year. Venus Williams is playing indoors this year which says to me she wants it too. With the exception of Sharapova I would say all of these women have better all around games than Jelena. They just don't play as many tournaments. For example Jelena is now on her third tournament in a row, the Tier I in Moscow. Win or lose she's going to pad her point total.
As long as ranking is determined by a point system, with no weighting of wins in terms of the tournament's importance, there will be number one players who are there strictly on points. Several fans are advocating a return to some sort of "quality point" system where it's not only that you won but who you beat getting there. There are problems with that system as well since it was scrapped in favor of the present one.
Fans don't like Jelena's on court behavior, the "medical" time outs, the whining, the gamesmanship. You don't see the best act that way on court. Despite that I don't think all the noise is about her on court behavior it's about her level of play. With the WTA switching to a two tiered tour, something I've been against from the beginning, we are likely to see more of this kind of number one. Unless the fans, and players, rise up against the point system I don't think Larry Scott and his minions will change things from the way they are now.
I mentioned the Roadmap above. Just so we're clear about why it's called "RoadKill" in many circles here is the WTA 2009 schedule. Thanks to tennishead "Missinandre" for the information.
The # in parentheses indicates how many top 10 players that tourney is allowed to have
Jan 05 - Brisbane (no Top-10 players)
-------- Auckland (no Top-10 players)
Jan 12 - Sydney (no restrictions on the number of Top-10 players)
-------- Hobart (no Top-10 players)
Jan 19 - AUSTRALIAN OPEN
Feb 02 - Fed Cup I
Feb 09 - Paris Indoors (one Top-6 and two Top-13 players OR two Top-6 players)
--------- Pattaya City (no Top-10 players)
--------- Vina del Mar (no top-10 players)
Feb 16 - Dubai (seven Top-10 players)
--------- Memphis (no Top-10 players)
--------- Bogota¡ (no Top-10 players)
Feb 23 - Bangalore (no top-10 players)
--------- Acapulco (no Top-10 players)
Mar 02 - Antwerp (no Top-10 players)
--------- TBC (no Top-10 players)
Mar 09 - Indian Wells (MANDATORY)
Mar 23 - Miami (MANDATORY)
Apr 06 - Amelia Island (no Top-10 players)
Apr 13 - Charleston (one Top-6 and two Top-13 players OR two Top-6 players)
-------- Barcelona (no Top-10 players)
Apr 20 - Fed Cup II
Apr 27 - Stuttgart (one Top-6 and two Top-13 players OR two Top-6 players)
-------- Fes (no Top-10 players)
May 04 - Rome (seven Top-10 players)
--------- Estoril (no Top-10 players)
May 11 - Madrid (MANDATORY)
May 18 - Berlin (no restrictions on the number of Top-10 players)
--------- Strasbourg (no Top-10 players)
May 25 - ROLAND GARROS
Jun 08 - Birmingham (no Top-10 players)
Jun 15 - Eastbourne (no restrictions on the number of Top-10 players)
-------- s'Hertogenbosch (no Top-10 players)
Jun 22 - WIMBLEDON
Jul 06 - Budapest (no Top-10 players)
-------- Stockholm (no Top-10 players)
Jul 13 - Prague (no Top-10 players)
-------- Palermo (no Top-10 players)
Jul 20 - Portoroz (no Top-10 players)
-------- Warsaw (no Top-10 players)
Jul 27 - Stanford (one Top-6 and two Top-13 players OR two Top-6 players)
-------- Istanbul (no Top-10 players)
Aug 03 - Los Angeles (one Top-6 and two Top-13 players OR two Top-6 players)
Aug 10 - Cincinatti (seven Top-10 players)
Aug 17 - Toronto (seven Top-10 players)
Aug 24 - New Haven (no restrictions on the number of Top-10 players)
Aug 31 - US OPEN
Sep 14 - Guangzhou (no Top-10 players)
--------- Quebec City (no Top-10 players)
--------- Tashkent (no Top-10 players)
Sep 21 - Seoul (no Top-10 players)
--------- Kolkata (no Top-10 players)
Sep 28 - Tokyo Indoors (one Top-6 and two Top-13 players OR two Top-6 players)
Oct 05 - Beijing (MANDATORY)
Oct 12 - Linz (no Top-10 players)
-------- Japan Open (TBC) (no Top-10 players)
-------- Singapore (no Top-10 players)
Oct 19 - Moscow (seven Top-10 players)
-------- Luxembourg (no Top-10 players)
Oct 26 - WTA Tour Sony Ericsson Championships - Doha
Nov 02 - Fed Cup Final
--------- Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions - Bali***
***Best seven performers in the international level tournaments (who have not otherwise qualified for the Sony Ericsson Championships), along with one wildcard will participate in a Round Robin format.
Note the pattern here? Some venerable tournaments will die. Newer tournaments, which should have to compete for players and fan loyalty like the others did in the past, will thrive because they've been made mandatory. I was taken back by the Pilot Pen now having no restrictions on the number of top ten players since it comes right before the US Open and at the end of the grueling US Open series.
I don't like it. There should be one tour and every woman should have her choice of where to play. You will have a Second Tier tour champion and a Main Tour champion. Let's hope this schedule goes the way of Round Robin in the ATP and quickly.
Sony Ericsson Race to the YEC
Top Ten Only
1 JANKOVIC, JELENA SRB 4355 19
2 WILLIAMS, SERENA USA 3681 12
3 SAFINA, DINARA RUS 3628 19
4 DEMENTIEVA, ELENA RUS 3040 16
5 IVANOVIC, ANA SRB 2952 14
6 SHARAPOVA, MARIA RUS 2515 9
7 KUZNETSOVA, SVETLANA RUS 2513 17
8 WILLIAMS, VENUS USA 2246 11
9 ZVONAREVA, VERA RUS 2135 21
10 RADWANSKA, AGNIESZKA 2096 21
To absolutely no one's surprise Carlos Moya was voted by fans to receive the first wild card for the Madrid Masters.The poll is conducted every year by a Spanish newspaper. Here are the vote totals.
Moyá - 73.39%
Gulbis - 8.74%
Baghdatis - 8.07%
Ljubicic - 7.11%
Dancevic - 2.69%
The Race to Shanghai Rankings
Top Ten only
01 (01) Rafael Nadal (ESP) 1265 (15)
02 (02) Roger Federer (SUI) 921 (--)
03 (03) Novak Djokovic (SRB) 899 (03)
04 (04) Andy Murray (GBR) 520 (11)* * 0 pointer included as one of optionals.
05 (05) Nikolay Davydenko (RUS) 417 (22)
06 (06) Andy Roddick (USA) 354 (22)
07 (07) David Ferrer (ESP) 337 (15)
08 (08) James Blake (USA) 309 (15)
09 (10) Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG) 307 (--)
10 (09) Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) 286 (03)
Idle Chit Chat
Some pics from Moscow.
Flavia Pennetta and Potito Starace
Marat and his latest.
Hamburg isn't finished with the ATP. Here is a translation of the original German:
The German Tennis Federation will appeal together with the Qatari Federation the verdict in the lawsuit with the ATP. This announced the president of the German Tennis Federation, Georg von Waldenfels on Tuesday at a press conference at Hamburg Rothenbaum.
The objective of the appeal is beside the preservation of the Masters Series status the assertion of amends. "We want to save the value of the tournament and that's why we appeal together with the Qatari Federation", says von Waldenfels, who can't comprehend the verdict.
The court in the US-state Delaware entitled the ATP to downgrade the Hamburg tournament. The traditional event at the Rothenbaum will be downgraded from 2009 into the second category. Now it is planned to play a 1.2 million$ 500-points-tournament from July 20th until July 26th.
I think they want to be monetarily compensated.