As everyone who follows tennis knows Andy Murray will ascend to the number three ranking in men's tennis on May 11, 2009. That is when the points from last years Rome Masters Series will drop from Novak Djokovic's point total. Djokovic needed to win Rome to maintain his number three ranking.
As is to be expected the Brits are over the moon about this development and speculation has already begun about where Wimbledon will seed Murray. Will they seed him number two ahead of Roger Federer and therefore "protect" him from Rafael Nadal until the Final or will they seed him number three and let the luck of the draw determine whether he will be be in the top or bottom half of the Wimbledon men's field?
There is a formula that the AELTC uses to rank seeds that takes past performance on grass into account and this is what is fueling the speculation.
2 2 Federer 101703 4 Murray 89904 3 Djokovic 8760
The projections look like this. Some are also speculating that the AELTC will seed Federer at number one and Nadal number two. The AELTC has resisted pressure to change it's system in the past. Some Spanish players, led by Alex Corretja boycotted the event a few years ago because the British formula adversely affected their seeding. I'd like to say that I doubt the AELTC will mess with the ATP rankings this year but one never knows do one?
I Am Number One
Fans of Dinara Safina are fuming about comments attributed to Serena Williams regarding her ascendancy to Number One.
Serena is quoted as saying "We all know who the real number one is..."
Dinara came back with the following:
'She can say this because she won like many more Grand Slams than me. But she's also older than me so she has more experience than me.
So let's see when I'm gonna be at her age how many titles I'm gonna have, and then we can say."
It's still tough to realize this, in just one year everything changed,' said Safina, who lost the weekend Stuttgart final to compatriot Svetlana Kusnetsova. 'I guess the results, I mean, it's not luck.
'Nobody gave it to me, I proved it. I played two Grand Slam finals (lost to Ana Ivanovic at the French Open 2008 and to Williams for the Australian title this year). And last year I won four titles.
'There was a stage where maybe I won like twenty matches I lost one match, so I think I belong to this, because (the ranking) doesn't come out of sky.
Read More Here
I have nothing against Dinara and feel she is one of the better WTA players when she is on but in this situation I think Serena is right. I would agree with those who say Serena has made some very harsh comments about Russian women players in the past but this time she is stating fact not spouting a point of view. Serena won the last two Slams. She had the best record last year and in any other universe she would be ranked number one. Instead due to the ranking process of the WTA she isn't. Dinara backed into the number one ranking and there is no point in trying to say she didn't. I wish I'd seen the match yesterday but reports I've read say Svetlana Kuznetsova played Dinara off the court. With all the drama surrounding it's ranking system maybe the WTA will look seriously at revamping it so that these situations don't arise.
Speaking of the WTA there are reports Larry Scott will retain an advisory position with the WTA while functioning as PAC-10 commissioner. Interesting if true. Does that mean no one wants to take over the mess he made?
The whispers are getting louder about Maria Sharapova. With her withdrawal from both Rome and Madrid there is open speculation that she may be finished with tennis. I never thought she'd come back during clay season - the physical demands on someone coming back from injury are enormous on the dirt - so I'm looking to see what happens at Wimbledon. The English may be more disposed to let her enter with a protected ranking and avoid having to play qualies and she is much more comfortable on grass. Here are excerpts from the most recent article on her status by Malcolm Folley. Some of it reads as if it was dictated by Maria's agent but there is some meat in the article.
Sharapova has plummeted to No64 in the world and unless she appears at the French Open in Paris in three weeks, she will disappear from the rankings computer altogether as she will not meet the requirement of having three tournament starts to her name in a calendar year.
As a former world No1 and winner of Grand Slam titles, Sharapova would be protected from having to play in qualifying as she will be granted unlimited wild-card invitations, but she cannot expect to be given an automatic high seeding.
At Wimbledon, Sharapova could hope to be dealt with sympathetically as a past champion, if she decides she feels able to play by then.
As a matter of agreement with the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, the seedings committee most frequently select their women seeds for the Championships from the running order of the current rankings.
'But we do reserve our right to exercise our discretion in particular circumstances that may arise,' explained Ian Ritchie, chief executive of the All England Club.
Sharapova's appearance at Wimbledon last summer ended in a humiliating second-round defeat by Alla Kudryavtseva...
Sharapova played just one more singles match after leaving Wimbledon, losing to Ai Sugiyama in Montreal at the beginning of August, and had surgery two months later.
Apart from a doubles match in Indian Wells on March 12, when she lost in the first round with Elena Vesnina, she has practised without the apparent desire to test herself in competition.
Last week in Bradenton, Florida, her practice sessions may have given the impression that she has not totally ruled out taking a gamble by returning at the French Open this month.
But in Paris, where she has an unremarkable record, she cannot be guaranteed a place among the top seeds and that would increase her vulnerability at a time when she would be under the spotlight as never before.
Sharapova and her agent will come under immense pressure from her sponsors to play again.
Audio clip of Roger Federer interview on the BBC described as being "in-depth". Judge for yourself.
What is up with Michelle Larcher de Brito? She wasn't given a wild card into the main draw at Estoril and lost badly to Elena Bovina 6-0, 6-2 failing to qualify for what is the biggest tournament held in Portugal.
Alize Cornet managed to end her slide with a win in Rome over veteran Sugiyama Ai.
Venus Williams needed three sets to win her first round match over Lucie Safarova also in Rome. I saw some of the match. Venus was hitting the snot out of the ball. Not exactly clay court play.
Speaking of which congratulations go to Lauren Embree and John Isner for winning WC's into the French Open. I guess there are no red clay courts in Florida or the United States since the play off's took place on green "clay". Way to practice for the terre battue.
David Nalbandian said his hip did not require surgery and played at Estoril. Paul Capdeville took him out 2&2.
Iveta Benesova of the Czech Republic puts on shorts after officials in Estoril told her the ones she was wearing were too small. So she changed on court. What's the big deal? I assume she put the new ones over the old ones? Just sayin'...
La Caja Magica
These stunning and beautiful images are from the unveiling of Madrid's new tennis complex. I can't wait to see the matches played here.