Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The WTA Ranking System - How It Works

by Savannah

Paula Vergara wrote the following article that I guess could be called "WTA Rankings for Dummies". I guess I fall into that category since I'm just as befuddled after reading it as I was before. To read the article in it's entirety please click the above link.

A special shout out to OnTheBaseline for posting the article.

How It Works

  • The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour ranking system is a rolling, 52-week, cumulative system.

  • The WTA Tour caps a player’s best 16 singles tournament results and best 11 doubles tournament results for one season. .

WTA Ranking Point Distribution for Singles and Doubles

Grand Slams – 2,000 points
Premier Mandatory – 1,000 points
Premier 5 – 800 points
Premier 700 – 470 points
International – 280 points

The Top-10 Has a Ranking System All Its Own

When a new top-10 player participates in Premier 5 tournaments (Dubai, Rome, Cincinnati, Toronto, and Tokyo), those tournaments take on a whole new meaning. Once a top-10 player has 2 Premier 5 tournaments on her record, any other Premier 5 tournament results from the same season can replace her first 2 Premier 5 tournament results, as long as the results are better. Only a player’s 2 best Premier 5 tournament results are included in her ranking. When it comes to Dinara Safina’s record, she must count her ranking points for her 1st round loss in Dubai, unless her results from the upcoming Cincinnati or Toronto tournaments prove better than Dubai.

When Zero Counts

Any player who qualifies (by ranking) for acceptance into the Main Draw of Grand Slams, Premier Mandatory events or the Sony Ericsson Championships, has the benefit of Automatic Main Draw entry into those events. The down side? Any player who is automatically entered and then withdraws or fails to play, receives 0 ranking points for that tournament, which counts on her ranking as one of her best 16 tournament results. In addition, any top-10 player (or marquee player) who fails to play in a Premier 700 Commitment Tournament receives 0 ranking points for the tournament. For example, Serena Williams currently has 2 mandatory zero-point tournaments that count toward her 16 best tournament results. This rule does not apply to players who do not qualify for Automatic Main Draw entry.

Defending Points and Bonus Points

  • If a player reaches the semifinal in the same tournament two years in a row, then she would be “defending her points.” A case in which this would not apply would be the 2008 Olympics.

  • Bonus points simply do not exist in the WTA ranking system.
  • Bonus prize money, on the other hand, does exist.

Ms Vergara then breaks down the point totals for Dinara Safina and Serena Williams.

Dinara Safina No. 1
2009 tournaments played to date: 13

2009 Tournament Results and Ranking Points Accrued:

Sydney (Premier 700) – Final –Ranking Points: 320
Australian Open (Grand Slam) – Final – Ranking Points: 1,400
Dubai (Premier 5) – 1st Round – Ranking Points: 1
Indian Wells (Premier Mandatory) – QF – Ranking Points: 250
Miami (Premier Mandatory)- 3rd Round – Ranking Points: 80
Stuttgart (Premier 700) – Final – Ranking Points: 320
Rome (Premier 5) – Winner – Ranking Points: 800
Madrid (Premier Mandatory): Winner – Ranking Points: 1,000
Roland Garros (Grand Slam) – Final – Ranking Points: 1,400
‘s-Hertogenbosch (International) – SF – Ranking Points: (Not Counting)
Wimbledon (Grand Slam) – SF – Ranking Points: 900
Portoroz (International) – Winner – Ranking Points: 280
Los Angeles (Premier 700) – 3rd Round – Ranking Points: 60 (Not Counting)

2008 Roll-Over Ranking Points: (As of August 10)

Olympics - Beijing (Silver) Ranking Points: 490
US Open (Grand Slam) SF Ranking Points: 900
Tokyo (Premier 5) Winner – Ranking Points: 860
Stuttgart (Premier 700) QF - Ranking Points (Not Counting)
Moscow (Premier 700) SF – Ranking Points: 390
Tour Championships –Round Robin- Ranking Points: 210

Total Ranking Points: 9,601 (As of August 10)
Points from Grand Slams: 4,600
Points from Tour Events: 5,001

Serena Williams No. 2
2009 tournaments played to date: 11

2009 Tournament Results and Ranking Points Accrued:

Sydney (Premier 700) – SF – Ranking Points: 200
Australian Open (Grand Slam) – Winner – Ranking Points: 2,000
Paris (indoors) – (Premier 700) SF – Ranking Points: 200
Dubai (Premier 5) – SF – Ranking Points: 350
Miami (Premier Mandatory) – Final - Ranking Points: 700
Marbella (Premier Mandatory) – 1st Round – Ranking Points: 1
Rome (Premier 5) – 2nd Round (1st Round bye) – Ranking Points: 1
Madrid (Premier Mandatory) – 1st Round – Ranking Points: 5
Roland Garros (Grand Slam) – QF – Ranking Points: 500
Wimbledon (Grand Slam) – Winner – Ranking Points: 2,000
Stanford (Premier 700) – QF– Ranking Points: 120

2008 Roll-Over Ranking Points: (As of August 10)

Olympics - Beijing - QF – Ranking Points: 180
US Open (Grand Slam) Winner – Ranking Points: 2,000
Stuttgart 2r (l. in 2r after 1r bye) – Ranking Points: 1
Tour Championships –Round Robin – Ranking Points: 370

Tournaments Not Played in 2009:

Indian Wells (Premier Mandatory) – Ranking Points: 0
Charleston (Premier 700) – Ranking Points: 0

Total Ranking Points: 8,628 (As of August 10)

Points from Grand Slams: 6,500
Points from Tour Events: 2,128

I know the WTA would like us all to simply back off and let the players play (sorry) but this raises as many questions as it answers. The system, as it stands, rewards quantity not quality. The breakdown does nothing but fuel the flames of the debate.
However the system is what it is. The new WTA administration doesn't seem inclined to change things.
Still thanks go to Ms Vergara for her work laying this out for tennis fans.


Craig Hickman said...

Simply put: it's a sham.

Remove Serena Williams, if you will, from her ranking points and replace her with someone else. Anybody else. Even if it's someone I don't like very much. Like, say... oh, never mind.

If a player's Grand Slam points are that much better than the world No. 1's points from Grand Slams and that player remains ranked behind the world No. 1, then the WTA must do something to weight the non-Slam events differently.

rabbit said...

Thanks! This was really helpful!

Karen said...

You should now write one - how the ATP ranking works. See the Rafa fans are outraged, outraged I tell you that Andy Murray is Slamless, has performed awful in the slams and on Monday will be the No. 2 player in the world. Boy, how things have changed. Look at this scenario. Roger does not make it to the finals of the USO, Murray makes it but loses and still gets to be No. 1. Now you have a slamless No. 1 on the men's side. Or even better, Roger gets to the USO final, wins it, holds 3 slams and ends the year at No. 2 behind Murray because Murray will rack up points at the end of the year to end the year as No. 1 without winning a major. Now how ironic would that be. The ATP is heading to a point where there will be no figure atop the rankings who can hold the public's attention, except for the Brits.

Savannah said...

Get out of my head Karen! :)

Karen said...

@Savannah - LOL
I tell you it is just too funny. Murray said at the beginning of the season that if he breaks serve and holds serve he will be able to end the year at No. 1. I did not watch the match today as I am not a fan of either player. Cannot stand the moping of Delpo (even though I have admired his improvements) and Murray does absolutely nothing for me. PR be damned. I think we as tennis fans have become so used to the FeDal rivalry that right now for the first time ever you actually have Roger and Rafa fans fighting the same battle. How to unseat Murray and ensure that he does not get to No.1. I dont think Murray can win the USO. He will have to be unbelievably lucky. No way he takes down Roger in New York. NO WAY

Karen said...

During the women's match, it was reported that of the players who were already on site in Cincy, they were in the players' lounge watching golf and Usain Bolt's 100m race. No one was watching the match in Montreal. Clearly if a Murray match cannot generate interest by their peers, how are the fans supposed to get behind this player with the personality of a slug.