Rumors are swirling about Venus Williams possibly announcing her retirement today. At this time nothing is confirmed. According to a Russian friend of mine there is an article in the Italian newspaper Il Corriere dello Sport that was referenced on a Russian sports website. The article does not appear on the Il Corriere's website. Venus was photographed this week on crutches and finally released a statement saying that she has been ordered to keep weight off of her knee and that therefore she will not be playing anymore in 2010. Does this mean she has had knee surgery? We won't know unless we see post op proof - a scar of some kind - on her knee. Venus has said more than once this year that she is not retiring. If the situation changes I'll update.
Serena Williams, seen on the beach in Miami, was reported early this morning to have been spotted in Linz, Austria. Soon after that the tournament organizers announced that she will indeed begin her come back at their event. People are saying that Serena decided to come back after losing her number one ranking but the official website for Linz posted a players list with the number one seed blank. Never ever seen that before.
Simply the Best?
Caroline Wozniacki will be ranked number one on Monday. Due to the way ranking is determined in the WTA (see below) she is indeed the number one player at this time. In an age where being consistent trumps being the best I don't think Ms Wozniacki will be the last slamless wonder to sit atop the WTA rankings.
Petra Kvitova had a high UFE count but the new World #1 could only manage to hit three winners. Three.
The American tennis establishment is especially happy about this turn of events since Wozniacki trains at the fabled Adidas center run by Gil Reyes, former fitness coach/trainer for Andre Agassi in Las Vegas. Brad Gilbert, on Twitter, said that tennis is about winning and that is what Wozniacki has been doing. He admits that her record against the top players is poor but as the saying goes you can only play who's in front of you. It helps when you play every tournament known to the Gods and man too I'd say. I believe her win/loss record against the top players is 13/24 admitting I could be off a little either way. But oh yeah, she's consistent. She's made one Grand Slam semi and one final.
It's going to be interesting to see how the press handles Sunshine's ascension to the throne. The same Russian friend cited above feels that Dinara Safina was broken by the constant pressure from the press, and fans, to win a major to justify her ranking. I don't see it that way - if you're ranked number one you have to deal with the close scrutiny the ranking brings. I do hope that Wozniacki gets the same treatment Dinara and Jelena Jankovic got but somehow I don't think she will. Why? She has close ties to the Axis as I call it here (The USTA, The Australian Tennis establisment and the LTA) through the above mentioned Las Vegas facility. Darren Cahill, ESPN announcer and one of the Grand Poobah's of Australian Tennis, is associated with the facility. Stacy Allaster, head of the WTA, is known to be a big fan of Caroline. I think we're going to have consistency rammed down our throats, the same way it was when Dinara was on top of the heap.
Someone posted that the debate about who got the worse of the Federer/Nadal era may now be clear and that it was the WTA. I couldn't agree more.
Meanwhile read the following and see how you feel and why the Tweeter who posted the above may have hit the nail on the head.
The WTA Ranking System - Can It Be Fixed?
The WTA ranking system is once again being called into question. Is this, the solution?
FIXING THE SYSTEM
Although we’re probably beyond the point of hoping that quality points and an averaging system will be reintroduced to the rankings, the WTA system could definitely do with a little tweaking and streamlining to better represent player performance and make it easier for fans to follow. A wise step would be to rank the women according to the ATP World Tour system.
Men’s rankings throughout the ages have not always been so well respected. The old “Best 14 system”, which counted the players’ best 14 results from various events in the past 12 months regardless of the level of tournament, allowed Chilean Marcelo Rios to reach No. 1 in March 1998 having never won a major title. In May 1999, Russian Yevgeny Kafelnikov ascended to the top spot after six consecutive first-round losses. But since the ATP Tour debuted its current system in the early 2000s (it has been altered in minor ways since then but remains essentially the same), there have been few arguments. The current Top 4—Nadal, Djokovic, Federer and Murray—are indeed the best four players on the planet in the past year.
Using the ATP system as a guide for ranking female players, two things improve. One is points distribution. Male and female Grand Slam winners each receive 2000 points. But the WTA Tour awards finalists 1400 points, while the ATP Tour gives the equivalent player only 1200. Female semifinalists are awarded 900 points, but male semifinalists receive 720. And down the line it goes. The same applies for Masters events—the points are halved, but the same difference in point ratio and structure exists. Dinara Safina was able to reach No. 1 after reaching two Grand Slam finals in 2009. Under the men’s system she would have had 400 points less in her total, and may not have hit top spot without actually clinching a major title.
The second improvement is the type of tournaments counted in the rankings. To yield a points total under the ATP system, players must include their results from Grand Slams, the year-end Tour Championships, the nine Masters 1000 tournaments (except Monte Carlo) and a small handful of their best results from lesser 500 and 250 events. The significant majority of events being included are majors and Masters—the most prestigious events. Chasing points at smaller events becomes a less effective strategy, and players are rewarded for good performances on the biggest stages.
I ranked the Top 16 female players according to this system. Players ranking points were accumulated over the past 12 months through their results at the four Grand Slams, Tour Championships in Doha and the top nine Premier events—a combination of the “Mandatory” and “Five” events—in Dubai, Indian Wells, Miami, Rome, Madrid, Cincinnati, Canada, Tokyo and Beijing. This equated to the group of nine “Masters” events on the men’s tour. The rankings also included their best five results at other events—the smaller Premier level events were given ATP 500 status, and International events were treated as ATP 250s.
Although there was surprisingly little change to the order of the top 16, there were enough differences to justify railing against the current system:
Serena Williams remained atop the rankings, but increased her lead over Wozniacki to 1500 points (compared with the 1,000 that separates them now). There would be far less chance for Wozniacki to overtake Williams until at least after next year’s Australian Open. And that’s only if Williams doesn’t play. Under the WTA system, the Dane could reach No. 1 by year’s end.
Clijsters moved from No. 5 to No. 3, ahead of both Venus Williams and Zvonareva. She sits just 200 points behind Wozniacki, and unlike the Dane, has no points to defend between now and year’s end. Being ranked No. 2 or 3 paints a more realistic picture of Clijsters’ stellar season.
Francesca Schiavone swapped places with Sam Stosur, ranking No. 7 ahead of the Aussie’s No. 8. Most people would agree that Stosur has had the better year, but this is a great example of how the ATP system rewards winning major titles. And that’s what has separated Schiavone from Stosur in 2010.
Maria Sharapova rose three places to No. 12, her superior performances in several Masters-level events helping her leapfrog several players.
You be the judge.
Joan Rivers, who is still pee your pants funny, has coined a new expression she uses on her weekly "Fashion Police" show on E!. I'm going use it and say to Gael Monfils. Make it stop.