WTA Ranking System - a complete mess!

DMan

Professional
Congratulations Kim Clijsters, you’ve just won your first Australian Open, and 4th major singles titles of your career! So what are you going to do to celebrate? I mean just how does the world’s best female tennis player celebrate a huge win these days?

Wait…..you’re NOT the world’s best female tennis player?! Huh?! I don’t get it. Kim, you just won your second straight major, adding to the US Open title you won in September. You also won the WTA Tour Championships in October. The Tour Championships are the WTA’s biggest event of the year, only the top 8 are invited, and you won, beating Caroline Wozniacki in the final. You’re also the holder of the Sony Ericsson Miami title, a tournament many refer to as the 5th major. And you also won the Cincinnati tournament, another top tier event on the women’s tour. Your record in the last year is 44-7, an 86% winning percentage, best of all the players on tour.

But what is this, you’re not ranked #1? How can that be?

Oh that’s right. This is the WTA! Home of the worst ranking system in all of professional tennis! A system that rewards mediocrity. A system that throws out bad results. A system that considers quantity more important than quality. In other words, first round wins at Tier IV events are considered just as important as victories in the semifinals or finals at majors.

Now I understand why Caroline Wozniacki is #1. Afterall, Caroline is really good at winning the easy early round matches at small tournaments. Caroline has own 64 matches in the last 12 months, which is more than any other woman. Of course Caroline played 22 tournaments in the last year, so she’s had plenty of opportunities (save those 3 events where she got bounced in the first round……but in the wonderful world of the WTA rankings, those bad losses DON’T COUNT!) But in the biggest moments of the tennis season,t he 4 majors, where was Caroline? Winning all of 2 games in the 4th round at Wimbledon against a player ranked 62nd in the world. Garnering a mere 5 games in the QF of the French Open. Playing dismally in a pressure filled match as the #1 seed in the US Open. Losing to the girl not ranked #1 Kim Clijsters in the finals of the WTA Tour Championships. And choking away a semifinal match in the Australian Open. Sure Caroline has been good with the smaller events, the Ponte Vedra and Copenhagen tournaments. True Caroline also won New Haven (never a top tier event for the women), and two semi-big events in Tokyo or Beijing, where neither Kim Clijsters or Serena Williams competed.

Both Clijsters and Wozniacki have 5 tournaments in the last 1 2months. Let’s compare:
Kim: Australian Open, US Open, WTA Tour Championships, Miami, Cincinnati
Caroline: Ponte Vedra, Copenhagen, New Haven, Tokyo, Beijing
I wonder whose trophy case is more impressive?

OK, so it’s not Caroline’s fault the WTA’s ranking system is pathetic. So let’s look at the numbers. ALL of the numbers.

In the last 12 months, Kim Clijsters has earned 8515 ranking points in 11 events. Pretty Kim-pressive!
Caroline has earned 9028 points in 22 events. In twice as many tournaments, Wozniacki has garnered just 513 more points than Kim. It means that Kim could have sleep walked through 11 tournaments to rack up 514 more points, she would be #1.
Well of course the WTA doesn’t have a strict add ‘em up tally. They only count the best 17 results. So Caroline gets to throw out her worst 5 results. Kim has to count all results – and they were al pretty darn good – since she only played 11.
But, if the WTA used a smart ranking system, one where ALL results count, and a system that averaged out player results based on the number of tournaments played, here’s how it would look:

Kim Clijsters 8515 points divided by 11 tournaments = 774.09 ranking average
Caroline Wozniacki 9028 points divided by 22 tournaments = 410.36 ranking average

But, doesn’t that kind of system favor the players who play less (i.e., Serena Williams, so long as they win big tournaments)? Well, yes. So I think it would be wise to use a minimum tournament divisor of 14 events. Or 17, which is the number of tournament results the WTA currently uses.

So if you used either 14 or 17 as a minimum divisor, here’s how Kim’s ranking average looks:
8515 points divided by 14 = 608.21 ranking average
8515 points divided by 17 = 500.88 ranking average

Any way you slice it, the numbers don’t lie:

Kim Clijsters is the world’s best tennis player, and by a pretty comfortable margin. Embarrassingly large margin if you use the 14 event divisor.

But the WTA’s head honchos are the only ones who should be embarrassed. Wozniacki should have nothing to apologize for. She’s young, and she’s doing the best she can. She’s just not the best female tennis player in the world. The WTA has had to endure the pitiful rises to number 1 in the rankings by the likes of Ana Ivanovic, Jelena Jankovic, and Dinara Safina when these players were clearly neither ready nor deserving of that moniker, number one player in the world. Although Ivanovic had won a major title, Jankovic, Safina, and Wozniacki only had the distinction of reaching one major final – and losing – when they first earned the #1 ranking.

The WTA continues to insist their system is a fair and accurate one. (Stop the hysterical snickering behind the curtain!!!) Sure Serena Williams never liked to or could play a full schedule. But no matter where she fell in the official rankings, for most of the last few years, EVERYONE knew Serena was the best player. And with Serena’s serious foot problems, Kim has emerged in the last 9 months to clearly establish herself as the best player in the world. It would be nice if the official WTA Tour rankings would reflect reality. But that’s too much to ask of the WTA!
 
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dr325i

G.O.A.T.
Amazing...wasted soooo much time to prove NOTHING!
The system is simple and has been working for a while. You don't get to the top for ONLY the slam performance or for a few good runs (nothing against Kim here, I agree that currently there is no one better than her), but the 12-month "rolling average". Like it or not consistency and dedication pays off with the system.
 
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NadalAgassi

Guest
The WTA need to go back to their ranking system from the 90s. Under that one I am pretty sure Kim would be #1. Wozniacki is indeed an embarassment at #1 but big deal. It is not like anyone considers her the best player in the World other than her dad.
 

Zildite

Hall of Fame
Doesnt the ATP count the top 18 tournament results only? Not too dissimilar to the WTA's 17.

11 tournaments in 12 months doesnt seem like a lot, even if Kim did win the big ones.
 

Bryan Swartz

Hall of Fame
Again, the ranking system is called the entry ranking system for a reason. It's primary purpose is to determine seedings and who gets into events. Not who is the best player.

So I think it would be wise to use a minimum tournament divisor of 14 events. Or 17, which is the number of tournament results the WTA currently uses.

This would still reward players who play less. I've demonstrated this to you before, and you've chosen not to respond on point.
 
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NadalAgassi

Guest
Doesnt the ATP count the top 18 tournament results only? Not too dissimilar to the WTA's 17.

11 tournaments in 12 months doesnt seem like a lot, even if Kim did win the big ones.

The players that play more than 17 events though can throw all out all but their best 17. It is not an average. And wins in very minor tournaments can and often are counted above poor results in Slams or Premier tournaments. In the ATP your slams and Masters events make up almost all your points and there is no throwing out poor results. Very minor events can only count for a few of your remaining counted tournaments.

The WTA ranking system in the 90s was also very different. Your average was divided by 12 if you played 12 or fewer events, then divided by whatever # you played if you played more than 12. No being rewarded for playing 30 tournaments, your average level of performance is what mattered. You also got bonus points for wins over higher ranked players, and the bigger the event the more bonus points awarded for that too.
 
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NadalAgassi

Guest
This would still reward players who play less. I've demonstrated this to you before, and you've chosen not to respond on point.

Who cares. I would see a #1 who only plays 10-12 events and wins big titles than a #1 who plays 30 events and cant win any big titles or beat the other top players. I dont see what is so exciting about encouraging people to play 30 events to try and gain a hollow #1 ranking, get tired, and fizzle out at the important events.
 

Bryan Swartz

Hall of Fame
I respect the directness of your response, but I totally disagree. Having top players only play 10-12 events is very bad for the sport for multiple reasons:

** Creating an incentive to play less will promote top players playing less events, causing lowered interest and investment in the sport. That's bad for everyone. It's a great way to kill the sport, and is more than enough reason not to do it all by itself. What the WTA needs to look at is why the top women(unlike the extremely similar ATP system) aren't playing more. The problem is not the ranking system.

** To repeat, it's the entry ranking system: not the 'best player' ranking system. Declaring the best player is not it's main purpose and is a secondary concern.

** The current system does not encourage players to play anything like 30 events, nor do is encourage them to play so much they fizzle out at the big events. You can't throw out a Slam result no matter how bad it is, and they are worth the most points by far, so every player is encouraged by the system to do their best at them.
 
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NadalAgassi

Guest
Maybe I am mistaken on something on the ranking system but as far as I knew you CAN throw out slam results if you have 17 tournaments that you gained more points from. Granted I am not sure Wozniacki herself has any slam results so poor that is the case, but that is aside the point.

I dont see what is wrong with a top player playing about 12 tournaments. It is not like there arent an abundance of players to fill up the tour calendar, and getting to see the each one of the top players around 12 tournaments a year per each, including 4 2 week slam events isnt sufficient amount for a tennis fan.

And a casual fan thinks of #1 as the best. Having #1s who are not the best players is not a good thing for the sport at all. It confuses and alienates people and makes a mockery of it the tours policies too. Even worse than that a casual fan might mistakenly think Wozniacki, Safina, or Jankovic were ever the best the game had to offer (they arent and werent, thank goodness) and be even less inclined to watch it. It is not like women tennis is doing well as far as TV ratings and interest right now anyway.
 
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namelessone

Legend
Congratulations Kim Clijsters, you’ve just won your first Australian Open, and 4th major singles titles of your career! So what are you going to do to celebrate? I mean just how does the world’s best female tennis player celebrate a huge win these days?

Wait…..you’re NOT the world’s best female tennis player?! Huh?! I don’t get it. Kim, you just won your second straight major, adding to the US Open title you won in September. You also won the WTA Tour Championships in October. The Tour Championships are the WTA’s biggest event of the year, only the top 8 are invited, and you won, beating Caroline Wozniacki in the final. You’re also the holder of the Sony Ericsson Miami title, a tournament many refer to as the 5th major. And you also won the Cincinnati tournament, another top tier event on the women’s tour. Your record in the last year is 44-7, an 86% winning percentage, best of all the players on tour.

But what is this, you’re not ranked #1? How can that be?

Oh that’s right. This is the WTA! Home of the worst ranking system in all of professional tennis! A system that rewards mediocrity. A system that throws out bad results. A system that considers quantity more important than quality. In other words, first round wins at Tier IV events are considered just as important as victories in the semifinals or finals at majors.

Now I understand why Caroline Wozniacki is #1. Afterall, Caroline is really good at winning the easy early round matches at small tournaments. Caroline has own 64 matches in the last 12 months, which is more than any other woman. Of course Caroline played 22 tournaments in the last year, so she’s had plenty of opportunities (save those 3 events where she got bounced in the first round……but in the wonderful world of the WTA rankings, those bad losses DON’T COUNT!) But in the biggest moments of the tennis season,t he 4 majors, where was Caroline? Winning all of 2 games in the 4th round at Wimbledon against a player ranked 62nd in the world. Garnering a mere 5 games in the QF of the French Open. Playing dismally in a pressure filled match as the #1 seed in the US Open. Losing to the girl not ranked #1 Kim Clijsters in the finals of the WTA Tour Championships. And choking away a semifinal match in the Australian Open. Sure Caroline has been good with the smaller events, the Ponte Vedra and Copenhagen tournaments. True Caroline also won New Haven (never a top tier event for the women), and two semi-big events in Tokyo or Beijing, where neither Kim Clijsters or Serena Williams competed.

Both Clijsters and Wozniacki have 5 tournaments in the last 1 2months. Let’s compare:
Kim: Australian Open, US Open, WTA Tour Championships, Miami, Cincinnati
Caroline: Ponte Vedra, Copenhagen, New Haven, Tokyo, Beijing
I wonder whose trophy case is more impressive?

OK, so it’s not Caroline’s fault the WTA’s ranking system is pathetic. So let’s look at the numbers. ALL of the numbers.

In the last 12 months, Kim Clijsters has earned 8515 ranking points in 11 events. Pretty Kim-pressive!
Caroline has earned 9028 points in 22 events. In twice as many tournaments, Wozniacki has garnered just 513 more points than Kim. It means that Kim could have sleep walked through 11 tournaments to rack up 514 more points, she would be #1.
Well of course the WTA doesn’t have a strict add ‘em up tally. They only count the best 17 results. So Caroline gets to throw out her worst 5 results. Kim has to count all results – and they were al pretty darn good – since she only played 11.
But, if the WTA used a smart ranking system, one where ALL results count, and a system that averaged out player results based on the number of tournaments played, here’s how it would look:

Kim Clijsters 8515 points divided by 11 tournaments = 774.09 ranking average
Caroline Wozniacki 9028 points divided by 22 tournaments = 410.36 ranking average

But, doesn’t that kind of system favor the players who play less (i.e., Serena Williams, so long as they win big tournaments)? Well, yes. So I think it would be wise to use a minimum tournament divisor of 14 events. Or 17, which is the number of tournament results the WTA currently uses.

So if you used either 14 or 17 as a minimum divisor, here’s how Kim’s ranking average looks:
8515 points divided by 14 = 608.21 ranking average
8515 points divided by 17 = 500.88 ranking average

Any way you slice it, the numbers don’t lie:

Kim Clijsters is the world’s best tennis player, and by a pretty comfortable margin. Embarrassingly large margin if you use the 14 event divisor.

But the WTA’s head honchos are the only ones who should be embarrassed. Wozniacki should have nothing to apologize for. She’s young, and she’s doing the best she can. She’s just not the best female tennis player in the world. The WTA has had to endure the pitiful rises to number 1 in the rankings by the likes of Ana Ivanovic, Jelena Jankovic, and Dinara Safina when these players were clearly neither ready nor deserving of that moniker, number one player in the world. Although Ivanovic had won a major title, Jankovic, Safina, and Wozniacki only had the distinction of reaching one major final – and losing – when they first earned the #1 ranking.

The WTA continues to insist their system is a fair and accurate one. (Stop the hysterical snickering behind the curtain!!!) Sure Serena Williams never liked to or could play a full schedule. But no matter where she fell in the official rankings, for most of the last few years, EVERYONE knew Serena was the best player. And with Serena’s serious foot problems, Kim has emerged in the last 9 months to clearly establish herself as the best player in the world. It would be nice if the official WTA Tour rankings would reflect reality. But that’s too much to ask of the WTA!

Speaking as a guy that would rather do anything else than watch most WTA matches, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the system. The system can't fight against mental midgetry. Whose fault is it that most of these gals can't win two big tourneys in a row or maintain some kind of consistency throughout the year. Like it or not, Wozniacki has been the most consistent, though that's not saying much in today's field. Just look at how many freaking chokers and headcases exist in the WTA, the nr of upsets is staggering and Serena Williams could probably take 1-2 years off and still beat most of their asses. Hell, mommy Clijsters has been owning most of them after taking quite some time off. Actually some of the best matches have been given by veterans like stosur,schiavone,na li,dementieva(before she retired) while the new generation fails to impress.
 

PCXL-Fan

Hall of Fame
Dman, don't worry!

In the end nobody will respect Wozniaki's #1 ranking achievement more then Clijsters 4 grandslams and counting. Thats what really matters.

Its business. The WTA have to allow 17 tournaments into the ranking. The 500 and 250 smaller tournaments all want to have more relevance and they want to attract top players. That wouldn't happen quite as much if the points didn't matter, because only 12 tournaments counted towards ranking.
 
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NadalAgassi

Guest
Kim will be #1 if she reaches the semis of her next tournament which I believe is Paris. So this should be changing soon. Hopefully Wozniacki wont then make an even bigger fool of herself like Safina did in 2009 by declaring while slamless and after some major ass whoopings by the Sisters that she was going to fight hard for her rightful #1 rank, LOL!
 

Max G.

Legend
...why on earth has Kim played only 11 events? That's 6 less than the minimum required number. Almost a third under.

Yeah, there's not going to be any ranking system that rewards you for playing 33% less than you're required to. That's true of an any system with a minimum requirement.

When Kim gets a full season (17 tournaments) counting towards her ranking, she'll get to where she's supposed to be.
 

li0scc0

Hall of Fame
If Wozniacki was a joke #1, would she have reached the semifinal of the past two Majors, and been one point from making the final at the Australian Open? No.
 

TMF

Talk Tennis Guru
Unreal !
The ranking system is quite the same as the ATP and no one is complaining. Players are obligated to play full time tennis or complete the require number of tourneys for one full year. So simple even a kindergarten can understand. The problem is posters only complain when their favorite players isn't at the top.
 
As I'm sure people have already said, it's not the ranking system's fault that Clijsters doesn't play a full schedule. And if you make the slams worth more points, or the regular tour events worth less, then how do you expect the young up and comers to get their ranking high enough to gain entry into the slams?


The ranking system is fine, just accept it for what it's worth.
 
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NadalAgassi

Guest
If Wozniacki was a joke #1, would she have reached the semifinal of the past two Majors, and been one point from making the final at the Australian Open? No.

Real #1s win big titles, they dont max out at losing in the semis even with Serena not playing. Wozniacki would be a good top 5 player right now.
 

boredone3456

G.O.A.T.
How is it the systems fault that the best players in the world based on ability do not play enough events to earn the points to be ranked number 1 on the cumputer? If Kim or Serena actually played enough and tried hard enough one of them would be number 1 and the other would likely be number 2 by a comfortable margin, but since Serena has been injured on the sidelines and then Kim playing an extremely limited schedule this is what you get. People need to stop blaming the system when what is happening is beyond its control.
 

ollinger

G.O.A.T.
The ranking system doesn't pretend to assert that Wozniacki is "the best" player in the world. Never has. That's the OP's misinterpretation. It's a system based on PERFORMANCE that allots certain priveleges, such as high seeding in tournaments, or inclusion in year end championships, based on PERFORMANCE. Don't read more into it than is actually there.
 

Bryan Swartz

Hall of Fame
as far as I knew you CAN throw out slam results if you have 17 tournaments that you gained more points from.

FYI this is incorrect. It is not a strict 'best 17' -- there are also limitations on throwing out Premier events, but you cannot throw out a Slam result no matter what.

I dont see what is wrong with a top player playing about 12 tournaments. It is not like there arent an abundance of players to fill up the tour calendar, and getting to see the each one of the top players around 12 tournaments a year per each, including 4 2 week slam events isnt sufficient amount for a tennis fan.

It's not about finding players to fill the spots in events -- it's about the events themselves. Premier, Tier I and lower events have to grow in order for the sport to grow. These events can only succeed to the extent peopel are interested in attending them. If top players never have to show up, that won't happen. The 'average points' type of system will result in encouraging players to play less(not just the top players) -- they'll only want to play the very best events that they can get into, even if those aren't Slams. This will suck the life out of the supporting events, which hurts the interest in tennis in those areas, etc. It's just horrible for the sport.

Not to mention that 12 events is less than 20 weeks a year. You have to play more than that in any other sport. That's a good thing. Being a professional athlete is and should be a full-time concern.

And a casual fan thinks of #1 as the best. Having #1s who are not the best players is not a good thing for the sport at all. It confuses and alienates people and makes a mockery of it the tours policies too.

Completely disagree. Your average casual fan does not automatically think the team with the best record in other sports is the best. Example: ask your average casual fan in basketball who is better, the Lakers or the Spurs. Give them the records if you want to make sure they know them. The Spurs have lost half the games, but most still think the Lakers are better. Fans are not so simplistic as your statement seems to imply.
 

DMan

Professional
The WTA need to go back to their ranking system from the 90s. Under that one I am pretty sure Kim would be #1. Wozniacki is indeed an embarassment at #1 but big deal. It is not like anyone considers her the best player in the World other than her dad.

Kerflumpt!!! And OUCH!!!

I just fell out of my chair NadalAgassi!!

We actually AGREE on something. I just heard Dick Enberg gasp a huge Oh My!!!


FWIW - the average ranking system from my post was the system the WTA used int he 1990s. Although I believe they also incorporated "bonus points" as well, for wins over players based on their rankings at time of match. Which would only amplify Kim's lead in the rankings.
 

DMan

Professional
Again, the ranking system is called the entry ranking system for a reason. It's primary purpose is to determine seedings and who gets into events. Not who is the best player.



This would still reward players who play less. I've demonstrated this to you before, and you've chosen not to respond on point.

So what "system" other than the court of public opinion, which is decidedly in the Clijsters camp as to who is the best player in the world, is used to determine who is the best player in the world???

And, as I clearly proved in my post, where I showed "reality rankings".....a FAIR system which uses ALL tournament results, and uses a minimum divisor of 14, or even 17 tournaments, Kim Clijsters is far and away the best player in the world.

A system that calculates a ranking average based on the WTA's current system of only counting the best 17 results.....I mean how does that "reward" players who play less? That system actually penalizes those who play fewer tournaments, because they essentially get 0 points in their calculations.

Bottom line is you've chosen to ignore every post where I've clearly demonstrated that a ranking system - which the WTA has used in the past - which ranks players by an average # of points per event, divided by events played or a minimum divisor, is the only sound way to rank players.

And by the way, can you confirm you work for the WTA, which is why you're constantly harping on how great their current system is!

And PS - "entry ranking system" to determine who gets into events? More total b.s.! I mean, playing a bunch of small events, racking up points, is supposed to determine how "worthy" you are to get into an event. Seeding purposes> Exactly what are seedings supposed to do?

Sadly both the WTA and ATP have been stubbornly married to the rankings when determining seedings. Seedings, at least the way they should be done, are meant as a predictor of the tournament outcome. i.e. you want the #1 and #2 (the two best players, not the gals who racked up the most # of points playing in Ponte Vedra, Copenhagen and New Haven) int he finals. So circumstances such as past experience, surface proficiency, ability to win under pressure should be factored into seedings.
 

DMan

Professional
The ranking system doesn't pretend to assert that Wozniacki is "the best" player in the world. Never has. That's the OP's misinterpretation. It's a system based on PERFORMANCE that allots certain priveleges, such as high seeding in tournaments, or inclusion in year end championships, based on PERFORMANCE. Don't read more into it than is actually there.

No. The SYSTEM IS BROKEN. I have to wrote in big bold letters. The intention is that the system is BROKEN.

And there have been SO MANY INSTANCES since the WTA went to this system in 1997 where it was clear, that a system that rewards quantity over quality will never yield results which demonstrate who are the best players in the world, based on PERFORMANCES in ALL TOURNAMENTS, with a PREMIUM on RESULTS in MAJOR events (not Ponte Vedra, Cponehagen, New Haven, and Tokyo).

I mean if you have a ranking system that is really only used to determine entry and seedings, and according to some isn't really meant to acknowldedge who is the best player in the world, why bother posting or really publicizing the rankings? Why keep a list of players who have been ranked #1, and list Wozniacki, Safina, Jankovic alongside Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf, etc.
 

DMan

Professional
Speaking as a guy that would rather do anything else than watch most WTA matches, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the system.

No, there's plenty wrong with the system!

The system can't fight against mental midgetry. Whose fault is it that most of these gals can't win two big tourneys in a row or maintain some kind of consistency throughout the year. Like it or not, Wozniacki has been the most consistent, though that's not saying much in today's field.

And Clijsters hasn't been consistent? She wins the big events consistently. Plus she doesn't have three first round losses on her ledger in the last year.
 

HellBunni

Rookie
nope, the system is pretty close to the ATP system

quoted from the WTA 2011 ranking system pdf

The WTA rankings are based on a 52-week, cumulative system. A player's ranking is determined by her results
at a maximum of 16 tournaments for singles and 11 for doubles.
The tournaments that count towards a player's ranking are those that yield the highest ranking points during
the rolling 52-week period. They must include points from the Grand Slams, Premier Mandatory tournaments
and the WTA Championships. For Top 20 players, their best two results at Premier 5 tournaments (Dubai, Rome,
Cincinnati, Montreal/Toronto and Tokyo) will also count.

In order to appear on the WTA rankings, players must earn ranking points in at least 3 tournaments, or a
minimum of 10 singles ranking points or 10 doubles ranking points in one or more tournaments.

4 slams, 4 premier mandatory, 1 year end, 2 premier 5 (for top 20 players) => 11 events must count, with 5 slots outside of these tournaments that is based off of best result.
 

Devilito

Hall of Fame
These women win one slam or rack up some nice coin somewhere else and it’s retiremement land for them. If you want to be number 1 you have to play. Tennis isn’t 4 majors than every other tournament can fck off. 11 tournaments in 12 months is pathetic unless you’re injured. If anything, you owe the fans to make some appearances and give it your best shot. What they really should do is bring back slam prize money to 1990 levels and see how many tournaments these greedy bozos will start playing all of a sudden.
 

DMan

Professional
** To repeat, it's the entry ranking system: not the 'best player' ranking system. Declaring the best player is not it's main purpose and is a secondary concern.

According to who? And exactly where is it publicized that the WTA rankings are the "Entry Ranking System"?

And if a ranking system that is made public every week, that the players, fans, and media reference all the time, is not to determine who is the best player, 2nd best player, 3rd best player, 5th best, 10th, etc., etc., etc. why bother with a public ranking system at all? The WTA rankings are first and foremost to determine entry into tournaments? When there are wild cards, qualifying, and sponsor exemptions also in the mix as far as who gets into a tournament? I mean Serena Williams can get in any tournament she wants regardless of her ranking.

No, the WTA issues a weekly ranking. A ranking is defined as a list showing relative standing. Of course the WTA has a very low relative standing when it comes to employing a fair and accurate ranking system. But that's another story for another thread.
 

Manus Domini

Hall of Fame
Is it just me, or is it the guy who didn't make it to the past four finals of the slams that is ahead of a finalist at USO and a champ at AO on the ATP tour?
 

dcdoorknob

Hall of Fame
If Clijsters didn't miss just about the entire clay court season last year due to injury, she would be #1 and this thread wouldn't exist.
 

Spin Doctor

Professional
Are players required to play a minimum number of tournaments to maintain their WTA membership? Or can they just show up for the slams if they wanted?


These women win one slam or rack up some nice coin somewhere else and it’s retiremement land for them. If you want to be number 1 you have to play. Tennis isn’t 4 majors than every other tournament can fck off. 11 tournaments in 12 months is pathetic unless you’re injured. If anything, you owe the fans to make some appearances and give it your best shot. What they really should do is bring back slam prize money to 1990 levels and see how many tournaments these greedy bozos will start playing all of a sudden.

Heh. Crudely articulated but very true. These women just don't have ambition. There is too much money in the sport. They want to score their modelling and endorsement opportunities then they're off chasing boyfriends or designing tacky clothes. What ever happened to the Steffis and Martinas, players that WANTED TO WIN EVERYTHING. Those days are gone. If you can look cute and make an endorsement deal worth more than actual tennis earnings, why bother playing so much or working so hard? If a nobody like Kirilenko can be the face of Adidas without achieving anything, why bother working hard at tennis when you can get rich doing half as much?
 

Bryan Swartz

Hall of Fame
You are correct, Manus Domini. The question is: is this a problem?(hint -- your analysis of the situatiion misses vital information)

As to Dman -- so many fallacies, so little time. But I will do my best.

And, as I clearly proved in my post, where I showed "reality rankings".....a FAIR system which uses ALL tournament results, and uses a minimum divisor of 14, or even 17 tournaments, Kim Clijsters is far and away the best player in the world.

You proved no such thing. You made a flawed argument in favor of it, yes. I don't think your system is fairer. I've pointed out why. Furthermore, I never said Clijsters wasn't the best. Whether she is or isn't is irrelevant to this conversation, but I happen to agree that she is the best player.

According to who? And exactly where is it publicized that the WTA rankings are the "Entry Ranking System"?

This stuff is not exactly secret. It isn't put in those precise words(although the ATP one is expressly called the entry ranking system), but the WTA rules specifically state thusly:

"The worldwide computer ranking for women’s Professional Tennis
(“WTA Rankings”) reflect a player’s performance in tournament play and
determine player acceptances and seeding for all Tournaments."

Anyone remotely familiar of the evolution of modern tennis knows the purpose of the rankings is to determine entry into tournaments.

A system that calculates a ranking average based on the WTA's current system of only counting the best 17 results.....I mean how does that "reward" players who play less? That system actually penalizes those who play fewer tournaments, because they essentially get 0 points in their calculations.

I addressed this in another thread, which I have repeatedly referenced and which you have repeatedly ignored. But let's take your Wozniacki/Clijsters example.

Using a 16 divisor(since that's the number the WTA requires), we would have this:

Clijsters -- 532.19
Wozniacki -- 410.36

Now, let's say Wozniacki wants to play another WTA-level event. Unless it's Premier event, she will lose points no matter how well she does. She could go through an International event and not lose a point ... she drops to 404.7. Effectively what this ranking does to players of the elite level(Clijsters, Wozniacki, whoever else) is tells them don't play small events. Wozniacki would lose points also if she played even the smaller Premier events unless she won the tournament(and even then she would gain almost nothing, less than 3 points). How is it in any way, shape, or form, 'fairer' to have a player lose points for winning a tournament? That is just so perverse, and it is exactly what is wrong with the average points ranking system. There's no way to keep it from penalizing players from being active on tour. It tells them to stay away from medium-size and small-size events(I'm not talking the ITF ones, just the mainline WTA events) that need to grow in order for the sport to be successful.

by the way, can you confirm you work for the WTA, which is why you're constantly harping on how great their current system is!

What an epic fail of a cheap accusation. No I don't.

"entry ranking system" to determine who gets into events? More total b.s.! I mean, playing a bunch of small events, racking up points, is supposed to determine how "worthy" you are to get into an event. Seeding purposes> Exactly what are seedings supposed to do?

*Facepalm* *Double Facepalm*

It's not playing a bunch of small events. It's playing whatever events you play, with more credit given for the bigger ones. If you don't think event performance should determine who is 'worthy', how do you propose we do it? Hold a lottery? Should Wozniacki have the same chance as a HS freshman player to make it into a Slam?

Seedings prevent top players from meeting early in a tournament. They ensure that top players will meet at the end of a tournament, if they survive the earlier rounds. They are why we don't get matchups like Clijsters v. Li or Wozniacki v. Zvonareva or whatever in the second round.

Bottom line is you've chosen to ignore every post where I've clearly demonstrated that a ranking system - which the WTA has used in the past - which ranks players by an average # of points per event, divided by events played or a minimum divisor, is the only sound way to rank players.

No I haven't. I have repeatedly replied on point. Feel free to stop blatantly and hypocritically lying about me any time you wish.

Seedings, at least the way they should be done, are meant as a predictor of the tournament outcome. i.e. you want the #1 and #2 (the two best players, not the gals who racked up the most # of points playing in Ponte Vedra, Copenhagen and New Haven) int he finals. So circumstances such as past experience, surface proficiency, ability to win under pressure should be factored into seedings.

Disagree completely. How do you quantify those things? In order for a system to be fair, it must follow an established formula and not be subject to human subjectivity. Even Wimbledon has realized this. Giving extra credit for a player's performance on a surface can be done(it is at Wimby), but past experience has all kinds of problems(like freezing out new players) and so does 'win under pressure'.
 

Bryan Swartz

Hall of Fame
Are players required to play a minimum number of tournaments to maintain their WTA membership? Or can they just show up for the slams if they wanted?

They are fined if they don't, but top players laugh at the fines. It's not required to be a professional player.
 

DMan

Professional
Creating an incentive to play less will promote top players playing less events, causing lowered interest and investment in the sport. That's bad for everyone. It's a great way to kill the sport, and is more than enough reason not to do it all by itself. What the WTA needs to look at is why the top women(unlike the extremely similar ATP system) aren't playing more. The problem is not the ranking system.

Exactly what incentive is there to play less tournaments? What?

Oh, and top players not playing in many events? Did you ever survey the # of tournaments played by top players since the inception of computer rankings. No matter what system, the top players will play in exactly the # of tournaments they want to play in.

Lower interest and investment int he sport? Do you have real data to support this (I suspect not).

Why aren't the top women playing more? Ask Larry Scott, your former boss. Now didn't he create the great and wonderful WTA Road Map. The one that was supposed to "re-invent" and invigorate the women's game?

The current ranking system is a problem, as I have clearly pointed out. The system they should use, may or may not result in players competing in more events. But at least it would be a more universally accepted and RESPECTED system. And the WTA wouldn't have to constantly be on the defensive about how truly weak their #1 ranked player is.
 

DMan

Professional
It's not about finding players to fill the spots in events -- it's about the events themselves. Premier, Tier I and lower events have to grow in order for the sport to grow. These events can only succeed to the extent peopel are interested in attending them. If top players never have to show up, that won't happen. The 'average points' type of system will result in encouraging players to play less(not just the top players) -- they'll only want to play the very best events that they can get into, even if those aren't Slams. This will suck the life out of the supporting events, which hurts the interest in tennis in those areas, etc. It's just horrible for the sport.

The WTA Tour is about the tournaments?! Premier events have to grow in order for the sport to grow.

Here's the dirty little truth about women's pro tennis. It isn't growing. In fact,t he women can barely support a tour for just the women. It's the reason why so many of the Premier tournaments are combo events. And I might add these are all events in which the women joined an already established men's tournament. Even long time women only events, such as the Family Circle Cup, are routinely ignored by the very top players. (Check the draws and tell me the last time this tournament had more than 5 of the top 10 players!)

Tournaments have to grow for the sport to grow? You mean in draw size? Or how? Should there be more tournaments?

Yes, it would be nice if the commitment from the women were more logical and consistent, and of course having a more logical tour calendar would do wonders!

More fans would attend tournaments if the matches were more appealing. Bottom line is, women's tennis is currently not that interesting. And when you build a tour and events just around the stars and not the product, the product suffers. While fans go to baseball, hockey, football, race car events, etc to see their favorites, and the stars, they know it's still about the sport as a whole. Women's tennis has so few stars, and a product that just doesn't resonate with a lot of tennis fans (or the attendance would be higher), sports fans, or the general public.


The 'average points' type of system will result in encouraging players to play less(not just the top players) -- they'll only want to play the very best events that they can get into, even if those aren't Slams. This will suck the life out of the supporting events, which hurts the interest in tennis in those areas, etc. It's just horrible for the sport.

Exactly how does an average ranking system encourage players to compete in fewer tournaments? And is there any scientific evidence to support this? Top players only want to play the best events they can get into? They can already get into any event they want to! You a merely projecting something (top players competing in fewer tournaments) that has neither happened, or has already happened in the current system.

Sucking the life out of smaller events? How? And who says? And while we're at it, shoudl Kim and Caroline and the other top stars be playing in smaller events? And why? If the top stars are playing in smaller events (essentially becoming exos for the top players) why bother playing in "bigger" events. And then just what does constitute a big event?

And if the women just don't want to play in more tournaments, and as a result some smaller events go under, well then it was just meant to be.

Not to mention that 12 events is less than 20 weeks a year. You have to play more than that in any other sport. That's a good thing. Being a professional athlete is and should be a full-time concern.

I can't speak to whether Serena or Kim, or any of the others would say they have a full-time concern.

My argument is with the WTA's ranking system.

No one has yet to explain why an average ranking system with a minimum divisor is not a fair and accurate ranking system. No bad results thrown out. If you want to/need to play in a lot of tournaments, you're free to do so. And how a player fairs in 25 tournaments, or 20 or 15 is completely up to the player. Completely. So 25 really good results will translate into a very good ranking. 25 up and down results won't translate into a ranking as high. But then again, what's considered a better marker of a higher level of performance? Consistently good results, even in fewer events? Or playing lots of tournaments, knowing you can ditch the bad results, and maintain a more lofty ranking position? (even when the press i going to hound you for not being worthy of that position?)



Completely disagree. Your average casual fan does not automatically think the team with the best record in other sports is the best. Example: ask your average casual fan in basketball who is better, the Lakers or the Spurs. Give them the records if you want to make sure they know them. The Spurs have lost half the games, but most still think the Lakers are better. Fans are not so simplistic as your statement seems to imply.

Well that depends. In many US pro sports, there is a regular season, followed by playoffs. So the team with the best record in regular season IS regarded as the best team. But then there's the playoffs. And the team to emerge winning the playoffs is then regarded as the best team. And at any given moment during the regular season, and perhaps all the way up to the final championship game, one team may be regarded as better than the other, perhaps by reputation. (That happens in tennis too.) But once you're beaten in the biggest moment, your ranking/standing suffers. Sure, some fans continue to remain in denial about actual results, thinking "their" team is still better than that inferior team. But reality trumps that.

So whether I think the Lakers or Spurs are better is irrelevant. Kind of like whether I think Clijsters or Wozniacki is better. It's just an opinion.

The WTA computer rankings don't reflect opinions. Just a very faulty way of ranking players.

So again I'll say it:

A fair and accurate ranking system would count all tournament results, and divide the total # of points earned over a 52 week period by the # of tournaments played, or a pre-established minimum divisor. It's really simple. And Easy. and FAIR!
 

DMan

Professional
Now, let's say Wozniacki wants to play another WTA-level event. Unless it's Premier event, she will lose points no matter how well she does. She could go through an International event and not lose a point ... she drops to 404.7. Effectively what this ranking does to players of the elite level(Clijsters, Wozniacki, whoever else) is tells them don't play small events. Wozniacki would lose points also if she played even the smaller Premier events unless she won the tournament(and even then she would gain almost nothing, less than 3 points). How is it in any way, shape, or form, 'fairer' to have a player lose points for winning a tournament? That is just so perverse, and it is exactly what is wrong with the average points ranking system. There's no way to keep it from penalizing players from being active on tour. It tells them to stay away from medium-size and small-size events(I'm not talking the ITF ones, just the mainline WTA events) that need to grow in order for the sport to be successful.

I'll address just this one aspect of the average ranking system. Players at the very top of the ranking, such as Clijsters or Wozniacki, may have ranking averages which exceed the total # of points awarded for a tournament winner. Thus, it's possible that by winning a small to medium size event, their ranking average goes down. Of course that has to be put into perspective. If the #1 or #2 players is competing in several smaller events, and winning them, but this causes their ranking average to go down, perhaps it;s an illustration that these events are just not strong enough to truly test these top players. Kind of like sending a major leaguer down to the minors, merely for the purposes of padding their stats. I also feel that over the course of a year, if a top player did compete in a few - and I'm talking no more than 3 - small events, and their ranking average dipped from winning those events, that's part of the system.

However, the WTA did address this during the Chrissie-Martina heydays. They had something called a 'playdown rule" which meant that if Chris or Martina won a tournament in which the total points for the tournament winner was below their ranking average, they received their average instead, so they wouldn't lose anything. Pretty simple. And it was the kind of thing that only applied to Chris and Martina, and later Steffi and Monica, when they were head and shoulders above the rest of the field. This is not a chronic or even big time problem. So again, an easy adjustment to an average ranking system, which counts ALL tournament results, and averages the total # of points earned by events played, or a minimum divisor.

And not some system that fans and media don't know how it works. I mean the media sees Clisjters win the Australian Open (and hey didn't she lose 3R last year, so she's surely going to go up after this year), And Wozniacki as the top seed falls in the semis. And yet the winner of the Australian, which is also the winner of the US Open, WTA Tour Championships and 2 other events isn't #1. And in the last year, Clijsters wins an equal # of tournaments won by Wozniacki, and yet Kim's tournament wins are far more prestigious and important than any events won by Wozniacki. And still Wozniacki is #1.

And Bryan Swartz is desperately holding onto the belief that the current WTA ranking system is not only a fair one, but accurately reflects all tournament performances over the last year. Of course we can't refer to the WTA rankings to know who is the best. There is some other system that decides who is the best. The WTA Tour rankings are merely listings tournament directors use for entry into tournaments. Matters of such importance. (I'm just hoping these tournaments are finding enough players - specifically top players to compete in these tournaments!)
 
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Max G.

Legend
And Clijsters hasn't been consistent? She wins the big events consistently. Plus she doesn't have three first round losses on her ledger in the last year.

She has 5 no-shows. The ranking requires 16 tournaments, and she's been either too unfit or too unable to play them.

A no-show is even worse than a 1st-round loss, and she has 5 of them. If you're claiming Woz is inconsistent for losing in the first round 3 times, Clijsters has been even MORE inconsistent.
 

tacou

G.O.A.T.
OP your post makes no sense. everyone is aware of the ranking system. if Kim wants to be #1 she should play more tourneys. simple as that.
one solution is making grand slams worth more but why? 250 tournaments are already irrelevant enough, making them more so makes tennis such an impossible sport for lowly ranked players. tossing out bad results? if you take ALL of the players results from a season only in rare cases will rankings switch.
 

Max G.

Legend
I'll address just this one aspect of the average ranking system. Players at the very top of the ranking, such as Clijsters or Wozniacki, may have ranking averages which exceed the total # of points awarded for a tournament winner. Thus, it's possible that by winning a small to medium size event, their ranking average goes down. Of course that has to be put into perspective. If the #1 or #2 players is competing in several smaller events, and winning them, but this causes their ranking average to go down, perhaps it;s an illustration that these events are just not strong enough to truly test these top players.

Whether an event 'truly tests' the top players depends on who enters it, not on how many points it gives. If Nadal and Federer both enter some minor tournament in the ATP, then they'll both be quite tested even if the tournament is only a 250.

The ranking system has to serve as a proper incentive for players to enter events, not just rank them after the fact.

(To represent how 'tested' a player is, you could I suppose use 'bonus points' like were used recently, with points given for beating players based on their rankings)

Kind of like sending a major leaguer down to the minors, merely for the purposes of padding their stats. I also feel that over the course of a year, if a top player did compete in a few - and I'm talking no more than 3 - small events, and their ranking average dipped from winning those events, that's part of the system.

And that's an absolutely terrible part of the system, then.

1) It ruins those smaller events, because they'll have a heck of a lot of trouble getting players to participate.

2) It's not an accurate representation of player skill. According to this ranking, somebody who won two grand slams, three premier events, and four minor events would have a WORSE ranking than someone who won two grand slams, four minor events, and did not play any minor events.

However, the WTA did address this during the Chrissie-Martina heydays. They had something called a 'playdown rule" which meant that if Chris or Martina won a tournament in which the total points for the tournament winner was below their ranking average, they received their average instead, so they wouldn't lose anything. Pretty simple. And it was the kind of thing that only applied to Chris and Martina, and later Steffi and Monica, when they were head and shoulders above the rest of the field. This is not a chronic or even big time problem. So again, an easy adjustment to an average ranking system, which counts ALL tournament results, and averages the total # of points earned by events played, or a minimum divisor.

Doesn't help as much as you think. In that case, it's still harmful to a player to enter a small tournament - because if they win they get nothing (can't raise their average) but if they lose their average still goes down. Nobody's perfect - if a top player enters a bunch of small events, they'll probably lose at least some of them. So, again - somebody who doesn't play any of the small events (or, plays the minimum number) has an inherent advantage over someone who plays a lot of them. That's quite a bad thing. (The reverse is a lot better.)

And not some system that fans and media don't know how it works.

Anybody who cares about the ranking system can look it up. It's not that hard. Everyone who cares and wants to know and is not an idiot knows how it works.

I mean the media sees Clisjters win the Australian Open (and hey didn't she lose 3R last year, so she's surely going to go up after this year), And Wozniacki as the top seed falls in the semis. And yet the winner of the Australian, which is also the winner of the US Open, WTA Tour Championships and 2 other events isn't #1. And in the last year, Clijsters wins an equal # of tournaments won by Wozniacki, and yet Kim's tournament wins are far more prestigious and important than any events won by Wozniacki. And still Wozniacki is #1.

And in an average ranking system you could also have times when somebody who wins a tournament goes down in the rankings, or somebody who "seems like" they should be #1 not being there, and so on and so forth.

No one has yet to explain why an average ranking system with a minimum divisor is not a fair and accurate ranking system.

For one, because it ignores player fitness. In an average ranking system, NOT PLAYING in a tournament doesn't count against you. If you're unable to play because you're unfit or injured - guess what! you can still be #1 based on how you played during the small sliver of the year when you did play!

NOT PLAYING in a tournament, in any fair ranking system, should be strictly worse than losing first round. Even first-round losers did better in that tournament than someone who didn't enter in the first place.

And if the women just don't want to play in more tournaments, and as a result some smaller events go under, well then it was just meant to be.

Hmm. So, you don't care about the EFFECT your ranking system has on the tour.

That's exactly why you're missing the point. The ranking system has to do many things, and "be something for the fans to point to to see who the best player is" is only one of them. Managing player schedules is another other one.

A fair and accurate ranking system would count all tournament results, and divide the total # of points earned over a 52 week period by the # of tournaments played, or a pre-established minimum divisor. It's really simple. And Easy. and FAIR!

And impractical, because it will severely hurt the small tournaments financially, and will impair the fans' ability to go see the top players.
 

tacou

G.O.A.T.
FYI this is incorrect. It is not a strict 'best 17' -- there are also limitations on throwing out Premier events, but you cannot throw out a Slam result no matter what.



It's not about finding players to fill the spots in events -- it's about the events themselves. Premier, Tier I and lower events have to grow in order for the sport to grow. These events can only succeed to the extent peopel are interested in attending them. If top players never have to show up, that won't happen. The 'average points' type of system will result in encouraging players to play less(not just the top players) -- they'll only want to play the very best events that they can get into, even if those aren't Slams. This will suck the life out of the supporting events, which hurts the interest in tennis in those areas, etc. It's just horrible for the sport.

Not to mention that 12 events is less than 20 weeks a year. You have to play more than that in any other sport. That's a good thing. Being a professional athlete is and should be a full-time concern.



Completely disagree. Your average casual fan does not automatically think the team with the best record in other sports is the best. Example: ask your average casual fan in basketball who is better, the Lakers or the Spurs. Give them the records if you want to make sure they know them. The Spurs have lost half the games, but most still think the Lakers are better. Fans are not so simplistic as your statement seems to imply.

spurs are way better than lakers. but I'd say Celtics and Heat are better than the spurs
 

Bryan Swartz

Hall of Fame
Dman, I have a proposal for you. I ask you in all sincerity to consider this. Now I could go another round on this debate, but in thinking about this today a compromise ranking system has occurred to me. I think the following statements are true:

1. You believe a system that allows poor results at smaller tournaments to be thrown out is fundamentally unfair. I have called this basically a necessary evil, agreeing with you but believing that it is a pretty minor factor.

2. I believe a system which takes an average punishes players for playing a lot of events, which is a negative thing for the tour. You clearly do not agree with this.

I think it is possible to satisfy both concerns. I propose the following system, and if you think it is worth exploring I will calculate what the year-end 2010 rankings would have been for the Top 10 or so in each tour, and start a new thread comparing them to what they were in real life. I have not done this yet.

Assume the WTA 16-event minumum and the ATP 18-event minimum. We'll focus on the WTA specifics here. My 'compromise' ranking system would be the same as the current one for the mandatory events. As has been discussed, this would be 10: 4 Slams, 4 mandatory Premier events, 2 premier 5 events. The year-end championships would continue to be an elite bonus event as it currently is. The points from all of these mandatory events would simply be added up as they currently are.

For the others, the remaining six slots in the 16(rememgber YEC is a bonus and does not count for this), we would take the average of the remaining mid and small-level events. Total points from all non-mandatory events would be divided by the minimum divisor of six or the total played, whichever is greater.

Total ranking points would be this: Total points from all mandatory events + 6 times the small-event average.

I believe this accomplishes two things. First, your goal of not having a player's poor results be thrown out and thus get a benefit from playing a lot is accomplished. Secondly, my goal of having a player who enters more smaller events not be punished for it is also achieved: by having the event average only apply for these smaller events, the importance of the major events can never be diluted, and a player will not be punished for being more active.

Also, this works for players all the way up and down the scale. If they are working their way up and only had, say, 4 mandatory events in the ranking period, then you'd have 12 x the average of the remaining events for the other part of their ranking, etc.

What say you? Is this worth pursuing?
 
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1

1970CRBase

Guest
I have a faint notion that the WTA problem isn't the ranking system of itself but the lack of specialisation. That is, slow surfaces, which were meant to be slow are now fast, fast surfaces which were truly fast in the past are now slow. So everything ends up in the middle and we have too much of one type of surface and too many of one type of player with everybody forced to play the same way instead of groups of specialists dominating their surface and playing to their natural talents.

Lets drastically increase fast grass WTA events, like early 90's fast, wouldn't be a problem for women since they don't serve anywhere as many aces as men, greatly reduce hardcourt events, which are bad for the body with all the side to side baseline grinding and slow down clay again. Achieve a rough balance of big events and ranking points between clay, grass and hc. Then we will have three well defined groups of players each of which will have three or four best top players jostling for trophies on their favourite surfaces which will comprise the top 10 with the clear No.1 being the best across the surfaces.

Oh wait, we had specialists and diversification on both sides before. Guess the tennis powers didn't like it.
 
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HackersRUs

Rookie
ok, i admit to not having read the thread, but another poster elsewhere made the point that the ATP system isi no better when Gulbis can be at 23 despite not winning a match in the last 6 grand slams...
 

Bryan Swartz

Hall of Fame
An interesting point, but Gulbis is an extreme case. The thing is, the rankings have to take into account more than just the Slams, but the totality of what has happened in all events(with the Slams counting the most).

For Gulbis, you have on the one hand the fact that he's done nothing in the Slams. On the other hand, many players ahead of him have not come close to his other achievements outside of them:

Masters: SF, QF, two R16, two 32
500s: SF, QF
250s: One title, one SF, 2 QFs

That's not overwhelming stuff, but it's far better than you'd expect from a guy ranked in the 20s.
 

DMan

Professional
Dman, I have a proposal for you. I ask you in all sincerity to consider this. Now I could go another round on this debate, but in thinking about this today a compromise ranking system has occurred to me. I think the following statements are true:

1. You believe a system that allows poor results at smaller tournaments to be thrown out is fundamentally unfair. I have called this basically a necessary evil, agreeing with you but believing that it is a pretty minor factor.

2. I believe a system which takes an average punishes players for playing a lot of events, which is a negative thing for the tour. You clearly do not agree with this.

I think it is possible to satisfy both concerns. I propose the following system, and if you think it is worth exploring I will calculate what the year-end 2010 rankings would have been for the Top 10 or so in each tour, and start a new thread comparing them to what they were in real life. I have not done this yet.

Assume the WTA 16-event minumum and the ATP 18-event minimum. We'll focus on the WTA specifics here. My 'compromise' ranking system would be the same as the current one for the mandatory events. As has been discussed, this would be 10: 4 Slams, 4 mandatory Premier events, 2 premier 5 events. The year-end championships would continue to be an elite bonus event as it currently is. The points from all of these mandatory events would simply be added up as they currently are.

For the others, the remaining six slots in the 16(rememgber YEC is a bonus and does not count for this), we would take the average of the remaining mid and small-level events. Total points from all non-mandatory events would be divided by the minimum divisor of six or the total played, whichever is greater.

Total ranking points would be this: Total points from all mandatory events + 6 times the small-event average.

I believe this accomplishes two things. First, your goal of not having a player's poor results be thrown out and thus get a benefit from playing a lot is accomplished. Secondly, my goal of having a player who enters more smaller events not be punished for it is also achieved: by having the event average only apply for these smaller events, the importance of the major events can never be diluted, and a player will not be punished for being more active.

Also, this works for players all the way up and down the scale. If they are working their way up and only had, say, 4 mandatory events in the ranking period, then you'd have 12 x the average of the remaining events for the other part of their ranking, etc.

What say you? Is this worth pursuing?

Talk to your peeps at the WTA, or whatever management co you work for, and see what they say.

I am not going to get into any "compromising position"! I have my reputation to defend :twisted: :twisted:

Fine that we disagree. I see no reason for necessary evils, i.e., poor results at ANY tournament!

Sorry to say this, but you make a fundamental FALSE assumption when you claim the ranking system which averages all results punishes players who compete in a lot of events. It simply does not. Any player, whether ranked #1, 21, 101, or 501 should stand on ALL her results. If you must play in a lot of events, then fine. But an average system (with a minimum divisor) is going to reflect results in ALL tournaments.

By its very nature, an average system averages out results from an entire year. To me it's so logical:

The tennis year is 10+ months long. Difficult for any player to maintain a high level throughout the year. Bad results happen; the competition is fierce. Currently, why can those bad losses be thrown out? How come Caroline's 1R losses in some tournaments get thrown out, but Jelena's 1R losses at other tournaments don't? I mean Jelena probably hurt her pinky at one of those bad 1R losses, the poor dear. Why should she suffer so, when Caroline gets the easy breezy way out, and tosses her 1R clunker of a loss from Madrid?

Because those twisted pinky losses can hurt, why not average them out with all of the other results.

No other sport allows players to toss out results.

Of course, it's terribly ironic considering how they continue to shorten the season. And yet players still can throw out bad results. But back in the day, when men and women played in a lot more events on the whole (and get this - doubles too!!) they NEVER got to throw out bad results. EVER!

And I haven't really touched on a glaring omission from my proposed average ranking system: the need to award bonus points for all match wins based on a player's rank at the time of the match. Another story for another day.

PS - about those "mandatory" Premier events. Sorry to burst your bubble: they don't exist. Another dirty little secret in women's tennis. There's no such thing as mandatory in the WTA.
 
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Bryan Swartz

Hall of Fame
you make a fundamental FALSE assumption when you claim the ranking system which averages all results punishes players who compete in a lot of events. It simply does not.

It isn't an assumption, it's a logical deduction. And in fact you yourself admitted it is true earlier in this thread, when you said:

"possible that by winning a small to medium size event, their ranking average goes down."

First of all, what you are referring to as small to medium size events(International and the smaller Premier events) are the lion's share of the WTA tour. Here's the breakdown:

Slams(4)
Premier Mandatory(4) -- Madrid, Miami, Indian Wells, Beijing
Premier 5(5) -- -- Dubai, Rome, Toronto, Cincinatti, Tokyo
Premier(11)
International(31)

The small events(International) are, by themselves, by far the majority of the events(31 of 55 events, or 56.4%). If you add in the medium events(the Premier events, which would lower Clijsters average even if won and do virtually nothing for Wozniacki if she won) you are now up to over 76%. Think about what you are saying here. You are saying that greater than three-quarters of the WTA's professional events should not be played by top players. If you want to destroy the sport, just ban it. It's a lot simpler and would have the same result.

Not only that, but how do you get to 16 events then? Go add em up. There are only 13 above the Premier level. So you literally can't get there. Not to mention things like warm-up tournaments, the scheduling fact that playing all of the Premier Mandatory and Premier 5 events is not right for peaking at the right times, etc.

I mean to avoid these 'unworthy' events you can't play any grass tournaments between FO and Wimbledon to get your grass game into shape. Only one of them is even a Premier. After Wimbledon? You better take the next month off, and with no quality competition coming into it, then try to play well at Premier 5 Toronto and Cincinatti back-to-back. Does that make sense to ANYONE? During the three weeks between Beijing and the important year-end championships you can't play at all either, whether you might think you need to or not, because doing so will lower your ranking playing at these sad-sack events.

This is just so absurd! Any player who wants to play a respectably full-time schedule(20-25 events, which still allows for 20 weeks off every year!) has to play, at a minimum, 7-12 of these lower-level events. That's just simple subtraction, and again it's more than that should they miss, for any reason no matter how valid, any of the Premier 5s. We are not talking about a once-in-a-while thing here. We are talking about between a third and half of a professional player's schedule that just gets poured down the drain by the average rankings system.

How come Caroline's 1R losses in some tournaments get thrown out, but Jelena's 1R losses at other tournaments don't?

What are you talking about? There is no difference between how the WTA treats Wozniacki and Jankovic's results. Jankovic played 21 events in 2010, and had some events thrown out just like Wozniacki.

The difference is, nobody gets to throw out bad results in big events. So when Jankovic loses his first match at Montreal for example(a Premier Mandatory event), she has to keep that 1-point result because it's a mandatory tournament. When she lost at Monterrey, she was able to throw that one out because it's an International event, and those are elective, not mandatory.

about those "mandatory" Premier events. Sorry to burst your bubble: they don't exist. Another dirty little secret in women's tennis. There's no such thing as mandatory in the WTA.

This is another lie. Yes there are, as discussed above. The WTA itself calls the top level of event below the Slams the 'Premier Mandatory' category. A top player has to take a result from these events. It's a zero if they don't play. It still counts against them, whether they are injured or don't like the TD or have a funeral or can't be arsed to show up or whatever the reason is.

Based on what do you say these are not mandatory?
 

luvly

Professional
It isn't an assumption, it's a logical deduction. And in fact you yourself admitted it is true earlier in this thread, when you said:

"possible that by winning a small to medium size event, their ranking average goes down."

First of all, what you are referring to as small to medium size events(International and the smaller Premier events) are the lion's share of the WTA tour. Here's the breakdown:

Slams(4)
Premier Mandatory(4) -- Madrid, Miami, Indian Wells, Beijing
Premier 5(5) -- -- Dubai, Rome, Toronto, Cincinatti, Tokyo
Premier(11)
International(31)

The small events(International) are, by themselves, by far the majority of the events(31 of 55 events, or 56.4%). If you add in the medium events(the Premier events, which would lower Clijsters average even if won and do virtually nothing for Wozniacki if she won) you are now up to over 76%. Think about what you are saying here. You are saying that greater than three-quarters of the WTA's professional events should not be played by top players. If you want to destroy the sport, just ban it. It's a lot simpler and would have the same result.

Not only that, but how do you get to 16 events then? Go add em up. There are only 13 above the Premier level. So you literally can't get there. Not to mention things like warm-up tournaments, the scheduling fact that playing all of the Premier Mandatory and Premier 5 events is not right for peaking at the right times, etc.

I mean to avoid these 'unworthy' events you can't play any grass tournaments between FO and Wimbledon to get your grass game into shape. Only one of them is even a Premier. After Wimbledon? You better take the next month off, and with no quality competition coming into it, then try to play well at Premier 5 Toronto and Cincinatti back-to-back. Does that make sense to ANYONE? During the three weeks between Beijing and the important year-end championships you can't play at all either, whether you might think you need to or not, because doing so will lower your ranking playing at these sad-sack events.

This is just so absurd! Any player who wants to play a respectably full-time schedule(20-25 events, which still allows for 20 weeks off every year!) has to play, at a minimum, 7-12 of these lower-level events. That's just simple subtraction, and again it's more than that should they miss, for any reason no matter how valid, any of the Premier 5s. We are not talking about a once-in-a-while thing here. We are talking about between a third and half of a professional player's schedule that just gets poured down the drain by the average rankings system.



What are you talking about? There is no difference between how the WTA treats Wozniacki and Jankovic's results. Jankovic played 21 events in 2010, and had some events thrown out just like Wozniacki.

The difference is, nobody gets to throw out bad results in big events. So when Jankovic loses his first match at Montreal for example(a Premier Mandatory event), she has to keep that 1-point result because it's a mandatory tournament. When she lost at Monterrey, she was able to throw that one out because it's an International event, and those are elective, not mandatory.



This is another lie. Yes there are, as discussed above. The WTA itself calls the top level of event below the Slams the 'Premier Mandatory' category. A top player has to take a result from these events. It's a zero if they don't play. It still counts against them, whether they are injured or don't like the TD or have a funeral or can't be arsed to show up or whatever the reason is.

Based on what do you say these are not mandatory?


it is not mandatory because players do not have to face all of the penalties that were originally laid out. palyers who miss 1 premier event are supposed to receive a zero for that event and not be allowed to play the next event, thus receiving zero for that as well. but all player have to do to get out of the zero/zero penalty is to do some promo at or around the event...


http://www.wtatour.com/SEWTATour-Archive/Archive/PressReleases/2008/roadmap2009.pdf

See the bottom of the third page...

also check out the suspesion rule stuff starting on pg 17 of the rulebook

http://www.wtatour.com/SEWTATour-Archive/Archive/AboutTheTour/rules.pdf
 

Bryan Swartz

Hall of Fame
Agreed with that, but they are still mandatory in the sense that you receive a zero for the event and cannot throw that result out. That(not fines/suspensions/etc.) is the matter under discussion here.
 

soyizgood

G.O.A.T.
it is not mandatory because players do not have to face all of the penalties that were originally laid out. palyers who miss 1 premier event are supposed to receive a zero for that event and not be allowed to play the next event, thus receiving zero for that as well. but all player have to do to get out of the zero/zero penalty is to do some promo at or around the event...


http://www.wtatour.com/SEWTATour-Archive/Archive/PressReleases/2008/roadmap2009.pdf

See the bottom of the third page...

also check out the suspesion rule stuff starting on pg 17 of the rulebook

http://www.wtatour.com/SEWTATour-Archive/Archive/AboutTheTour/rules.pdf

That's why the promo portion of that rule is called the "Williams' Rule" because if WTA had guts the Williams' would have been banned from playing Miami for skipping out on Indian Wells. Until 2009 it wasn't a problem, but when they promoted Indian Wells to Premier Mandatory status, the WTA conceded so Venus and Serena could attract fans for Miami.
 
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