Breaking Down the Changes to the WTA Rankings

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With the start of the 2014 tennis season just FIVE DAYS AWAY (help!), the WTA rankings will look a little bit different in 120 hours. Earlier this year, the WTA Board of Directors voted to implement changes to the ranking system. The new ranking points will be introduced over a 12-month period from the start of the 2014 season.

Straight from the horse’s mouth, the WTA website posted this press release to summarize the changes last week.

The calendar isn’t the only WTA fixture being renovated for 2014, as there will be some ranking point amendments for the new season.

Among the changes confirmed by the WTA are first round points at Premier Mandatory tournaments being doubled (from five to 10), qualifying points at International tournaments being increased and Grand Slam qualifying points being adjusted to lessen the difference between WTA Premier event qualifying points.

New points will be added only as 2013 results drop off, so the changes will be gradual.

The WTA’s intent with the changes is for a more uniform awarding of points from round to round and between tournament levels, while also striking an appropriate balance between WTA and ITF levels.

But what does that even mean?

Let’s take a look at the changes side by side.

Grand Slams

Old System | W: 2000, F: 1400, SF: 900, QF: 500, R16: 280, R32: 160, R64: 100, R128: 5, Qualifier: 60, Q3: 50, Q2: 40, Q1: 2

New System | W: 2000, F: 1300, SF: 780, QF: 430, R16: 240, R32: 130, R64: 70, R128: 10, Qualifier: 40, Q3: 30, Q2: 20, Q1: 2

Premier Mandatory - Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid, Beijing

Old System (96 Draw Singles) |  W: 1000, F: 700, SF: 450, QF: 250, R16: 140, R32: 80, R64: 50, R128: 5, Qualifier: 30, Q2: 20, Q1: 1

New System (96 Draw Singles, 48Q) |  W: 1000, F: 650, SF: 390, QF: 215, R16: 120, R32: 65, R16: 35, R128: 10, Qualifier: 30, Q2: 20, Q1: 2

Old System (64 Draw  Singles) | W: 1000, F: 700, SF: 450, QF: 250, R16: 140, R32: 80, R64: 5, Qualifier: 30, Q2: 20, Q1: 1

New System (64/60 Draw Singles, 32Q) | W: 1000, F: 650, SF: 390, QF: 215, R16: 120, R32: 65, R64: 10, Qualifier: 30, Q2: 20, Q1: 2

Premier 5 - Doha, Rome, Montréal, Cincinnati, Tokyo

Old System (56 Singles, 64 Q) | W: 900, F: 620, SF: 395, QF: 225, R16: 125, R32: 70, R64: 1, Qualifier: 30, Q3: 20, Q2: 12, Q1: 1

New System (56 Singles, 64 Q) | W: 900, F: 585, SF: 350, QF: 190, R16: 105, R32: 60, R64: 1, Qualifier: 30, Q3: 22, Q2: 15, Q1: 1

Old System (56 Singles, 48/32 Q) | W: 900, F: 620, SF: 395, QF: 225, R16: 125, R32: 70, R64: 1, Qualifier: 30, Q3: 20, Q1: 1

New System (56 Singles, 48/32 Q) | W: 900, F: 585, SF: 350, QF: 190, R16: 105, R32: 60, R64: 1, Qualifier: 30, Q3: 20, Q1: 1

Premier 700 – Brisbane, Carlsbad, Charleston, Dubai, Paris [Indoors], Stanford, Stuttgart & Premier 600 – Brussels, Eastbourne, Moscow, New Haven, Sydney

Old System (56 Singles) | W: 470, F: 320, SF: 200, QF: 120, R16: 60, R32: 40, R64: 1 Qualifier: 12, Q2: 8, Q1: 1

New System (56 Singles) | W: 470, F: 305, SF: 185, QF: 100, R16: 55, R32: 30, R64: 1, Qualifier: 25, Q2: 13, Q1: 1

Old System (32 Singles) | W: 470, F: 320, SF: 200, QF: 120, R16: 60, R32: 1, Qualifier: 20, Q3: 12, Q2: 8, Q1: 1

New System (32 Singles) | W: 470, F: 305, SF: 185, QF: 100, R16: 55, R32: 1, Qualifier: 25, Q3: 18, Q2: 13, Q1: 1

International - Acapulco, Auckland, Bad Gastein, Baku, Bastad, Bogotá, Brussels, Budapest, Florianopolis, Guangzhou, Hobart, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Katowice, Kuala Lumpur, Linz, Luxembourg, Marrakech, Monterrey, Nürnberg, Oeiras, Osaka, Pattaya City, Québec City, Rio de Janeiro, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Seoul, Shenzhen, Strasbourg, Tashkent, Tianjin, Washington DC

Old System (32 Singles, 32Q) | W: 280, F: 200, SF: 130, QF: 70, R16: 30, R32: 1, Qualifier: 16, Q3: 10, Q2: 6, Q1: 1

New System (32 Singles, 32Q) | W: 280, F: 180, SF: 110, QF: 60, R16: 30, R32: 1, Qualifier: 18, Q3: 14, Q2: 10, Q1: 1

Old System (32 Singles, 16Q) | W: 280, F: 200, SF: 130, QF: 70, R16: 30, R32: 1, Qualifier: 10, Q2: 6, Q1: 1

New System (32 Singles, 16Q) | W: 280, F: 180, SF: 110, QF: 60, R16: 30, R32: 1, Qualifier: 18, Q2: 12, Q1: 1

At first glance, the new ranking system still rewards players for winning tournaments (duh) and doesn’t really look all that different. However, players are playing for less points, as all totals except the champion’s have been decreased. The point inflation in the first week of slams has also been addressed nicely.

The WTA asserts that the changes will be implemented gradually, but there is no doubt that this new ranking system shortchanges players who have a lot of points to defend early in the season. Players with lots of points at the end of this season will keep the previous values on their ranking for a longer period of time.

One of the biggest improvements I can see is the (slight) increase in points for qualifying at International tournaments. Perhaps now, draws like this will be a funny memory.

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It’s a start.

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