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Sports Then and Now

Who’s No. 1? 16 Women in Tennis Who Held the Top Spot Longest 22

Posted on February 27, 2011 by JA Allen

Two women who dominated on tour: Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert.

Points given in a WTA sponsored tennis tournament are used to calculate a players ranking and who ultimately is the No. 1 player on the women’s tour.

Points gained are totaled for one year. Then as the event rolls around again on the calendar, the points earned last year fall off and new points won replace them.

Various tournaments have different point values with the slams offering the most points. For example, the winner of a major receives 2000 ranking points.

The further a player advances in the tournament, the more points she will earn.

Ultimately for the women on tour, only the player’s best 17 tournaments count toward total ranking points. That means a player cannot simply add to her ranking total by entering every tournament.

Historically, for the women’s tour, ranking did not even appear as a statistic until 1921.

Back then rankings were subjective, based on human observation, often a professional panel. Certainly there was no universal system. Calculation of rankings were not point-based until 1975.

Despite the inadequacies of past record-keeping, evidence exists that indicate a number of very talented female players held the No. 1 ranking and dominated the women’s game prior to 1975.

We will use prior subjective rankings and convert those records to an appropriate number of weeks in order to rank the dominance of the top 16 female tennis players since 1921.

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Jelena Jankovic Sits Atop Women’s Tennis Power Rankings 9

Posted on March 30, 2010 by JA Allen
Jelena Jankovic won the tournament in Indian Wells and tops the Power Rankings this week.

Jelena Jankovic won the tournament in Indian Wells and tops the Power Rankings this week.

The action is hot and heavy this week in Miami. It marks the end of the traditional hard court season in America before the world turns to clay in April.

The surprises on the women’s tour continue as Serbian Jelena Jankovic overcomes her slump to take the No. 1 spot in our Power Rankings this week after winning the tournament in Indian Wells.

You just have to wonder who will orchestrate the next big surprise as the women fight for positions in the quarterfinals at the Sony Ericsson Open.

The Top Ten

1. Jelena Jankovic (Last Power Ranking: NR; WTA Ranking: 8 )

Last Four Tournaments: Sony Ericsson Open Miami [R16+], Indian Wells [Winner], Monterrey [R32], Dubai [R16].

Power Ranking Points: 681

Just when everyone was erecting a tombstone to mark the passing of Jankovic’s career, the Serb came back and won it all at Indian Wells. Jankovic progressed into the fourth round in Miami, so things were definitely looking up for her. The question remained––had she found her form and her energy level which had been missing in action for so long?

She had some tough matches awaiting her in Miami that would demonstrate if the Serb had the right stuff to continue her upward path. Unfortunately for Jankovic, she lost her fourth round match to Australia’s Samantha Stosur 6-1, 7-6.

As the tour moves on to the clay courts, counterpuncher Jankovic still hopes to climb back to the top of the WTA rankings.

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Women’s Tennis Power Rankings: Williams Sisters Still On Top 4

Posted on March 15, 2010 by Ronger Fengerer
Venus Williams remains at the top of the women's tennis power rankings.

Venus Williams remains at the top of the women's tennis power rankings.

The Williams sisters are absent from the so-called “Premier Mandatory” event at Indian Wells as usual. (Not sure why? check out JA Allen’s recent article.) However, their absence did not prevent them from retaining the top two spots in our biweekly power rankings, though they are sure to lose their grip after the BNP Paribas Open concludes.

The Top Ten

1. Venus Williams (Last Power Ranking: 1; WTA Ranking: 5); Last Four Tournaments: Acapulco [Winner], Dubai [Winner], Australian Open [Quarterfinalist], Doha [Finalist]; Power Ranking Points: 426

Venus Williams has been on fire since Australian Open. In a stretch of about two weeks, she won back-to-back titles at Dubai (Hard) and Acapulco (Clay), and then captured the Billie Jean King Cup at Madison
Square Garden. One can not help but wonder what will happen if she participated in this year’s Indian Wells event. Read the rest of this entry →

Women’s Tennis Power Rankings: Venus Rises to the Top 9

Posted on March 01, 2010 by Marianne Bevis
Mexican Open Tournament in Acapulco

Victory in the Mexican Open lifts Venus Williams to the top of the women's tennis power rankings.

The headlines in women’s tennis have, for the last six months, focused squarely on a certain Belgian duo and on Serena. In one fell swoop, the elder Williams sister has this week reclaimed the limelight with back-to-back titles.

At 30, Venus is looking and sounding like a 20-year-old: fit, healthy, and full of enthusiasm. She has made hay while injury has subdued the top two seeds—Serena and Dinara Safina—and while the two Belgians have disappeared to regroup.

Top of the Power Rankings, and now clear of Justine Henin in the list of active WTA title holders, she appears hungry for more: “Who wants to have a limit on titles? Not me!”

The Top 10

1. Venus Williams (Last Power Ranking: 10; Current WTA Ranking: 5)

Last four tournaments: Acapulco [Winner], Dubai [Winner], Australian Open [Quarterfinals], Doha [Finals].

Power Ranking Points: 871

Venus has hit a purple patch, and the most impressive part of her successes this last fortnight is that she’s managed them on the hard courts of Dubai followed, in short order, by the clay of Mexico. It’s some achievement, all the more so because she won both tournaments last year as well. She’s now reached 43 WTA titles, the highest amongst active players and two more than Justine Henin.

Venus was outstanding in Dubai, not dropping a set, though she did not have to beat a player above herself in the rankings. It should have been easier progress still in Acapulco, but in the quarters she fought back from 5-1 in the third set against qualifier Laura Pous, and dropped a set in the semis and finals against relatively lowly ranked opposition. It’s a credit to her current fitness and her will to win that she pulled through those challenges.

She misses Indian Wells, as last year, and heads straight to Miami. She will hope the draw is kinder to her this time: she met and was beaten by her younger sister in the semis.

Venus looks fit and eager, and there are few better sights in the women’s game than that. Does she have the desire to win? I think so. Can she make it to Miami’s winner’s podium? It may depend on that draw! Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Rusty Staub: A Man For All Ages
      April 8, 2024 | 1:26 pm
      Rusty Staub

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former major league baseball player who came into the game as a teenager and stayed until he was in his 40s. In between, Rusty Staub put up a solid career that was primarily spent on expansion or rebuilding teams.

      Originally signed by the Colt .45s at age 17, he made his major league debut as a 19-year old rookie and became only the second player in the modern era to play in more than 150 games as a teenager.

      Though he hit only .224 splitting time between first base and rightfield, Staub did start building a foundation that would turn him into an All-Star by 1967 when he finished fifth in the league with a .333 batting average.

      Read more »

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