Lawn Tennis, Madrid, Lawn Tennis Magazine
New WTA Tour Rankings Could Shake Up Top Spots

By Tripp Mateschitz, Lawn Tennis Correspondent, Posted: Thursday, December 4, 2008 6:34pm PST USA
New WTA Tour Rankings Could Shake Up Top Spots, Steffi Graf, Serena Williams, Lawn Tennis Magazine MELBOURNE--( In 1988, Steffi Graf of Germany won all four grand slams plus took gold at the Olympics to win the only Golden Grand Slam ever in the history of tennis before she would dominate the WTA Tour for years.

That same year, Graf, nicknamed Fraulein Forehand for her breathtaking signature weapon, recorded a 6-0, 6-0 French Open final scoreline in a match where the rain delay was longer than the match itself. After the match Graf

Steffi Graf of Germany
Serena Williams has never played more than 13 WTA Tour tournaments in one year but has still managed to top the rankings several times in her career.

apologized to the French crowd for the quick win, but Graf made no apologies for becoming the greatest ever tennis player.

Among her sterling accomplishments, Graf also topped the WTA Tour's rankings for 377 weeks and posted a career record of 900-115. Graf was ranked number one from August 1987 to March 1991 for a record 186 weeks.

But then Moncia Seles, then of Yugoslavia, came along and became number one on March 11, 1991. Seles dominated the clay court circuit, winning the French Open in 1990-1992. She became the youngest ever French Open champion in 1990 at only age 16.

Seles' extreme angles and powerful two-handed groundstrokes from both sides proved too consistent for Graf or any other player on slower surfaces. Seles would also win four Australian Open titles and two US Opens.

Graf and Seles both left the the WTA Tour however due to injuries. And so this year after having Jelena Jankovic of Serbia top the revamped rankings without winning any grand slam, the WTA Tour has revealed yet another revamped rankings system to go into place January 5th, 2009.

In their day, a Graf or a Seles could play only 12 or 13 tournaments, win nine or ten of those and still top the rankings. This in part led the WTA to institute a quantity over quality best of rankings system where a players' best 17 tournament points were added to produce a player's rankings points.

In 2009 that total number of tournaments counted will be reduced to 15. Also a grand slam winner will receive 2000 rankings points, double from the 1000 points of 2008.

Both of these changes should benefit players who play shortened WTA Tour schedules such as Wimbledon champion Venus Williams of the USA and her sister and US Open champion Serena Williams.

Serena Williams has never played more than 13 WTA Tour tournaments in one year but has still managed to top the rankings several times in her career. Having 13 tournaments in the last 52 weeks, Williams was awarded four zeros, but still is ranked a current number two.

Jankovic, with her 22 tournaments played this year, somewhat manipulated the current rankings format to currently top the WTA Tour rankings, but will find it more difficult to hold the number one ranking in 2009.

View the new 2009 WTA Tour Rankings points system.

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