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Second Serve


By Nick Georgandis

The only thing I truly despise about professional tennis is the ranking system. My case in point argument against the "defense of points" system is the 2010 US Open, in which Kim Clijsters defended her title by defeating Venus Williams in the semifinals and Vera Zvonareva in the final, only to fall from second to fourth in the rankings, behind ... Vera Zvonareva and Venus Williams.

Tennis' old guard likes their No. 1s and don't like anyone to come by that designation lightly. They like time-tested champions. I get that.
But the way the ranking system works, it punishes players who win the same event over and over, and rewards injury - if you missed half a season last year, you're going to suddenly be ranked very high this year, even if you lose as many matches as you win.

With that in mind, I offer two solutions to the current problem of the rankings system - one that I have spent a disturbing amount of time fine-tuning, and one that I wrote out of exasperation, predicated largely on some of the other things that bother me about the sport.

Hopefully you can tell the difference.

New Ranking System #1

  •    Players are awarded points based on how far they advance in tournaments.
  •    ATP players are awarded points based on playing a maximum of 4 Grand Slam Tournaments; 8 Masters Tournaments; 8 500-point   Tournaments and 18 250-point Tournaments.
  •    WTA players are awarded points based on playing a maximum of 4 Grand Slam Tournaments; 8 Premiere Tournaments; 8 600/700 Events and 16 250-point Tournaments.
  •    Players can play as many tournaments per year as they wish, but only their best performances at the aforementioned maximum number of tournaments will be included in their rankings.
  •    The first rankings are not released until after the conclusion of the Australian Open.
  •    Points do not carry over from year to year.

That's it. Whomever wins the Australian Open is No. 1 until someone knocks them from their perch. If you want to be ranked No. 1, you better win at least one Slam, or be really good in everything else. Winning three Slams last year doesn't mean you've got to do the same again this year or you'll drop like a stone.

Don't like it? Too simple? Well, there's always my second choice of reworking the system ...

New Ranking System #2
  •  500-point bonus if a panel of 10 non-tennis fans can identify you in a photo.
  •  250-point bonus if you start being ID'ed by Dick Enberg by your first name only during a match.
  •  20-point penalty for every picture of the first 20 results on Google Image Search for you that is not a tennis picture. For instance, 18 of the first 20 photos on Anna Kournikova's results page are not tennis-related, thus she would suffer a 360-point penalty.
  •  1-point penalty every time a commercial featuring you airs during a tournament after you've been eliminated. During Wimbledon 2013, Roger Federer would have lost 73,000 points for that Rolex commercial they kept running after he was upset in the second round.
  •   1,000-point penalty if you get so popular you think you can release any sort of musical project (yes, this is about that thing Caroline Wozniacki vomited up a couple of years back).
  •     200-point bonus if you are photographed by paparazzi dating a good-looking person who doesn't play tennis. 2,000-point bonus if you are Ryan Sweeting and somehow convinced Kaley Cuoco to marry you.

Posted: 9/27/2013 10:12:39 PM