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Roddick's Rise Puts Spotlight on Computer Rankings

A pair of American tennis pros, one active and one retired, once again focused attention on the computer tennis rankings for both the ATP and WTA tours.

By Erik Gudris

Andy Roddick (February 20th, 2013) -- Serena Williams wasn't the only American who made a leap in the rankings this week. Her good friend on the ATP tour ascended a few spots in the rankings and he doesn't even play anymore.

Andy Roddick, who retired at last year's U.S. Open, is still on the ATP computer, at least for now, since he hasn't yet turned in his official retirement papers. But it was seeing Roddick's still active ranking rise to No. 40 this week that prompted some fans to ask how that's possible since Roddick hasn't played a match for over five months now.

The ATP uses a 52-week rolling ranking system where points are added and deducted each week based on a player's activity. Roddick actually lost points that he earned competing in San Jose back in 2012.

But since the two closest active players next to him in the rankings, Nikolay Davydenko and Viktor Troicki dropped points as well last week, Roddick moved ahead of them both as he held a larger total points value.

That shouldn't be an issue in the next week or two though as Roddick is expected to finally turn in his retirement papers to the ATP and that will finally see his name disappear from the current rankings.

No one is doubting that Serena Williams is the new WTA No. 1 based on her run in Doha last week. But her loss in the finals to then top ranked Victoria Azarenka who fell to No. 2 this week had some complaining about the intricacies of the WTA ranking system.

Greg Couch, who writes for Fox Sports, said on his Twitter account, "#Serena is the best. But when No. 1 beats No. 2, as Azarenka did, no way 2 should jump 1 in rankings next day."

The methodology for determining the best WTA player in the world continues to be criticized by fans and tennis pundits alike. The recent ascension of Jelena Jankovic, Dinara Safina and Caroline Wozniacki to the top position, without any of those women having won a Major, has prompted numerous calls for the WTA to reconfigure the way the No. 1 ranking is determined.

Though both the ATP and WTA give equal weight to the winners of a Grand Slam title by awarding 2000 points to the champion, each tour does vary when it comes to distributing points based on results at other events. Both tours in the past awarded "bonus points" when a lower-ranked player defeated one ranked above them, but that incentive was abandoned by both tours several years ago.

A recent article on USA Today calculated "quality points" for the top ATP players based on the rankings of opponents that they faced and beat in 2012. There was no change at the very top, but it was interesting that Juan Martin Del Potro rose a few more places based on his total season as did Gael Monfils who was listed inside the top ten. (Source: USAToday.com)

Some continue to argue for a return to the bonus points system, especially for the WTA, that many feel would result in a more definitive rankings list each week. But with no changes in sight for either tour's ranking methodology, expect a few more eyebrow raising rise and falls within the top 100 this year.

(Photo Credit: Tony Chang)

 

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