Monday, 6 July 2009

Serena: The 'True' Number One...


No, no, no, no, no,!!

This statement, which was made around March of this year, that came from Serena Williams, holder of three of the four grand slam titles, saying that she is the 'true' number one has riled me up beyond comprehension.

Let me explain to those of you reading this, first of all, how the rankings work, in layman's terms, how Serena has come to this conclusion and why I think that her statement is a load of tosh.

OK, in simple terms this is how to tennis world rankings are made up.

Every tournament, from ITF Futures to Grand Slams, have ranking points, per round, which are dependent on the status of the tournament.

The winner of a Grand Slam, for example, will be awarded 2000 ranking points; the winner of a Tier I event (now known as Premier Mandatory...don't ask) will be awarded 1000 ranking points, and so on and so on.

Your overall ranking points are comprised of your results from all four majors (Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon, US Open), the four Premier Mandatory events (Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid, Beijing) and your best other eight results in other tournaments. I never said this would be easy.

The results that are used will be results that have occurred in the last 52 weeks. So, for example, by winning Wimbledon this year Serena Williams increased her ranking points by 700, as last year she was runner up and only gained 1400 points, Venus Williams, obviously, will lose 700 points. Still with me?

So that's how the rankings are worked out, by your performance in the major tournaments and a set of other smaller, less prestigious, tournaments.

Currently the world number one is Dinara Safina, who has been in three grand slam finals and has won none of them, and who was also decimated by Venus Williams in the semi final at Wimbledon on Thursday 6-1 6-0.

Now, Serena believes that as she holds three of the four grand slam titles that there are on offer, that by right she should be the world number one.

You have to admit that she gives a good case, I mean three grand slam titles is no mean feat and she has been convincing throughout, but this is where I ask the following question...what about other tournaments, what has Serena done in them? The ones with less limelight and television coverage, the ones with less ranking points and lesser prize money.

The answer to that question is simply, not a lot.

In 2009 Serena has, so far, only competed in 10 tournaments, winning two, the Australian Open and Wimbledon, and reaching the final of just one other, Miami. She also has notched up three semi finals, one quarter final, and three first round losses (in a row I might add).

Dinara is number one because she has won five tournaments in the last 52 weeks, made five other finals, four semi finals and two quarter finals in the 19 tournaments that she has played a part in, I don't care who the hell you are, that is consistency and that is impressive.

There has always been a question mark, especially so on the women's side, when a player reaches the number one ranking without winning a major. The same question was being asked of Jelena Jankovic not so long ago, who managed to reach the number one ranking without even coming close to reaching a grand slam final, let alone winning one.

The reason I feel that Serena doesn't deserve the number one ranking is because I, personally, feel that they (Venus and Serena) shouldn't just be allowed to turn up to the major tournaments, power their way through, take the prize money, take the glory and go off into the spotlight.

Of the 15 tournaments that Serena has taken part in over the last 52 weeks, about three or four of them have been, what were known as, Tier II or below level tournaments. Tournaments that are short on glamour, prestige and prize money. And even when Serena did play in these lesser tournaments, she often didn't do very well in them.

Yes, Dinara hasn't won a grand slam; winning a Grand Slam is a great achievement and one that can never be argued against or taken away from you, but if you honestly believe that you are the world number one player, prove it, week in week out, not when you please and when the money is right.

It has been a consistent criticism of the Williams sisters that they have, in the past, not been fully focused on their tennis, with other money making schemes going on in the background. More recently however this hasn't been so much the case, with both the sisters looking more focused and determined than ever before.

If you are fully focused on the WTA tour and on tennis, though, Serena, and are so transfixed on the the world number one ranking which you behold as being your own, and are so upset and dismayed as to why you aren't the world number one ranked player...then do something about it, turn up, win tournaments, at ALL levels and let the computer do the rest.


  1. You're saying the true, I don't know why everybody's hating on Safina, she has been consistant and that what matters to me, yes Serena wins Grand Slam, but what else? but anyway, I think Safina doesn't have much time left in the top of the ranking... , like happened to Jankovic/Ivanovic

  2. I completely agree, the title of this blog entry is not me agreeing that Williams is the true number one, but me just simply taking that quote from her, after that I don't think I could have said anything more about my disagreement that Serena is the true number one. The ironic thing about it is that when Serena originally made that statement she was in them midst of the clay court season where she didn't win a single match until she got to Roland Garros.

  3. you people are idiots. the answer to all of this is really quite simple. while serena may not hold the number one ranking, she is WITHOUT QUESTION the BEST FEMALE PLAYER IN THE WORLD. GAME, SET MATCH!!!

  4. I never said that Safina was better than Serena, I never said that anyone was better than Serena. She has made a whole song and dance over the rankings and about how she should be the number one. If she is the true number one then she should be able to perform at all levels and be commited to the WTA Tour. It is the WTA Tour Rankings, not the Grand Slam Rankings, Safina has been in the last twelve months the most consistent player on the tour and deserves to be the number one at this moment in time.