After my post yesterday on the timeline of the ATP No.1 Ranking, there was a point on Facebook which said that it would be interesting to see a similar chart on the WTA Rankings. It was meant to be just rhetoric, as the person who made that point later said, but it had kindled me to do one on WTA Rankings as well. One striking thing was that the end result of it revealed that, contrary to misconception that the number of WTA No.1s will be more than the no. of No.1s the ATP has seen, it is actually less – less by 5! There have been 21 No.1 ranked Women’s singles players. A comparison of some of the numbers between the ATP & WTA No.1s is shown below:
|Number of World No.1 s||25||21|
|Number of transfers of the rank||91||87|
|Maximum no. of weeks held by a single player||287(Roger Federer)||377(Steffi Graf)|
|Maximum no. of weeks for which a player has continuously held the No.1 rank||237(Roger Federer)||186(Steffi Graf)|
|Number of No.1s who have not won a slam||1 (Marcelo Rios)||3(Jelena Jankovic, Dinara Safina, Caroline Wozniacki)|
|Number of No.1s who became No.1 s before their winning the first slam||1(Ivan Lendl)||2(Kim Clijsters, Amelie Mauresmo)|
|Country that has churned out the maximum No.1 s.||U.S.A. (6)||U.S.A. (8)|
|Maximum years as year-end No.1||6 (Pete Sampras)||8 (Steffi Graf)|
|% of total no. of weeks which the top 4 No.1s have contributed||54.7% (Federer, Sampras, Lendl and Connors)||63.6% (Graf, Navratilova, Hingis and Evert)|
A timeline of WTA No.1 s is shown below. It has similarities and differences from the ATP No.1 timeline (View it here). Bullet point observations on it follow:
- In the initial years, it was Chris Evert versus Martina Navratilova all the way. See the ‘Green’ and ‘Red’ coded bars fighting against each other for space?
- A clear transition from Navratilova (Green) to Steffi Graf (‘Sky Blue’ bar) clearly shows the passing of the baton. Monica Seles presents Steffi with stiff competition before that unceremonious incident made her a less dominant force
- Martina Hingis becomes the next big thing followed by a ‘bits-and-pieces’ domination of Davenport
- After this period starts the now familiar ‘No.1 snatch’ pattern in Women’s tennis (encircled in the graph). Many bits of dashes spread across so many players show that the No.1 ranking has been on and off many hands over the past decade or so!
- Other interesting observations are the Green and Blue dashes shown against the names of Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters. Those lines are indicative of their return to No.1 after long gaps (Agassi style!)
- Look at the four thin bars against Maria Sharapova‘s name. It is indicative of the pattern of her slam wins – One slam-GAP-One slam-GAP-One slam-GAP-One slam! She sure knows how to plan it out :)
- The one relatively long bar at the top-right against Caroline Wozniacki indicates one of two things:
- She was consistent enough to keep with her the No.1 for 69 weeks even without a slam (OR)
- The women’s line up was feeble/inconsistent allowing Wozniacki to enjoy the stay at the top despite her not winning a Slam.
Finally, something on Women’s tennis, after all the focus on Men’s tennis! But seeing the encircled region in the graphic, it is the inconsistency of the Women’s top players that should take the blame for the lack of interest shown by fans/media towards WTA compared to the more-solid ATP. Would you not agree?