The WTA announced how it will handle its ranking system, as professional tennis prepares to restart next month.
It will be similar to the calculation announced by the ATP Tour earlier this week.
Rather than a 52-week rolling ranking, the span of time will be from March 2019 through to December 2020.
The WTA rankings (and those of the ATP) were frozen back on March 16, when both tours shut down play.
Under the new system, a player’s ranking will still consist of her best 16 results in singles, and best 11 results in doubles. But as with the ATP, it will follow the “better of 2019 and 2020” method. In other words, if a player competes in a tournament that’s already on her rankings resumé and gets a better result in 2020, that number will be used and the 2019 result will be discarded.
Players who are suspended for anti-doping or corruption offences are not included in this.
The player cannot use the same tournament twice.
A little more complicated than that, though …
The rules above primarily pertain to Premier, International and Grand Slam events that take place after the restart.
For Premier Mandatory and Grand Slams, it’s a little different. The Premier Mandatory results are, in principle, required to be counted among a player’s best 16. But if a player didn’t play a mandatory event in 2019 but plays it in 2020, the result won’t be required count if it is lower than her lowest “best other” tournament. If they don’t play it in 2020, either, the zero-pointer would remain in her rankings calculation until the 2021 edition.
For 2020, zero-pointers will not be mandatory for Madrid, Beijing or the US Open. It appears they haven’t made a decision on Roland Garros as yet.
As far as the WTA Finals go – assuming they go ahead – players who qualified last year but don’t quality this year can keep last year’s points as a bonus 17th result. But if a player does quality this year – and doesn’t play – she gets hit with a zero-pointer. Those same parameters apply for the Zhuhai event as well.
Any WTA Tour or Grand Slam ranking points added for the rest of 2020 will remain on the computer until that same event is played again in 2021 (or, if the next edition of the event is more than a year later, after 52 weeks).
The Tour has also eliminated its “player requirements” – i.e. mandatory tournaments – for the rest of 2020.
The WTA also announced that, to qualify for the WTA Finals, “a player’s 16 best results from 2020 tournaments will count towards qualification”, with the top eight points-getters making it to Shenzhen. For doubles, it will be the 11 best results.
That seems dubious, as most players likely won’t have 16 results in 2020. You have to suppose it encourages players to pile on as many tournaments as they can for the rest of the season – COVID permitting.
If the WTA Finals happen at all, given the news out of China Thursday.
As for players who play very little – or not at all – the rest of the season because of travel restrictions, a “travel special ranking” will be reviewed, which will work much the same as an “injury protection” ranking.