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Disputes about the main thing

The topic of the real first racket of the world in women's tennis has become extremely relevant since the time when tennis players began to rise to the top more and more often, who did not know the joy of victory in Grand Slam tournaments ( Dinara Safina, Elena Jankovic, Carolina Wozniacki ). Now this question has sounded with renewed vigor. And one of the parties to this virtual dispute added fuel to the fire.

Top 10 WTA Rankings for October 29:

1. Victoria Azarenko (Belarus) - 10595 points.

2. Maria Sharapova (Russia) - 10045.
3. Serena Williams (USA) - 9400.
4. Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland) - 7425.

5. Angelica Kerber (Germany) - 5550.
6. Sara Errani (Italy) - 5100.
7. Li Na (China) - 5095.
8. Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic) - 5085.
9. Samantha Stosur (Australia) - 4135.
10. Marion Bartoli (France) - 3740.

After the conclusion of the WTA Final Championship, Serena Williams' coach Patrick Muratoglu said: It is surprising to me that a tennis player who won two Helmets, the Olympics, the Madrid tournament and the Final Championship, ranked third. Maybe there was some kind of error in the ranking? We must find her. There is no doubt that such a serious specialist understands the rating system itself and in this case was somewhat ironic. It just looked like a claim to the creators of the current WTA scoring system.

Serena herself spoke in a similar tone: If we speak without false modesty, then I believe that I deserve to be in the first place. I have always said that if I play well and do everything right, then it is very difficult to beat me. I still believe in it. I would like to emphasize that she started talking exclusively about the first place, not to mention that she is also inferior to Maria Sharapova . Curiously, this is not the first time this situation has arisen. The American already talked about this in 2009, when she fought for leadership with Dinara Safina. True, in the same year, after a series of ground successes, Dinara admitted that she was wrong and the Russian woman is in first place in the case.

First, a few words about why the American could say so. Here, in principle, there is no need to argue anything. Serena is a unique athlete who has been showing the highest results for more than a decade. At the age when some tennis players retire, she continues to churn out victories, coping with younger opponents. Williams has proven more than once that she is ready to back up any big words outside the court with deeds on the sports ground itself. Therefore, she earned the right to say whatever she thinks (within reason, of course).

And this year she was really good, because Serena won seven competitions, among which were Wimbledon, the Olympic Games, the Open Championship USA, the WTA Final, a major competition in Madrid and two more modest tournaments in Charleston and Stanford. Her Olympic success in doubles is deliberately omitted here. itcertainly a brilliant achievement, but at the moment, the best player is judged by single results. And if you include a couple here, then Sara Errani will unexpectedly join the fight, who has a total of 13 titles this season, plus she is in the top 6 of the rating list in both categories. The achievement is by no means unique, since Serena was among the leaders in both categories, but this season in a pair the American was interested, by and large, only in the Olympics.

Returning to the single performances of the American, we note that she brilliantly showed themselves in matches with the first two numbers of the rating - Sharapova and Azarenka . Williams won all the matches against the Russians and the Belarusian, and often just smashed her rivals. True, at the Australian Open and Roland Garros, where Victoria and Maria demonstrated their best game, Serena did not meet with them, as she flew out of the tournaments early enough. Of course, this argument cannot be truly compelling, since Serena has beaten Sharapova in a variety of situations over the past eight years. And this year, according to many individual indicators, she really was the best, but ... And to this point we came to the very ones that did not allow Serena to take the first position in the ranking.

Azarenko and Sharapova really played cool seasons in terms of stability. Take at least the Grand Slam tournaments, where each had only one relatively weak result (4th round of Roland Garros for Victoria and 4th round of Wimbledon for Maria). In Serena's case, she had a setback in Australia (4th circle) and a disaster at Roland Garros (1st circle). In no case should Williams be blamed for all of Williams's troubles with the defeat to Virginie Razzano , as the American had a chance to make up for that failure in other competitions, but the American played less often than her rivals.

Points earned at Grand Slam tournaments in 2012:

1. Victoria Azarenka - 4580
1. Maria Sharapova - 4580

3. Serena Williams - 4285.

But I want to talk about this separately, because it is often customary to criticize athletes for an excessive number of tournaments played. However, every tennis player is comfortable with his own rhythm. Nikolay Davydenko once admitted that it is not easy for him to sit without tournaments, as the competitive tone is lost. Surely many tennis players have similar difficulties. No matter how many tournaments are played, only 16 best results will count towards the athletes. And of these 16 - nine tournaments are mandatory and go to the rating, no matter what. And the number of qualifying competitions has not increased lately. Moreover, until 2009 there were 17 of them, and from 1996 to 1999 there were 18 at all.

The large number of elite competitions in the calendar really contributes to the fact that leading tennis players play more often. And is there anything wrong with fans seeing the world's top tennis players more than nine times a year that are mandatory? And towhen it comes to the best, do not forget that they are the face of the whole sport and contribute to the popularization of tennis in different parts of the world.

Of course, in turn, there is nothing wrong with the schedule that Serena chooses for herself ... Let's not guess, assuming that a tighter performance schedule would have prevented Williams from performing at the same level at the US Open or somewhere else. Nevertheless, the calendar with 12 tournaments per year is a conscious choice and part of the American strategy.

Of all Serena's missed competitions, two Premier Mandatory tournaments stand out (it must be emphasized that Mandatory is translated from English as mandatory) in Indiana. Wells and Beijing. In the case of Indian Wells, there is a good reason. Due to the 11-year-old racist allegation scandal, the Williams sisters have consistently boycotted the competition. As for Beijing, in this case, it was the respite that the American took to recover from the tough Wimbledon-Olympics-US Open link. Still, that part of the year was a tough one for everyone, and Williams was the only top female tennis player who didn't come to China.

Points earned in Premier events (including the WTA Final Championship):

1. Victoria Azarenka - 5521
2. Agnieszka Radwanska - 5287

3. Maria Sharapova - 5115
4. Serena Williams - 4430.

Tennis has always been presented as a sport where everything cannot be solved with one blow. Even if it was applied on matchball, a long road was made to it. So the rating battle is a real marathon, and the victory is won not by the one who was better in certain segments, but by the one who more evenly walked the entire distance from the first to the last meter.

Serena may well be the first at the end of the year in someone's heart or in an alternative rating, but from the point of view of the WTA rating system, Victoria Azarenka became the best. And this system did not arise out of thin air, but was known from the very beginning, and every tennis player knew the rules of this organization, which has existed for almost 40 years. Perhaps, at least for this reason, it is worth trusting the WTA to determine the best tennis player in the world, which she has been successfully doing since 1975.

In a couple of months, Serena will once again have a great opportunity to prove her words in practice. If she manages to win at the 2013 Australian Open, then no “mistake in the ranking” will prevent her from becoming the number one in the world again.

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