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A beginners guide to tennis rankings
Tennis is almost always at the top of any list of popular sports throughout the world. This is primarily because tennis' global popularity has expanded exponentially over the last three decades, thanks to impressive players like the 1996 Olympic gold medalists roster.
However, tennis has a unique way of ranking their players in both the men’s and women’s leagues. If you are new to tennis betting, it is best to learn about tennis rankings to have a better feel of the sport’s overall performance based on each professional player’s standings.
How do tennis rankings work and why is it helpful for punters? Find out how exactly and start making the most out of your wagers now when you read this article!
ATP vs ITF: How it affects ranking
What is the difference between ITF and ATP ranking? If you look closer at the actual ranking system, there is virtually no difference except for the fact that ATP and ITF are organised by two separate bodies.
These organisations are responsible for ranking two completely varied tiers of players. For players to make the rankings, they first need to participate in the games these organisations curate like the ATP and ITF World Tours.
So, what is the ITF and ATP difference? There are two major professional tennis circuits in men's and women’s tennis that are overseen by the ATP and the ATP Challenger Tour. Meanwhile, ITF tournaments are considered a tier lower than the ATP where rising tennis players have the chance to gain points and play in the ATP.
Moreover, a player’s ranking is determined by how well they performed during the tournaments. What makes it even more unique compared to other sports is that point rankings from a previous year will carry over to the next.
In this case, a tennis player's points from one event rolls over to the next year until the same tournament occurs a year later. Afterwards, they'll have to defend and battle for the points they've already gained.
How well they perform in certain tournaments will also determine how many points they earn. For instance, more points will be allocated to a player if they win in the Grand Slam Finals (2,000 points) than it is when they win in the Quarter Finals (360 points).
All professional tennis competitions are governed by the ATP, which sets the regulations and allocates the tennis ranking points system, including ITF World tennis tours, for instance.
If a tennis player is ranked highly, they have the opportunity to compete at higher levels. Rankings that are near to the top are considered better. It is considered a rise in rankings if a player rated 70th in the world wins an event and becomes 40th ranked.
It is also based on the player's best 16 results in the calendar year. For a period of 52 weeks after the conclusion of a tournament, a player's tournament points will be used to determine their overall ranking.
Why are tennis rankings important?
Only in tennis can the ATP ranking system properly identify an athlete's current level of performance while also giving the practical advantages of seeding players in tournaments and setting the field.
The ability of a professional tennis player to compete in a tournament is based on their rating among the world's top 100 players. Players can get better while playing which will help them get closer to rank number one. To climb up the rankings, a player must first reach 40 in the global rankings and then win an event.
ATP Men’s World Tour
As one of the most famous sports, tennis has risen to the top ranks. With the ATP World Tour as the peak of elevated tennis, millions tune in each week to watch. So, how do ATP rankings work in the men’s world tour?
Grand Slam wins matter the most because they give the highest number of points to a pro player—2000 points, specifically. Other points are gained from the following events as well:
ATP Masters 1000
ATP 500 Series
ATP 250 Series
Aside from winning these events, players also gain points even when they haven’t won the finals of each event. Making it to the semifinals of a Grand Slam, for instance, gets you 720 points.
ATP Men’s World Tour points are accumulated, so players need to compete on various events yearly to keep adding or defending their points in the tennis rankings.
ITF Men’s World Tour
On the other hand, how does the ITF tennis ranking work exactly? The ITF Men's World Tennis Tour is a stepping stone between the ITF Junior World Tennis Tour and the top echelons of men's professional tennis, offering entry-level events.
To move to the ATP Challenger Tour and ATP Tour and eventually the Grand Slams, ITF tournament results are integrated into the ATP Ranking. There are around 550 events on the Tour, spread over 70 countries with $15,000 and $25,000 in prize money up for grabs.
In tournaments with a prize pool of $15,000 or more, the top 100 ITF Juniors get priority entry into the main draw, paving the door for up-and-coming players to break into the world of professional tennis.
WTA Women’s World Tour
The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) was created in 1973 to manage women's tennis in the same way that the ATP governs men's tennis. Women's singles and doubles players are officially graded by the WTA. However, there are no official rankings for mixed doubles at this time.
It all begins with the Shenzhen Open, which is followed by other events, including the four Grand Slams, until the season returns to Shenzhen in November for the WTA championships.
Rankings in the WTA are computed in a manner identical to that used in calculating ATP's, with the exception of the event number cap. This means that the best results in up to 16 singles and doubles events are taken into account when ranking a player in WTA. Those who qualify for the WTA Finals will be allowed to credit ranking points gained there as well.
The highest-scoring events throughout the course of a 52-week period are used to determine a player's ranking. From the Grand Slams and WTA 1000 events, points are included in this.
The WTA World Tour, like the ATP, has a number of event divisions - the WTA 250, 500, and 1000 Series tournaments. The rankings are based on points earned in events. Thus, players must gain at least three or ten ranking points in singles or doubles to be on the list.
ITF Women’s World Tour
Just like the ITF Men’s World Tour, the Women’s World Tour is similar with slight differences, which is the number of points that can be earned, and even then, it’s very minute.
The WTA Ranking takes ITF tournament performances into account, allowing professionals to advance to the top echelons of women's tennis. It is estimated that the ITF Women's World Tennis Tour will have 500 events in 65 countries, with prize money distributed among five tiers: The following amounts range from $15,000 to $100,000.
There are reserved spots in the main draw for ITF Juniors with a Top-100 ranking, making it easier for the greatest young talent to break into professional tennis. With this, the ITF Women's World Tennis Tour is able to keep prices down for players while simultaneously increasing the number of players who can support themselves.
Top ranked players in both men and women tennis
Now that you have a clear idea of how are tennis players ranked, it’s now time to check out who the best players are. Tennis may not be a team sport, but the individuals who participate are among the most athletic and talented in the world. Below are the top ranked male and female tennis players of their own tennis divisions.
Male tennis players
The men's bracket is dominated by strong servers with fast reflexes. For several years, these players have displayed exceptional talent and dedication to the sport that helped them remain competitive and in peak condition when playing. These are:
Daniil Medvedev is probably one of the best male tennis players. Since 2019, he has dominated the professional tennis world with his impressive feats.
With a lot of great accolades like being ranked on the top three for multiple years, Daniil is easily a prime time tennis player who everyone should watch out for within the tournaments.
There are multiple skills Medvedev has that trump any other player below his talent class (below the top 100). His serves are one of a kind, and there’s very few players who can receive them on a match per match basis. He won one Grand Slam and 13 ATP Tour World Titles in the singles bracket.
Djokovic, who is 35 years old and in the last stages of his career, has the ability to win additional Grand Slam championships. He trails only Rafael Nadal, who has won 22 Grand Slam championships, with a total of 21.
With 373 consecutive weeks at the top of the rankings, it's difficult not to include Djokovic among the all-time greats. In 2021, Novak Djokovic was clearly the top player in the world after a strong start at the Australian Open, the French Open, and Wimbledon.
Djokovic's hopes of being the first player to win the calendar Grand Slam in 2021 were dashed when he lost to Rafael Nadal in the final of the Australian Open.
When Novak Djokovic lost in straight sets to Daniil Medvedev in the final of the 2021 US Open, it was clear that either Father Time was catching up with Djokovic or the ravenous herd of future generation competitors had arrived.
Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer's best buddy beyond the court, is the only person who can match Federer's accomplishments. His first Grand Slam victory came at the French Open in 2005, when he was only 17 years old.
Even before making his French Open debut, Nadal already won 24 straight singles matches on clay in the previous year, making him a sought-after player.
In the semi-finals, he defeated top-seeded Roger Federer. During the finals, he defeated Mariano Puerta. Second only to 1982's Mats Wilander, Nadal became the second men's player to win Roland Garros on his first appearance at the tournament.
Female tennis players
Arguably, womens’ tennis is much more impactful than the mens’ bracket because they have the flashier and more skillful players. One of the biggest reasons why most will allude to Women’s tennis as the more popular sport is the culture behind it.
In fact, the battle between the sexes tennis match in 1973 revolutionised the sport forever, and it was the women who made a lot of statements during that time that made legends like Serena Williams incredibly famous.
Below are the top ranked women’s tennis players:
Tennis player Iga Świątek represents Poland in the professional ranks of the sport. In the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) rankings, she is the top-ranked player under the age of 24. She also reached a career-high position of No. 4 in the world.
Świątek became the first player from their country to win a Grand Slam singles championship in 2020 at the French Open. For the first time since Rafael Nadal triumphed at the French Open in 2005, she won the women's singles championship in a Grand Slam event at the age of only 20.
Ons Jabeur, a Tunisian tennis player, is regarded as one of the outstanding female tennis players in the world. In November 2021, she reached a career-high position of No. 7 in the WTA rankings.
She made history by being the first Arab woman to make it all the way to the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam event in 2020 at the Australian Open, a feat she repeated in 2021 at Wimbledon.
Professional tennis player Danielle Rose Collins represents the United States of America. In January 2019, she rose to No. 23 in the global singles rankings. The following year in March, she rose to No. 86 in the world doubles rankings, both career highs.
During the 2021 Palermo Open and 2021 Silicon Valley Classic, Collins earned her first WTA Tour singles titles.
In 2016, Collins ended her Virginia career as the top-ranked collegiate player in the country. To begin with, she was a qualifier for the 2018 Miami Open, where she reached the semifinals and secured her status on the WTA Tour.
Bet on the best ranked tennis players in the world at Sportsbet!
Now that you know about the different tennis ranking systems, it’s now time to bet on the best tennis players in the world. To get started, visit Sportsbet to wager on the best tennis players and enjoy the winnings you’ll earn when betting.
Words by: Vonn Consul
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