The ATP rankings calculation explained
Tennis is a competitive sport. And as in any other competition, there is always the best one (World No.1), top 10, etc., and those who lag behind.
When analyzing any match to come, punters must consider the players current rankings and the progress they’ve made recently (if any).
To facilitate this analysis, ATP has provided fans, bookmakers and anyone engaged, with a very effective, but pretty complicated tool – ATP rankings.
FIRST THINGS COME FIRST: IS THERE ONLY ONE RANKING SYSTEM IN PLACE?
As a matter of fact, there are two different calculations and to take advantage over the bookies, say nothing about being more knowledgeable in modern tennis, you’d better know the difference.
Two ranking systems are applied by ATP officials: the Emirates ATP Rankings (widely known as the Rankings), and the Emirates ATP Ranking Race to London (the Race for short).
To answer these questions, let’s dig deeper and focus on the both. Believe us, by the end of this article you’ll perceive the differences and will be able to communicate them to your non-tennis fellows.
ATP Rankings: Weekly Updates to Assess the Best
First off, let’s focus on the Rankings. There’re more than 300 pros on men’s tour this day. In order to order them (sorry the pun) and provide the opportunity to compare any players between the both, the Rankings are updated every Monday during 52 weeks, in other words, on a weekly basis throughout the whole year.
On the basis of the Rankings position, players are seeded to the events. Those who are higher in the ladder have no need to qualify for the tournament, while those who lag behind must deserve their spot in the main draw playing in the qualifiers. On the basis of the Rankings the players are seeded to the tournaments and participate in this or that event prior qualifying for it or not.
At the moment of writing, Andy Murray occupies the top position in the Rankings, while Taylor Fritz – 126th. What does it mean, except that Fritz has a very slight chance facing the Briton?
It means Murray will be top seeded for the upcoming ATP tournament, while Donskoy won’t even has an opportunity to qualify due to his low ranking position.
While it is quite clear when we compare the top competitors with those out of top 100 – there is participation at the tournament at stake, what difference it makes being seeded first or second, let us say?
Globally, there is no difference at all. The main purpose is not to raffle top two players face each other until the final if they don’t lose earlier, the top four – in the semis, the top eight – in the quarters. It is to make the event more competitive as it progresses.
ATP Rankings: Points Distribution
Now let’s look into more specific issues and figure out the rules based on which the points are distributed between the players.
The ATP World Tour comprises of Grand Slam events, ATP Masters 1000s, ATP World Tour 500 series, ATP World Tour 250 series, ATP World Tour Finals and the Davis Cup. Every event is associated with a specific number of points the players will get depending on their run at the event.
A winner of the Indian Wells, Miami, Monte-Carlo 1000 Masters, etc., – will earn (surprisingly?) 1000 ranking points. Triumph in Rotterdam, Rio de Janeiro, Acapulco, Dubai and many more (ATP 500 series) will result in (guess how many?) 500 ranking points! As you see the logic behind the points distribution is rather simple.
Well, what about the Grand Slams? Obviously, they offer grand number of points at stake. To be more precise, the winner will get 2000 points. Since the season 2016, no points are awarded for the Olympics and Davis Cup ties.
How many events should the player attend to get the points?
No matter, how many showings one has made on court during the year, the players inside the top 30 will be assessed only based on the number of points accrued for 18 tournaments. Just 18. Not more.
Why 18? Why not choose 20 or all successful participations? The reason is that top 30 players are obliged to take part in 4 grand slams and 8 Masters 1000 events, which makes a total of 12. After that, the six best results obtained at any of the following are added: ATP 500, ATP 250, ATP Challengers, Future Series events or Davis Cup affairs.
Shall a player participate in 16 events only, the points of them all will be summed up. If a player has participated in 25 events, only the best 18 results will be taken into consideration.
At times players withdraw from an event with injury. In this case he has the right to substitute 0 points he gets with any points won in the ATP World Tour 500 or ATP Challenger Tour to have the total of 18 tournaments.
The rules are quite similar for those outside the top 30. They get mandatory points for Grand Slams and 8 ATP-1000 and best six results earned at other tournaments with no more than four of the results accrued at the ATP 500 series.
Ranking Points Defended
As we’ve stated above, the rankings are recalculated on a 52-week rolling year basis.
Every week the points are removed or added, depending on the results.
You can check the current rankings and the progress or decrease made in comparison with the previous week on the Rankings page on the ATP World Tour official website atpworldtour.com:
Here we see that after the Indian Wells Masters the top three remained the same with Novak Djokovic having lost 1000 of the points. The Serb failed to defend the title and lost 1000 points earned last year. Kei Nishikori and Milos Raonic exchanged their ranking places and Roger Federer has made the most considerable progress: the Swiss has climbed back to the 6th position after his triumph in Indian Wells.
God defends you from the devil; your ranking points defend yourself
A player has to defend the points he gained on the equivalent week last year, not the actual events they were won from. It is important as at times the dates of the event are shifted and it would be a fallacy to assume that a player defends the points he earned from the tournament.
But in most cases, of course, the ATP calendar stays the same years on and players, indeed, have to defend the points they earned at the same event last year. Back to our example, Novak Djokovic got an early exit at the Indian Wells 2017 and lost 1000 points he earned last year. In other words, the Serb didn’t manage to defend them.
Explained: Emirates ATP Race to London
Now, when we’re done with the ATP Ranking system, let’s move to the Race to London system. It’s more transparent and is aimed at determining 8 strongest players of the calendar year. The Race starts in the first week of January and concludes in November after the Paris Masters. The eight players compete with each other at the London finals, also known as the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. The champion of the Finals earns 1500 ranking points.
It’s worth noting one curios peculiarity of the Race to London Rankings. As we’ve stated above, the main goal of the Race is to raffle 8 year’s best players against each other and select the champion. According to the current rules, it’s not 8 best players who qualify for the tournament, but the 7. The 8th spot is given to the grand slam champion who collapsed to jump into the top 8 and is ranked somewhere between 8 and 20 positions. In the year 2014 Marin Cilic from Croatia booked his spot in the Finals for triumphing at the US Open. As a Grand Slam champion, he had to try really hard to fall beneath the 20th ranking line.
After the Race to London is finished, the results are set to zero, players go to have the well-deserved rest and look forward to the next season.
How should bettors use the info about the current rankings?
If a player is about to defend the points, he’ll be definitely more motivated and determined to succeed.
Generally, the world ranking of the players should be taken into account as a part of the balanced betting strategy. Check on other important factors that should be considered as well before placing a wager.
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