Garbine Muguruza and the top WTA players will have points protected for longer Image Credit: Reuters

Dubai: The WTA has followed its male counterpart in announcing temporary adjustments and revisions to rankings for singles and doubles players as the Tour prepares to return in the first week of August.

The WTA rankings representing a calculation of a player’s recent tournament results, while evaluating each player’s standing among the world’s best players, are normally based on a 52-week system with results from a player’s best 16 tournaments for singles and 11 for doubles.

Points from the Grand Slams, the Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen, and WTA Premier Mandatory and Premier 5 tournaments yield the highest ranking points.

However, upon suspension of play due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the WTA rankings were frozen as of March 16, allowing ranking points to extend beyond the traditional 52-week window so that a player’s world ranking would not be impacted due to the suspension.

Since the implementation of the frozen rankings, the WTA Tour’s Players’ Council and Tournament Council underwent an extensive review of the ranking process in order to identify the necessary adjustments upon returning to play.

In order to balance fairness and flexibility for all players, the WTA rankings will generally follow the ‘Better of 2019 and 2020’ point model, in consonance with the ATP Tour’s similar rankings schedule announced a day earlier, last Wednesday.

In reaching the decision, various elements were considered including the provisional 2020 revised calendar, various travel restrictions, varying levels of player comfort of travelling to compete, as well as the elimination of player commitment requirements for the remainder of 2020.

Under the revised system, a player’s ranking will be comprised of her best 16 results in singles and best 11 results in doubles based on the points earned between March 2019 and December 2020.

A player’s ranking breakdown will include the ‘Better of 2019 and 2020’ points earned at Tour-level and Grand Slam events. Further, a player may not count the same WTA Tour or Grand Slam level result twice in her ranking breakdown.

Tour-level points added in 2020 will drop after the event is scheduled to be played again in 2021 or after 52 weeks, whichever comes first.

The Race to Shenzhen leaderboard, used to determine the singles and doubles qualifiers for the Shiseido WTA Finals in Shenzhen, will also have some adjustments for 2020.

A player’s 16-best results from 2020 tournaments will contribute to a player’s Race Points with the top-8 players qualifying for the WTA Finals, while a doubles team will count its 11-best results from 2020 with the top-8 teams qualifying.

Meanwhile, the WTA has released an update to the 2020 provisional Tour calendar that features 21 tournaments, beginning with the 31 Palermo Ladies Open from August 3.

The 2020 provisional calendar will now include two additional WTA International events in the week of August 10 - the Prague Open (Czech Republic) and the Top Seed Open in Lexington, marking the first WTA tournament to be held in Kentucky, USA.

“As the WTA Tour looks to return to competition in 2020, we are pleased to provide additional playing opportunities for our athletes,” Steve Simon, WTA Chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

“We are delighted to welcome the teams in Prague and Lexington onto the 2020 provisional calendar and look forward to the return of women’s professional tennis,”

Last month, the WTA had released a tentative calendar of events that was conditioned on several key factors, including the ability for play to safely resume in line with the guidance of medical experts.