> > How about money? The players receive a lot of ranking bonus from their
> > sponsors. Depending on the specific contract, the #1 player can get a
> > dollars or two in terms of ranking bonus per year.
> What will the #7 player get? I don't think this will be a bragging poing
> to Steffi, or a lucrative source of income.
> > Of course, there is also
> > a lot of personal pride and/or satification involved for being a high rank
> > player.
> Again, no. 7 is not a point of pride or satisfaction for Steffi Graf. It
> merely means that the tournament directors have a better chance of seeing
> a big draw make it to the quarterfinals or better of their tournament.
Well -- I would say Graf isn't in it for the prestige. I would also say
that a special ranking shouldn't be a basis for contract payouts.
In Graf's case, of course, the purpose of the special ranking is
to determine seeding and admission to tournaments. I suspect, though
that the tour players want her to be seeded. The top players because
they don't want to have to play her early, and the rest of the players
because they don't want to have to play *both* Graf and another seed
in the early rounds. Bad enough to have to play one of them. :-)
As far as the distinction between ranking and special ranking, in
any given tournament, it makes no difference. But there is a
difference in the long run: The special ranking is a temporary
thing, with a deadline (in this case, the U.S. Open). Whereas
the actual ranking has continuity, and will remain meaningful
in the future.
There is another difference between this and regular ranking:
Under the special ranking system, there are *two #7 players.*
Does it matter? Sure it does. It means that a tournament in
which Graf is entered has 35 extra quality points available
(#7 gets 43 points, #57 only 8) -- twice that in the slams.
That potentially means about 500 extra points in the year-end
pool. I'm not sure what effect this has, but it means something. :-)
So to sum up, at any given moment, the difference between
ranking and special ranking is indeed a "distinction without
a difference." But over time there is indeed a difference.
Robert B. Waltz
(e-mail address hidden to avoid spam)