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Stats Corner: Improved & Still Improving?

Examining the fate of the past Most Improved Player winners the year after securing the award has yielded some interesting stats.

Published November 29, 2012 09:35

Stats Corner: Improved & Still Improving?
Sara Errani

Sara Errani had a breakout season in 2012, highlighted by four titles and a run to the final at the French Open. She was rewarded for those feats by being named the year's Most Improved Player.

Errani also saw her ranking jump from No.45 at the end of 2011 to No.6 at the end of 2012. Is a further ascension likely? Here are the rankings of all the previous Most Improved Player winners, along with their end-of-season rankings the following year:

Ranking Increased
1979: Sylvia Hanika - No.16; 1980: No.14
1981: Barbara Potter - No.10; 1982: No.8
1985: Helena Sukova - No.9; 1986: No.5
1986: Steffi Graf - No.3; 1987: No.1
1988: Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario - No.18; 1989: No.5
1990: Monica Seles - No.2; 1991: No.1
1992: Kimiko Date-Krumm - No.21; 1993: No.13
1993: Magdalena Maleeva - No.16; 1994: No.11
1996: Martina Hingis - No.4; 1997: No.1
2001: Justine Henin - No.7; 2002: No.5
2005: Ana Ivanovic - No.16; 2006: No.14
2006: Jelena Jankovic - No.12; 2007: No.3
2008: Dinara Safina - No.3; 2009: No.2
Notes: Graf, Sánchez-Vicario and Hingis are the only players from the above list to collect their first major the year after winning the Most Improved Player award.

Ranking Decreased
1978: Virginia Ruzici - No.12; 1979: No.13
1980: Hana Mandlikova - No.4; 1981: No.5
1982: Sabina Simmonds - No.29; 1983: No.94
1983: Andrea Temesvari - No.10; 1984: No.14
1984: Kathy Jordan - No.10; 1985: No.19
1987: Lori McNeil - No.11; 1988: No.13
1989: Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario - No.5; 1990: No.7
1995: Chanda Rubin - No.15; 1996: No.17
1997: Amanda Coetzer - No.4; 1998: No.17
1998: Patty Schnyder - No.11; 1999: No.21
1999: Serena Williams - No.4; 2000: No.6
2000: Elena Dementieva - No.11; 2001: No.15
2002: Daniela Hantuchova - No.8; 2003: No.19
2007: Ana Ivanovic - No.4; 2008: No.5
2009: Yanina Wickmayer - No.16; 2010: No.23
2010: Francesca Schiavone - No.7; 2011: No.11
2011: Petra Kvitova - No.2; 2012: No.8
Notes: Ivanovic is the only player from the above list to collect her first major the year after winning the Most Improved Player award.

Ranking Stayed Same
1977: Virginia Wade - No.4; 1978: No.4
1991: Gabriela Sabatini - No.3; 1992: No.3
1994: Mary Pierce - No.5; 1995: No.5
2003: Nadia Petrova - No.12; 2004: No.12
2004: Maria Sharapova - No.4; 2005: No.4
Notes: Pierce is the only player from the above list to collect her first major the year after winning the Most Improved Player award.

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