SINGAPORE - The WTA has developed a brand new World No.1 Trophy to celebrate the 40th anniversary of computerized rankings. Matching trophies for both singles and doubles were unveiled last night at the Singapore Tennis Evening, the gala event of the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.
From now on, the iconic new prizes will be presented to singles and doubles players when they first ascend to No.1, as well as at future presentations of the WTA Year-End World No.1 Singles Award presented by Dubai Duty Free and the WTA Year-End World No.1 Doubles Team Award presented by Dubai Duty Free.
"It is any tennis player's ultimate dream and goal to be No.1 - there's only one No.1 and you feel on top of the world," said WTA Legend Chris Evert, who was installed at the top when computerized rankings were launched on November 3, 1975 and spent 260 weeks at the summit over the course of her career. "Being No.1 is a reward for hard work, consistency and embracing the pressure - physical, mental and emotional - in a positive way. The new WTA World No.1 trophy is truly stunning and a fitting tribute to all of the women who have proved themselves on the biggest platform in women's sports."
After a year of planning, the new World No.1 Trophy was made over three months and is a unique prize for a unique athlete. The focal point of the award is a magnificent silver "star-map" tennis ball that represents the tennis universe, and where all World No.1s, past and present, are depicted by a diamond in the sky - each champion leaving their mark on the sport for eternity. Two sculptured arms that make the shape of a tennis racquet are symbolic of the elegance and beauty of the sport, and hold up the "star-map" tennis ball.
"A trophy is just a piece of metal, what gives the metal a life and makes it an object of desire is the idea behind the trophy and what it stands for," said Steve Simon, CEO of the WTA. "Joining the club of the best players that have ever played the game - now that's a prize worth winning."
The trophy is 52 centimeters tall, weighs 7.6 kilograms and is set to become one of the most iconic prizes in tennis. It is the result of an international collaborative effort between the WTA, Swiss branding agency Highlight Consulting, London based design agency Ingredient, and one of the world's oldest and most distinguished trophy manufacturers, Thomas Fattorini.
Since the inception of computer singles rankings on November 3, 1975 the No.1 ranking has changed hands 87 times. However, just 21 players have held the top spot and only 11 have carried it through the end of the season: Steffi Graf (1987-1990, 1993-1996), Martina Navratilova (1978-1979, 1982-1986), Chris Evert (1975-1977, 1980-1981), Lindsay Davenport (1998, 2001, 2004-2005), Serena Williams (2002, 2009, 2013-2015), Justine Henin (2003, 2006-2007), Martina Hingis (1997, 1999-2000), Monica Seles (1991-1992), Caroline Wozniacki (2010-2011), Victoria Azarenka (2012) and Jelena Jankovic (2008).
Graf, a 22-time Grand Slam champion and the last two win the Calendar Year Grand Slam in 1988, spent 377 weeks in the top spot, the all-time record for women and men, followed by Navratilova (332 weeks). Serena Williams, the recipient of the 2015 WTA Year-End World No.1 Singles Award presented by Dubai Duty Free, currently sits in third place on the list with 264 weeks (as of October 26, 2015).
The doubles rankings were introduced September 10, 1984. Since then the No.1 doubles ranking has changed hands (including ties) 111 times, with 33 players securing the top spot.
Before the beginning of the Open Era in 1968 - and, indeed, for a good few years after - tennis players were typically ranked by their national associations and also by a select group of the most authoritative tennis journalists - who didn't always agree. Such an approach was never going to be adequate in an increasingly complex global business. So, in 1973 the ATP applied mathematical formulas to rankings for the first time, and by 1975 the WTA was ready to follow suit.
Today, the WTA Rankings are based on a 52-week, cumulative system. A player's ranking is determined by her results at a maximum of 16 tournaments for singles and 11 for doubles. The tournaments that count towards a player's ranking are those that yield the highest ranking points during the rolling 52-week period. They must include points from the Grand Slams, Premier Mandatory tournaments and the WTA Finals. For Top 20 players, their best two results at Premier 5 tournaments (Dubai, Rome, Cincinnati, Toronto and Wuhan) will also count.