The WTA is setting up a way that eventually will return its women’s tennis rankings to the usual 52-week system after a “freeze” of sorts was put in place to account for a tour hiatus and scheduling changes during the coronavirus pandemic.
It is a complicated way of calculating things but, in general, rankings points will remain part of a player’s total for a minimum of a year and not more than two years.
The changes will go into effect on April 5, after the Miami Open ends.
The rules govern such oddities as tournaments that were played in 2019, skipped in 2020 and return this year, including Miami and Madrid – those points will disappear 104 weeks after they originally were earned.
For events held in 2019, skipped in 2020 and 2021 and expected to return in 2022 – Indian Wells fits that scenario – points will drop from a player’s ranking whenever those tournaments are next contested.
Before these updates take effect, the WTA has been allowing players to count the points from their top 16 tournament results since March 2019.
That allowed someone such as world No.1 Ash Barty to avoid being penalised for sitting out most of 2020 after the COVID-19 outbreak took hold.
Barty, for example, did not defend her 2019 title at the French Open in October 2020, but still gets credit for the previous year’s championship.
The ATP announced earlier this month that it was tweaking its rankings rules with an eye to restoring the regular 52-week system fully by August 2022.