Former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli has weighed in on the revised ranking system that the ATP and WTA, the governing bodies of men’s and women’s tennis, have put in place in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new system has been so devised that players won’t start to lose points till March 2021.
The revised ranking system is seen as a cushion for players who risk failing the qualification criteria for Grand Slams on account of bulk event cancellations due to the pandemic and insufficient ranking points.
Bartoli, who returned to tennis years after a shock retirement, said she gathered from her meetings with WTA officials that this was the best possible arrangement to safeguard the interests of players.
She said the new ranking system is especially aimed at helping players who are ranked between 50 and 100 and risk losing out on participation in Grand Slams if they drop out of the Top-100.
Inability to seal a spot in the Majors could also rob them of earning opportunities.
Speaking at a live show on tennismajors.com, Bartoli said, “The WTA felt this was the best solution, to save players who were sort of scared to go back into competition, to guarantee them a spot to be back on the Tour next year with the same ranking.”
However, she said that the governing body could have looked at a better arrangement with regard to the Top-10 players. She cited 24-year-old Australian Ashleigh Barty as a case in point.
Under the revised ranking system, the 2019 French Open champion will go into the new season as the top-ranked player despite not playing any tennis at all in 2020.
“For the Top-10 maybe they could have found a better solution, whereas you have a No.1 (Ash Barty) who has not played,” the Frenchwoman said.
She outlined what she reckons would have been a ‘better solution’.
“I think a better solution would have been if a player had been able to play in a tournament, then you should withdraw the points from last year and keep the points from this year.
“If you can’t play it, you keep your points from the year before,” Bartoli said.
23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams finished the season ranked 11th.