Rankings revisited: have we got it right?

Published by tennismash

(L-R) John Isner, Pierre-Hugues Herbert, Elena Vesnina, Carla Suarez Navarro; Getty Images

In early March, we ran a story asking the question – which players are not ranked where they should be?

Basing our investigation on the rankings released on Monday 29 February, our panel – comprising doubles legend Todd Woodbridge, Australian Tennis Magazine editor Vivienne Christie, tennismash editor Paul Moore and staff writers Matt Trollope and Leigh Rogers – debated the players they felt were ranked too low, and conversely, too high.

Exactly six weeks have elapsed since we published that story, and plenty has transpired on the tennis tours in the time, including the prestigious US spring hardcourt swing through Indian Wells and Miami.

So, we felt it prudent to check on the latest rankings (released 11 April) and ask the question – have we got it right so far?

Here’s what we found.

Which men are ranked too low?

Rogers nominated Pierre-Hugues Herbert as one such player; the Frenchman had until this point been more notable for his doubles exploits, winning last year’s US Open with Nicolas Mahut and cracking the doubles top 10. Yet in the time since we first published our story, Herbert has also begun to improve his singles ranking, vaulting 15 places to world No.95. The rise has been made possible after he won through qualifying to reach the main draws at both Indian Wells and Miami, reaching the second round at the latter. He stands to climb higher still – and perhaps better his career-high ranking of 92nd – after reaching the second round in Monte Carlo as a qualifier and extending No.2 seed Andy Murray to three sets.

Other men whom our panellist nominated – Grigor Dimitrov, Ernests Gulbis and Ryan Harrison – have remained relatively static in the rankings over the past six weeks, while Trollope’s pick, former world No.14 Jerzy Janowicz, fell seven spots and now languishes outside the top 100.

Which women are ranked too low?

Moore felt that Elena Vesnina‘s ranking of No.89 did not do her justice. And it seems Vesnina felt much the same way. In the past month and a half, the Russian veteran has skyrocketed to the brink of a top 50 return (at No.51), thanks largely to her run to the final in Charleston as a qualifier. The in-form Vesnina has now won 16 of her past 20 matches and improved her ranking from a low of No.122 in early February. Naomi Osaka was another who enjoyed improvement – nominated by Rogers, the Japanese young gun slashed 12 spots from her ranking and sits at a new peak of No.94. Her most notable result was a run to the third round in Miami, which included an upset of No.14 seed Sara Errani.

Other players, such as Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Bethanie Mattek-Sands, have barely moved in the past six weeks. Urszula Radwanska, nominated by Christie as a player ranked too low, instead headed further south, dropping 16 spots to world No.127.

Which men are ranked too high?

Rogers identified John Isner as a player punching above his weight in the rankings. And indeed, the American has slipped from 11th to 15th since we ran our original piece. The pressure won’t let up on Isner throughout the claycourt season – in 2015, he reached the semifinals in Nice, quarterfinals at the Madrid Masters and enjoyed third-round finishes at Masters events in Monte Carlo in Rome. That’s quite a few points to defend …

The other men our panel nominated in this category – Gilles Simon, Pablo Cuevas, Thomaz Bellucci and Teymuraz Gabashvili – all remained in much the same place on the rankings list as the last time we checked in with them.

Which women are ranked too high?

Moore was on the money when he identified Carla Suarez Navarro as one such player. In the time since, she has plummeted from No.6 in the world to outside the top 10. Not long after winning the biggest title of her career in Doha and peaking at a career-high ranking of sixth, she was forced to skip Indian Wells due to an ankle injury – where she reached the quarterfinals in 2015 – and fell in her opening match in Miami, 12 months after reaching the final in Key Biscayne. The loss of such a hefty swag of points sees her now at No.11, and she has more to defend in the coming month – last year, she reached the final in Rome and quarterfinals in Stuttgart and Madrid.

Lucie Safarova and Timea Bacsinszky continued to hover in the mid teens while Jelena Jankovic remained steady in the low 20s. Angelique Kerber fell one spot, from No.2 to No.3.

We’ll check in again with our nominated players following Roland Garros, the conclusion of the two-month claycourt season.

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