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How Tennis Rankings Work

Steven D. Thompson


Tennis is one of the most followed individual sports in the world. The sports' global appeal is due to several factors, including the Grand Slam events, fascinating professional rivalries, and precise tennis rankings.

Although there are hundreds of professional tennis players, some names always come to mind when you think of professional tennis. Some of them include Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and in the women's corner, Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka. 

Why do these names and several others keep reoccurring in the professional circle? The reason can't be far from their tennis prowess and achievements, all of which culminated into their usual good standing in tennis rankings.

Betpack is here to help you better analyse players with a deeper understanding of ranking points. This will significantly improve your success when betting on tennis at one of our recommended online bookmakers reviews.

Table of Contents

    What is Tennis Ranking?

    Tennis ranking is the most accurate and up-to-date sports ranking. It provides information about a player's current expertise and level of play on the tennis field. 

    In tennis, a player's ranking is determined by the points accumulated over the past 52 weeks or 12 months. Tennis rankings is a  rolling measurement and ever-changing. At the end of every tournament, the rankings replace the points listed in the preceding year with points from the newly completed event.

    The tennis ranking is not biased and can't discriminate or be doctored. Any player can be unranked or unseated from the top 50. The world number 1 this year may be number 150 in the next tennis season.

    Likewise, a player in the number 20 spot can rise to the coveted world number 1. For example, take Novak Djokovic, the 2021 World No.1.

    It all depends on the number of tournaments the player participated in and their performance and winnings in the tourneys. However, not all tournaments or tennis events count towards ranking points.

    Players need to participate in at least 19 events organised by the ATP, WTA and International Tennis Federation (ITF) to earn ranking points.

    Likewise, women's rankings are determined by the points they earn at  19 events, including four majors, the four mandatory events such as Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid and Beijing and the WTA Finals.

    In combination with our comprehensive betting guides, following tennis rankings will significantly improve your chances of winning when betting on the major events of both men's and women's tennis.

    What is Tennis Ranking? What is Tennis Ranking?

    ATP Rankings

    The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) was established in 1972 as the sole administrative body of men's tennis worldwide.

    The association organises point-worthy tournaments every season for professional male tennis players, including the ATP Tours, Challenger Tour and the Futures tournaments. The ATP also publishes men's singles and doubles tennis rankings every year.

    ATP rankings are determined by the total number of points scored by players in official ATP men's singles or doubles events within 12 months, which include the Grand Slams, eight ATP Masters 1000 and other results from the ATP Cup, ATP Tour 500, 250, ATP Challenger Tour and ITF WTT men's events.

    Each of these events contributes to a player's ranking points total and has different qualifying requirements.

    Grand Slams

    Grand Slams are the most prestigious and highest graded tennis events in the ATP tournament calendar year. They include the Australian Open, French Open, US Open and Wimbledon. A player needs to be in the top 104, win three rounds in qualifiers or be a wild card to participate. Here's the points system:

    • Winners: 2000
    • Runner-Ups: 1200
    • Semi-Finalists: 720
    • Quarter-Finalists: 360
    • Round-of-16, 32, 64, 128: 180, 90, 45, 10 respectively

    ATP Finals

    The ATP Finals are played by eight players. A player needs to be in the top seven players of the ATP ranking or be a Grand Slams winner ranked between 8 and 20 to qualify. Here's the points distribution:

    The winner of an ATP Final earns a maximum of 1500 points; 200 points for each round robin match win, 400 for semi-finals win and 500 for the final win. The other participants in the tournament earn points according to their match wins.

    Keep in mind that most bookmakers offer great betting opportunities on ATP Finals, featuring generous promotions exclusive to the tournament. Fortunately, you don't have to spend hours trying to find some. You can simply check our list of the best betting offers.

    ATP Masters 1000

    ATP hosts a total number of nine Masters 1000 tournaments annually- Indian Wells, Miami Open, Madrid Open, Italian Open, Canadian Open, Cincinnati Masters, Shanghai Masters, Paris Masters and Monte-Carlo Masters. 

    A player/pair is expected to be in the top 30 rankings to qualify. All qualifying players must participate in all the Masters events except the Monte Carlo Masters. 

    However, the rule is waived if a player is involved in a special case like injuries or other issues. Points won include:

    • Winners: 1000
    • Runner-Ups: 600
    • Semi-Finalists: 360
    • Quarter-Finalists: 180
    • Round-of-16, 32, 64, 128: 90, 45, 25, 10 respectively

    Note that if there are fewer players, each of them will get 10 points for participating in the Round-of-64 instead of 25.

    ATP 500

    ATP 500 is the fourth-highest tier of the annual men's tennis world. It is compulsory for qualifying players to participate in at least four 500 events, including at least one after the US Open. Here's the ranking system:

    • Winners: 500
    • Runner-Ups: 300
    • Semi-Finalists: 180
    • Quarter-Finalists: 90
    • Round-of-16: 45
    • Round-of- 32: 20

    In addition, the ATP 250 tournament points are capped at 250 points for the winner, 150 points for runner-ups, 90 points for semi-finalists, 45 points for each team that wins the quarter-final, 20 points for engaging in the round of 16 and 10 points for round-of-32.

    Other ATP tournaments where players can earn points include the ATP Challenger 125, 110, 100, 90, 80, 50 tournaments, ATP Cup, and International Tennis Federation (ITF) events. However, they offer a lower number of points compared to the ATP events mentioned above.

    Using current examples, Novak Djokovic is 2021 World No 1 on the ATP rankings with 11,540 points. The leading tennis player got these massive points from a total number of 15 matches, including four grand slam tournaments, ATP Masters 1000, ATP Tour 500 and other tourneys. 

    Here is the breakdown of Novak Djokovic points earned over the past 52-week ranking period.

    Nitto ATP Finals: 600

    Grand Slams:

    • Wimbledon: 2,000
    • Roland Garros: 2,000
    • Australia Open: 2,000
    • US Open: 1,200

    ATP Masters 1000:   

    • Paris: 1,000
    • Rome: 600
    • Madrid: 500
    • Monte Carlo: 90
    • Miami: 45

    ATP Tour 500:

    • Dubai: 500

    ATP Cup:

    • Belgrade 2: 250
    • Belgrade: 90

    From the rankings, one can see that Novak Djokovic won five tournaments, three of which are Grand Slams. The wins boosted his total points significantly.

    WTA Rankings WTA Rankings

    WTA Rankings 

    The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) is the main organising body of women's professional tennis events like the  WTA Premier Mandatory, WTA Premier 5, WTA Premier, WTA International and WTA125K events. The association also allocates points for all events. 

    The way WTA ranking points are calculated is similar to the ATP ranking system, including the 52 weeks. The only difference is the maximum number of events a player can participate in to earn points. Here is how WTA events award points to players:

    Grand Slams

    • Winners: 2000
    • Runner-Ups: 1300
    • Semi-Finalists: 780
    • Quarter-Finalists: 430
    • Round-of-16, 32, 64, 128: 240, 130, 70, 10 respectively

    WTP Finals

    Points for the overall winner is capped at 1500 points like the ATP finals. However, a finalist can earn up to 1080 points.

    WTA 1000 (Beijing, Indian Wells, Madrid, Miami): Hitherto, these events are called Premier Mandatory Tournaments. 

    They were rebranded and renamed to WTA 1000 in 2021 to go in line with ATP events. Like the ATP 1000, they are mandatory for eligible players. WTA 1000 points breakdown:

    • Winners: 1000
    • Runner-Ups    650
    • Semi-Finalists: 390
    • Quarter-Finalists: 215
    • Round-of-16, 32, 64: 120, 65, 10 respectively

    WTA 1000 (Cincinnati, Doha/Dubai, Rome, Montreal/Toronto, Wuhan)

    These were earlier referred to as WTA Premier 5 events. However, after the 2021 rebranding, their names were changed to WTA 1000. But, unlike the first 1000 events, they are not compulsory and offer lesser points. 

    • Winners: 900
    • Runner-Ups: 585
    • Semi-Finalists: 350
    • Quarter-Finalists: 190
    • Round-of-16, 32, 64: 105, 60, 1 respectively

    Other WTA tournaments where players can get ranking points include WTA 500, WTA 250 (WTA International), WTA 125 and other ITF tournaments.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How do players get ranked in tennis?

    Players are ranked in accordance with the points they accumulated within the last 12 months.

    Which tournament does contribute more points to rankings?

    Currently, the Grand Slam tournaments are the most rewarding ones for both men's and women's game.

    Why are tennis rankings important for punters?

    Tennis ranking points are one of the crucial factors that impact betting odds offered by bookmakers. In addition, you can use the data to make better decisions while betting on tennis.

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