Andy Murray Doesn't Deserve to Be No. 1

Donald MarhefkaCorrespondent IJuly 30, 2009

Andy Murray doesn’t deserve to be no. 1.  Just a minute, he isn’t no. 1.  So, what do I mean that he doesn’t deserve to be no. 1? 


How could I not like someone whose favorite song is “The Girl Next Door?”  My favorite song is “The Boy Next Door” from the movie “Meet Me in St. Louis”, so we have a lot in common, don’t we?  Just this week (week of July 26th), the young Scot has been taking part in his Scottish club championships while paying for his own lunch.  So, what is there not like?


Actually, I like Andy Murray and I lied about him not deserving to be no. 1.




If Andy can amass the most ranking points, he certainly should be no. 1. 


It’s just that Andy represents a facet of the ranking system that I think needs addressing.  He currently has received 1,000 points for each of three tournaments that he has won:


  1. ATP Masters Series Cincinnati
  2. ATP Masters Series Madrid
  3. ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Miami


Before I go on, I want to say that the ranking system is really ingenious.  All tournaments played within the past 12 months count.  After 12 months, the points garnered a year ago are dropped.  So, the ranking system always represents the past year. 


So, what is the problem?  The problem is that the 1000 Series Tournaments, of which there are nine, overstate the no. of points awarded. 


The grand slams of tennis, like golf, are considered the pinnacle in achievement.  Each grand slam awards 2,000 points for the champion. 


So, this is exactly double the no. of points given for a 1000 Series Tournament.  But, is a grand slam worth only double over what is awarded for a 1000 Series Tournament?  I don’t think so for the following reasons:


1.  Money.  It could be argued that the more important a tournament is, the more money is awarded.  Let’s look at the money that is received by winners of grand slams. 


It’s actually not that easy to compute because, for example, at Wimbledon, they pay the champion in pounds.  But, after making all the conversions, I have come up with a reasonable estimate of $1,500,000 per grand slam.


So, the 1000 Series Tournaments should be paid exactly half, right?  Not so.


The prize money for the champion in Montreal and Cincinnati is only $443,000 which is much less than half of that of a grand slam.  The Prize money at the other seven 1000  Series Tournaments are higher, ranging from $585,000 to $630,000.  Even so this is still less than one half. 


So, reason no. 1 is money.  That grand slams are the most important; therefore, they pay the most is prize money.  According to awarded ranking points (2000 vs. 1000), the money should also be double but it is more than double. 


2.  Importance.  Of course, the grand slams are more important than the 1000 Series Tournaments, the current system recognizes that.  But, I am saying that they are more than twice as important.  Everybody remembers that Nadal won the Australian Open this year, that Federer won the French Open as well as Wimbledon.  Did you as readily know, before having read this article, the three 1000 Series Tournaments in which Murray is currently championed?


The 1000 Series Tournaments, while important, just don’t carry the prestige of a grand slam. 


The Bleacher Report has carried numerous articles about the so-called GOAT – Greatest of All Time.  No one mentions the number of Masters Series Tournaments, as they were called then, won by Sampras or Agassi.  The focus is on the grand slams. 


A top ranked player only has to win five matches to win a 1000 Series Tournament; furthermore, they are only two out of three.  Of course, to win a grand slam one must win seven consecutive best of five matches played under the spotlight of the entire world. 


Just to make it to the finals of a grand slam can make one’s career.  The current system does award more points for the runner-up of a grand slam (1,200) compared to the winner of a 1000 Series Tournament (1,000); but, again the difference is not enough. 


3.  Many players treat the 1000 Series Tournaments as mere warm-ups for a grand slam.  I.e., the Montreal and Cincinnati Tournaments, while important, are no more than warm-ups for the real thing. 


It isn’t just the players that treat these tournaments this way, so do the fans and sports writers. 


So, what am I proposing?


I’m not advocating a radical revision.  The ranking system is very good. 


A slight downward revision from the 1,000 points that are awarded to a 1000 Series Tournament is in order.  Ok, maybe the name would have to be changed. 


Cincinnati  and Montreal - 700 points.

The other seven              - 800 points


Nothing is as simple as it seems; so such a change would inevitably entail other adjustments in the 500 Series and 250 Series tournaments. 


Andy Murray is really the kind of player that is easy to respect.  I hope his (sandwich) lunch at his Scottish Club Championships is delicious. 






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