Getting to the top: an analysis of 25 years of career rankings trajectories for professional women´s tennis


Official rankings are the most common measure of success in professional women’s tennis. Despite their importance for earning potential and tournament seeding, little is known about ranking trajectories of female players and their influence on career success. Our objective was to conduct a comprehensive study of the career progression of elite female tennis talent. The study examined the ranking trajectories of the top 250 female professionals between 1990 and 2015. Using regression modelling of yearly peak rankings, we found a strong association between the shape of the ranking trajectory and the highest career ranking earned. Players with the highest career peak ranking were the youngest when first ranked. For example, top 10 players were first ranked at age 15.5 years (99% CI = 14.8–15.9), 1.2 years (99% CI = 0.8–1.5) earlier than top 51–100 players. Top 10 players were also ranked in the top 100 longer than other players, holding a top 100 ranking until a mean age of 29.0 years (99% CI = 27.8–30.3) compared with age 24.4 years (99% CI = 23.7–25.2) for top 51–100 players. Ranking trajectories were more distinct with respect to player age than years from first ranking. The present study’s findings will be instructive for players, coaches, and administrators in setting goals and assessing athlete development in women’s tennis.

Autor / Fonte:Stephanie A Kovalchik, Michael K Bane, Machar Reid Journal of Sports Sciences 2016 October 13, : 1-7