Since August 1973, the ATP is using a standard system to determine Mens' rankings. Today, the rankings are based on the ATP points a player has earned during the last 52 weeks, but this wasn't always the approach. Moreover, rivalling circuits existed untill 1985, when ATP and WCT merged into 1 global rankings standard....voilà some difficulties to compare players over decades.
From 1973 on, the different tournaments have been categorised as to the ATP points the winner gets: Grand Slams, the Tennis Masters Cup, the Masters-series,...1. The further a player progresses to the final stages of tournaments, the more ATP points he gets.
The weekly ATP Rankings (until 2009 known as the 'ATP Entry Ranking') monitor all players' results in these categorised tournaments during the previous 52 weeks and as such trespass the boundaries of calendar-years.
We'll be zooming in on 2 timeframes :
On both timeframes, Sampras and Federer clearly are ahead of the pack. No. 3 to No. 8 are obvious too. For the last two spots though, there's room for discussion : Agassi collected more weeks at he No. 1 spot than Hewitt or Edberg, but he was the 1 year-end No. 1 only once. It's hard to assess a correct value to each timeframe but Agassi's surplus in weeks is big enough to still have him somewhere in the outer regions of this Top 10. If we assume that one should be the No. 1 for more than 26 weeks to deserve the year-end title, the Top 10 would be :
1. Sampras : 286 weeks and 6 times year-end No. 1
2. Federer : 302 weeks and 5 times Y.E. No 1
3. Connors : 268 weeks and 5 times Y.E. No 1
4. Lendl : 270 weeks and 4 times Y.E. No 1
5. McEnroe : 170 weeks and 4 times Y.E. No 1
6. Nadal : 141 weeks and 3 times Y.E. No 1
7. Borg : 109 weeks and 2 times Y.E. No 1
8. Djokovic : 103 weeks and 2 times Y.E. No 1
9. Hewitt : 80 weeks and 2 times Y.E. No. 1
10. Edberg : 72 weeks and 2 times Y.E. No 1
10. Agassi : 101 weeks and 1 time Y.E. No. 1
No Wilander in this Top 10. With only 1 year-end No. 1 title and 20 weeks atop the ATP rankings, he's far behind Agassi (and even behind Kuerten, Courier and Nastase).
Career graphs for the weekly ATP Rankings
No. 1 careers tend to be shorter than Grand Slam careers. For all players that reached No. 1 on the weekly ATP Rankings, you might want to check our graph showing the span of their No. 1 careers, based on their age at first and at last No. 1 position. For Sampras and Federer, there are graphs on their career's weekly ATP Rankings :
- Sampras chronologic ATP Rankings
- Federer chronologic ATP Rankings (until end 2010)
- Sampras age based ATP Rankings
- Federer age based ATP Rankings (until end 2010)
Similar topics for other players coming soon...