Serena Williams – World No. 1 Ranking at Stake

Williams has not won any of the last three majors and that means her World No. 1 ranking is at stake in the month ahead.

Serena Williams’ current stay as the World No. 1 player on the WTA Tour dates back to early 2013. However, if things go Garbine Muguruza’s way at the Wimbledon championships this month and into July, then it’s the Spaniard that could be the new No. 1 in a matter of weeks now.

Williams will enter Wimbledon 2016 as the defending champion, having defeated Muguruza in the final last season. That means that Williams has the full 2000 ranking points to defend at this year’s upcoming event. Muguruza has a fair chunk to defend as well as she earned 1300 ranking points last season in making the final. However, the Spaniard has room for growth at the event as she can turn, if you’ll pardon the pun, a ‘net’ gain of 700 points at the All England Club should she win the title.

There are a lot of events to be played before Wimbledon and that creates a lot of different scenarios. However, at present Williams holds just a 1564 ranking-point lead in the standings over the World No. 2. Basically any series of results that sees Muguruza gain 1565 points in the weeks ahead relative to Williams will see the current World No. 2 supplant the current World No. 1 on top of the rankings, with Wimbledon the tournament that has the biggest implications.

One plausible enough scenario would be if Muguruza won the Wimbledon title and Williams lost in the semifinal round. That would see the Spaniard gain 700 points and Williams lose 1220 for a cumulative swing of 1920 ranking points in the Spaniard’s favor. There are other combinations as well that could see a new World No. 1, like Williams losing very early and Muguruza going very deep at the All England Club. Furthermore, the minor events in the weeks ahead will factor into the rankings as well, making for an enormous amount of permutations.

However, some scenarios are certainly more likely than others. Williams has never been one of the most active players on tour. Even right now, she has just ten tournaments factoring into her ranking-points total. Having lost three straight majors, she has just one active right now and even that will come under threat before the end of this month.

At the age of 34, Williams may be doing the intelligent thing in not contesting all that many events and trying to be ready for the big ones. Accordingly, what could be a forthcoming ranking slide could be understood as totally age related. But the bottom line for tennis fans is that the World No. 1 ranking could change hands in July for the first time in three and a half years.

Shane Lambert