It finally happened. We’ve already covered this topic a few times as a ton of professional players formed Facebook groups and wrote petitions, open letters to the International Tennis Federation. To make a long story short, the ITF decided to decrease the number of players with ATP points by creating a new series of tournaments called ITF World Tennis Tour. These events would not give you ATP ranking points but instead place in a different ITF ranking. The goal of the reform was to make pay discrepancy between the top players and the bottom of the ladder lower, but instead it proved to make it very hard to get into ATP Challenger Tour events, which are essential for young players’ progress into the ATP World Tour.
Peter Heller was the first ITF World No.1 but even for him the reform meant that only rarely would he qualify for ATP Challenger Tour events as just four places for players from the ITF Ranking were awarded. For a long time, the organisation failed to listen to these complaints, making more renowned players like Sergei Stakhovsky or Aljaz Bedene join the protest. We interviewed professional player Jared Hiltzik, talking about how the changes affected him.
Fixing the Ranking
Yet, it seems like the players won the battle. The ITF has just announced that ATP ranking points will be awarded at ITF World Tennis Tour events. The qualifying draws for ITF events will be up to 48 players, opening more chances to play. Most importantly, there will no longer be two separate ranking systems. All the points gained while the reform was in use will be re-counted, and from August 2019 they will once again be the basis of acceptance for all ATP and ITF events.
The ITF finally admitted that their decision made the life of professional players a horrible mess. Players ranked around 350-600 were unable to get into ATP Challenger Tour events which effectively made it not possible to really progress. Of course points will be awarded to them in August, but no one’s going to make up for the opportunities they missed. Still, better late than never.