Transition Tour - FAQs



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General

Technical Details – Players

Technical Details – Tournament Organisers

Other questions

Please click here to read in French or Spanish. For further questions, please contact transitiontour@itftennis.com.

A) GENERAL

1) Why are the ATP, WTA and ITF making changes to the structure of professional tennis? What are the benefits?

Between 2014 and 2017, research by the ITF (supported by the ATP and WTA) showed the financial pressures facing most players and the increasing time taken for players to break through into the Top 100. The major findings from that research can be found here.

In response, the ATP, WTA and ITF are restructuring professional tennis so that more players can break even financially; and so that there is a clear pathway connecting the ITF Junior Circuit and the senior professional game. Hosting tournaments at the new transition tour level will be cheaper, giving opportunities to more players from more countries.

2) What is the revised tour structure?

The key components of the revised tour structure for both men and women are:

i) The repositioning of ITF Pro Circuit $15,000 tournaments as transition tour tournaments awarding ITF Entry Points as opposed to ATP or WTA ranking points;

ii) The link between performance on the ITF Junior Circuit and opportunities on the transition tour, via reserved main draw places; and

iii) Reserved places in ATP and WTA ranking point tournaments for those with the highest ITF Entry Point standings.

See diagrams below.

There are important differences between the men’s and women’s structures, which are broadly because of the different number of tournaments at each level for men and women, and how often they play.

Women will earn ITF Entry Points at transition tour tournaments only. Men will earn ITF Entry Points at transition tour tournaments, Pro Circuit $25,000 tournaments and in ATP Challenger qualifying. See below for diagrams.

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ATP ranking points will be limited to the final rounds at the $25,000 tournaments in 2019, with plans to phase out ATP ranking points entirely from the ITF Pro Circuit from 2020.

3) When will the revised structure be implemented?

The new structure will be implemented for the start of the 2019 season. Extensive communications, including press releases, videos and material on-site at tournaments, will be issued during 2018.

4) When happens between now and the launch in January 2019?

The ATP, WTA and ITF will finalise technical details of the new structure (e.g. entry system) and start to create the 2019 tournament calendar in cooperation with national associations and tournament organisers. We will also provide players with “shadow” ATP/WTA/ITF Entry Point rankings so that they can understand how the new rankings will affect them before 2019.

B) TECHNICAL DETAILS - PLAYERS

5) Previous press releases have talked about a group of 750 professional men and 750 professional women. What is the significance of these numbers?

The ATP, WTA and ITF anticipate that there is a core group of around 500-750 professionals who will compete for ATP or WTA ranking points. The exact number will change from year-to-year as the number of tournaments change but the new structure will see a significant reduction from approximately 2,000 ATP-ranked players and 1,300 WTA-ranked players.

However, whether a player is ranked inside or outside the Top 750 generally has no bearing on whether they will be permitted to enter different categories of tournaments below ATP/WTA main tour level (with the exception of anticipated play-down rules, see below). However, it is expected that players outside the Top 750 will play mostly on the transition tour.

6) Who is eligible to play in transition tour tournaments?

Players of any age can play on the transition tour (as long as they are aged 14 or above). It is expected that there will be play-down rules to prevent higher-ranked players from playing in transition tour tournaments; these will be confirmed in due course. Up to 5 main draw places in transition tour tournaments will be reserved for Top 100 Juniors, see below for details.

7) Tournament duration and draw sizes

From 2019, all tournaments below the ATP and WTA main tour are expected to be 7 days in length to facilitate player scheduling and avoid the current overlap in tournaments (where typically the qualifying competition in one tournament will begin before the final of the previous week’s tournament).

As a result, tournaments are expected to have 32 players in the Main Draw and 24 in the qualifying competition (2 rounds only).

This format is expected to apply to ATP Challenger tournaments, all ITF Pro Circuit tournaments ($25,000 to $100,000) as well as transition tour tournaments.

8) What reserved places are being introduced?

To create a smooth pathway to the professional game, we are linking performance at specific categories of tournament with opportunities at higher levels.

- Transition tour (men and women): up to 5 places in the main draw of each transition tour tournament will be reserved for Top 100 Juniors.

- ITF Pro Circuit (women): up to 5 places in the main draw of each ITF Pro Circuit $25,000 tournament will be reserved for the best-performing players on the transition tour (who will be ranked by their ITF Entry Points).

- ATP Challengers (men): reserved places for top ITF Entry Point-ranked players in the qualifying draws of ATP Challenger tournaments (up to $125,000 prize money level). The number of reserved places will be determined later in 2018 following further research and monitoring. Men will earn ITF Entry Points at transition tour, ITF Pro Circuit $25,000, and ATP Challenger qualifying tournaments.

- There will be no reserved places at women’s Pro Circuit $60,000, $80,000 or $100,000 tournaments or at men’s Pro Circuit $25,000 tournaments (see question 2 above).

9) What will be the composition of the singles main draw and qualifying draw at transition tour tournaments?

32 players will compete in the singles main draw of transition tour tournaments, with 24 players in the qualifying draw. The composition of the draws will be:

Main Draw

Direct Acceptances: 17-22 players
Reserved places for Top 100 Juniors*: 0-5
Wild Cards: 4
Qualifiers: 6

Qualifying Draw
Direct Acceptances: 20
Wild Cards: 4

*Juniors ranked in the Top 100 of the ITF Junior World Rankings as at the entry deadline of a transition tour tournament will be eligible to receive one of 5 reserved places in the main draw. If any of the 5 places are not taken up by Top 100 Juniors, those places will be given to Direct Acceptances.

10) What is the ITF Entry Point structure?

The ITF Entry Point structure in singles is as follows:

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A player’s ITF Entry Point standing in singles will be based on their best 10 tournaments where ITF Entry Points are earned.

11) What is the ATP and WTA ranking point structure for 2019?

Please contact the ATP and WTA for details of their points structures for 2019.

12) What tournaments contribute to my ITF Entry Point standing?

Women: Best 10 tournaments at ITF transition tour over the previous 52 weeks.

Men: Best 10 tournaments at: ITF transition tour; all rounds of ITF Pro Circuit $25,000 tournaments; and ATP Challenger qualifying (up to $125,000 tournaments) over the previous 52 weeks.

13) How will the ATP, WTA and ITF move to the new ranking point structure including ITF Entry Points? Will shadow rankings be published?

The implementation of the new ATP, WTA and ITF ranking systems will take place at the end of 2018. 

Any ATP or WTA ranking points earned at $15,000 ITF Pro Circuit tournaments (as well ATP points earned in early rounds of $25,000 Pro Circuit events and Challenger qualifying draws) in 2018 will be converted into ITF Entry Points.

The ITF, ATP and WTA will run shadow rankings throughout 2018, so that all players can see what their professional ranking and ITF Entry Point standing would be under the new system. 

14) How many rankings will I have?

It will be common for players, particularly those ranked outside the Top 250 to have an ATP/WTA ranking as well as an ITF Entry Point standing. Those aged 18 or younger may also have an ITF Junior ranking. Some players will also have a National Ranking.

15) How will I enter tournaments?

Players will enter tournaments in the usual way on Playerzone and IPIN.

The order of priority for Direct Acceptances into ITF Pro Circuit and transition tour tournaments is:

- ATP / WTA ranking
- ITF Entry Point standing
- Top 500 National ranking
- Unranked players

The important thing to know when entering tournaments is that the entry system will know which rankings you have and which are valid and high enough for acceptance into the specific tournament. You do not have to worry about selecting a ranking in order to enter a tournament. The entry system will also prioritise a main draw place for a player over a qualifying place.

It is anticipated that there will be play-down rules preventing top ranked from playing down into the transition tour. These will be confirmed in due course.

Reserved places (see question 7) are allocated separately to Direct Acceptance places.

C) TECHNICAL DETAILS - TOURNAMENT ORGANISERS

16) When will the ITF be accepting applications for transition tour and Pro Circuit tournaments?

Given the size of the change in 2019, the ITF is aiming to put together the tournament calendar at all Pro Circuit and transition tour levels as early as possible. Although formal applications for tournaments will not be required before existing deadlines, we will ask national associations to provide an informal skeleton of their expected 2019 calendar in the first half of 2018.

17) Will tournament applications be accepted as currently?

In general tournament applications will be accepted as they are currently. However, our analysis of the tournament calendar at all levels shows that there are weeks of the year when there are either too many or too few tournaments, which has consequences for our objectives of having more players break even and of creating opportunities in more nations. Accordingly, we will work with all nations to create a calendar that better matches supply and demand at the right tournament level.

18) Will National Associations need to apply to host transition tour tournaments, similar to the current Pro Circuit?

Yes, national associations will need to apply to host transition tour tournaments, as well as Pro Circuit tournaments, even if the tournament organiser is not the national association.

19) What is the sanction model for transition tour tournaments?

The sanction model will be determined in the Organisational Requirements. In 2018, the sanction fee for the equivalent $15,000 tournaments is $1,500.

20) What cost savings are expected for tournament organisers by hosting transition tour tournaments as opposed to the existing $15,000 tournaments?

The most significant cost savings are: the elimination of the existing requirement on the men’s side to host three (3) $15,000 tournaments in successive weeks; and the reduction in the duration of a tournament from up to 10 days to 7 days.

We are also looking at sensible ways to reduce officiating requirements while maintaining the appropriate standard for transition tour players.

The reduced costs of hosting transition tour tournaments compared with $15,000 ITF Pro Circuit tournaments should help the ITF create a better geographical spread of tournaments. We are also looking to create a more localized circuit structure for transition tour tournaments, which would allow players to spend more time competing in their own country/region, reducing their expenses.

D) OTHER QUESTIONS

21) What further communications can we expect about the changes in 2018?

Extensive communications will be issued in 2018. These include information available on-site at tournaments, videos on the rankings and entry process, and shadow rankings (to be made available on Playerzone and IPIN). Questions can also be sent to transitiontour@itftennis.com.

22) What is the policy on wild cards?

Under the new system, players can still receive wild cards into transition tour, ITF Pro Circuit tournaments or above. Any limits on the number of wild cards available to players within a 12 month period / calendar year will be announced in due course.

23) Why is the size of transition tour qualifying draws smaller than at current Pro Circuit events?

Starting in 2019, ITF Pro Circuit and transition tour tournaments will be played over 7 days (including qualifying) rather than up to 10 days under the current system. This is to ensure that there is no overlap between the main draw of one tournament and the qualifying draw of a tournament the following week, which currently can penalise players who reach the final stages of a tournament. The new format will allow for better schedule planning by players.

24) I am a Junior player with a Top 100 Junior ranking, a transition tour singles ranking and an ATP/WTA singles ranking. How would I be accepted into the singles competition of a transition tour tournament?

Juniors can use any of up to three rankings to gain acceptance into a transition tour tournament. If a player is not accepted through their ATP/WTA ranking or ITF Entry Point standing, they are still eligible for one of the 5 reserved places for Top 100 Juniors.

Players will automatically be accepted using any of the three rankings according to the Systems of Merit (see question 15). A main draw place will be prioritized over a qualifying draw place.

25) I am a ranked Junior. Are junior ranking points more or less important than ITF Entry Points?

The different ranking systems will operate independently. It will be common for players to have an ATP/WTA ranking and an ITF Entry Point ranking. Juniors will also have their Junior rankings.

The following ranking points will be awarded on the different circuits:

- ITF Junior World Ranking points on the ITF Junior Circuit
- ITF Entry Points on the transition tour
- ATP/WTA ranking points in ITF Pro Circuit $25,000 tournaments, ATP Challengers or above

However ranking points from one circuit can be used to gain acceptance into tournaments on another circuit:

- Junior rankings will be used for reserved places on the transition tour.
- ITF Entry Points will be used for reserved places in ITF Pro Circuit $25,000 tournaments (women), ATP Challenger qualifying (men) as well as Direct Acceptances (see above).

Junior ranking points will not be valid for Direct Acceptance into transition tour or Pro Circuit tournaments.

26) What will be the entry and withdrawal deadlines for tournaments? 

Starting in 2019, ITF Pro Circuit and transition tour tournaments will be played over 7 days (including qualifying) rather than up to 10 days under the current system. With the introduction of 7 day tournaments, we will need to look at the existing Pro Circuit entry, withdrawal and freeze deadlines.

Under the new structure, it will be important that the deadlines (especially the withdrawal deadline) for the Junior Circuit, transition tour and the Pro Circuit are consistent to ensure players know promptly which tournaments they have been accepted into in any one week. Further information will be announced in due course.

27) Will there be Doubles tournaments on the transition tour?

Yes, transition tour tournaments will also include 16-draw doubles events. Further details, including the entry process, will be announced in due course.

28) Do I need to pay for a separate IPIN to use on the transition tour?

No, you will use the same IPIN to enter transition tour, Pro Circuit and Junior Circuit tournaments.  If you have Junior IPIN membership only you will have to upgrade your membership for the transition tour.

29) Is “transition tour” the final name for the new tour?

The ITF is in the final stages of a project to rebrand the tournaments of the Player Pathway – i.e. the ITF Pro Circuit, ITF transition tour and Junior Circuit. This includes new naming conventions for each of the above tours. We will release these materials in due course

30) How will the ITF know whether these reforms will have had a positive effect?

The ITF’s Pro and Junior Circuit analysis, which led to the reforms set out above has given the ITF data points against which it can measure the effectiveness of the reforms. For example, the ITF will be able to measure whether more players are breaking even or, in the longer-term, whether these reforms are helping talented players break through more quickly.

The ITF will also gather feedback from players, national associations, tournament organisers and other stakeholders, in advance of and following the implementation of the transition tour in 2019, to determine the overall effectiveness of the reforms and any changes required as a result. 

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