As part of the reforms introduced by the International Tennis Federation, the first official ITF World Tennis Tour rankings was published on the 7th of January, with David Perez Sanz of Spain and Chile’s Fernanda Brito, sitting atop the men’s and women’s ranking logs, respectively.
Perez Sanz had an exceptional 2018, in which he won six singles titles at ITF level, including a remarkable run of 28 wins in 29 matches through October and November.
The Spaniard, 24, has enjoyed success in Nigeria. In 2016, he played in all four Abuja ITF events, making the semifinals in two and winning one, where he defeated Egypt’s Mohamed Safwat in the final at the National Tennis Centre in Abuja.
The International Tennis Federation, two years ago, announced certain reforms to entry-level professional tennis, including the introduction of a new ITF ranking system and the launch of the ITF World Tennis Tour. The start of the 2019 season saw those reforms take effect.
The ITF World Tennis Tour will now be the new umbrella name for all former Pro Circuit and Junior Circuit tournaments and will serve as the player pathway between the junior game and the elite levels of professional tennis.
According to the ITF, the new development is to support talented junior players in their transition to the senior level, and target the prize money effectively at professional tournaments to enable more players to make a living.
Terms such as “Pro Circuit”, “Futures”, “Transition Tour” and “Junior Circuit” will no longer be used as labels.
Tournaments will now be identifiable by gender, prize money and host city. Therefore, in Nigeria, the $25,000 men’s and women’s events in Lagos, will be described as M25 Lagos and/or W25 Lagos.
Also, the three-week Abuja Futures, which is a $25,000 men’s event each, will now be described as M25 Abuja.
Henceforth, with respect to the reforms, the Lagos and Abuja events for men will offer both ATP and ITF ranking points. The ATP points will come in in later rounds, while the ITF points will be in all rounds as you progress through the tournament. The women’s event will continue to offer WTA points.
With the reviewed changes by the ITF, the men’s winner in a $25K+H event will now earn just 5 ATP points (compared to the 35 ATP points before) and 225 ITF World Tour ranking points, while the champion in the women’s singles of a $25K event will get a massive 50 WTA points.
Many players will end up competing on both the ITF World Tennis Tour and in ATP/WTA-ranking point tournaments, and will therefore have both a professional ranking and an ITF Entry Point standing.
Under the new structure, the two systems are linked with players able to use their ITF Entry Point standing to gain acceptance into professional events.
In order that successful players in 15s and 25s tournaments are able to progress more quickly to the next level, there will be reserved places in higher-level tournaments for highly-ranked players on the ITF Junior World Ranking and ITF World Tennis Ranking. This includes reserved places for ITF-ranked players in the main draw and qualifying of ATP Challenger tournaments.
The newly designed Tour has its focus on reaching out to as many players as possible from around the world, and on rewarding those players who achieve success at each level with opportunities at the next level.