The structure of men’s and women’s professional tennis has been optimized following an agreement between the ATP, WTA and the world governing body of tennis, the ITF. The new structure, as announced by the International Tennis Federation, will increase competitveness and provide a clear and fair pathway for talented players.
The agreement includes the allocation of ATP and WTA ranking points at $15,000 ITF World Tennis Tour tournaments, additional ranking points at men’s $25,000 tournaments, as well as increased playing opportunities with 48-player qualifying singles draw. Following this improvement, in Nigeria, the additional ranking points will be allocated to the Tombim Abuja Open, Dayak Tennis Championship, and the GSL Open (all three ITF World Tennis Tour events in Abuja), as well as the men’s event of the Lagos Open, which are all $25,000 events.
However, the women’s category of the Lagos Open, which is the only women’s ITF Tennis Tour event in Nigeria, remains unchanged as it is in $25,000 prize-money category. Only $15,000 women ITF World Tennis Tour events will be awarded new rankings points.
The players’ rankings will be updated with the new points allocations on 5 August 2019. Though, these points will be applicable to every event that has taken place since August 2018. This means players who played at the Lagos Open in October last year and all three ITF World Tennis Tour events in Abuja this year will get the allocated ATP points designated to the rounds they finished in.
As such, Tom Jomby and Jack Draper, winners of the 1st and 2nd legs, respectively, of the Lagos Open last year, will have their ATP ranking points updated from the former which was 5 to 20. Also, Sadio Doumbia, who won the Tombim Abuja Open this year, Tom Jomby, winner of the Dayak Tennis Championship, and Dan Added, who won the GSL Open title, will all have their ATP ranking points updated.
Nigerian stars, Sylvester Emmanuel and Joseph Imeh, on account of reaching the round of 16 of the Tombim Abuja Open and Dayak Tennis Championship, respectively, will now have 1 ATP point each on the singles rankings.
Meanwhile, Mukhtar Andu/Musa Mohammed (from the GSL Open), Henry Atseye/Taiwo Owolabi (from 2018 Lagos Open 1st leg), Michael Junior Michael/Christian Paul (from the 2018 Lagos Open 2nd leg) will all have 3 ATP points each on the doubles ranking, on account of reaching the doubles quarterfinals in those events.
The updated men’s and women’s ATP/WTA rankings will be used for acceptances into ITF World Tennis Tour events plus ATP Challengers and WTA 125K tournaments beginning the week of 26 August 2019.
Furthermore, the qualifying rounds of the ITF World Tennis Tour tournaments will increase from a 32-player to 48-player draw size.
Speaking on the new development, the ITF President, David Haggerty said: “Collaborating further with the ATP and WTA, our goal is to ensure the professional pathway from juniors to professional tennis is fit for purpose. It is vital that players have the opportunity to play and progress and nations can afford to host events in their countries at both professional and transitional levels.
“These additional reforms to the pathway will further strengthen the new structure introduced in 2019, that in turn will create a true professional group of players, increase playing opportunities at all levels of the game, and help widen the number of nations hosting professional tournaments so that tennis can remain a truly global sport.”