A large group of low ranked tennis players decided to band together and form a union called ‘United Tennis’ in order to protest and fight against some of the policies of the International Tennis Federation (ITF).
The ITF is the organization that runs global tennis and the Union was formed mainly to challenge the World Tennis Tour’s policies and ranking system.
The World Tennis Tour was launched earlier this year and it immediately upset thousands of tennis players across the world.
The Union has now sent a long letter to the top brass of the ITF and was signed by as many as 670 players.
There is the common perception that tennis players get paid handsomely and make millions each year when they win Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) events and Grand Slams. While that is certainly true, what tennis fans don’t get to see is that the lower ranked players who fail to make an impression at these events, get little to no money and it is hard for them to make a living.
The new ranking system rolled out by the ITF has made it more difficult for them. From this year onwards, players are only rewarded ranking points at Challenger, ATP and ITF 25k events. They get no points for playing at 15k ITF events and no points if they drop out before the finals of 25k ITF events.
This is because a new ITF ranking system is in place which rewards players ITF ranking points. Whatever ATP points players had accumulated in 2018 was wiped out when the new system came into play and made it an unjust playing field for them.
Patrick Mouratoglou who coaches Serena Williams was one of the many individuals who criticized the new system. It appears that the only people who support the ITF system are members of the ITF.
I agree 100% with Toni and @normansweden . The ITF has to re-think these rules. We have to support the players ranked between 100 and 1000 atp and make things possible for them rather than discourage them. https://t.co/S1JO4rIDyo
— Patrick Mouratoglou (@pmouratoglou) March 3, 2019
ITF Welcomes Player Feedback
The ITF released a statement welcoming player feedback on the World Tennis Tour.
In a statement, the ITF said
The previous model was unsustainable with less than 600 out of 14,000 players covering their basic costs. Our key objective is establishing a clearly defined group of truly professional players and a structure that allows for smooth mobility. ‘It is also right that all players should have the opportunity to compete, providing there is a clear and fair mechanism for the best talent to progress.