Ana Vrljic 0

Change ITF rules

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Dear Players,

At the beginning of 2019 the ITF implemented new rules. The main change was creating two ranking systems. $15,000 tournaments would reward ITF points towards an ITF ranking and $25,000 and above would reward points towards the WTA/ATP ranking. In the $25,000 events there are 5 places reserved for the top ITF players, which currently need to be ranked inside the top 30 ITF. The draws for both men and women at every tournament has been reduced to a 24 qualifying draw. Therefore, with 5 spaces for the top ITF in main draw and the reduced qualifying draw the average cut off for qualifying at a $25,000 is around 450 WTA.

To keep to the point there has been a massively negative response from players on social media because players cannot get into tournaments.

- Players ranked 450 or less cannot get into $25,000, forced to play $15,000 and push the lower ranked players out

- Those players starting out or even ranked 1,000 ITF cannot get into $15,000

- Those ranked outside top 30 ITF cannot get into $25,000 and stuck playing $15,000

Players from the both men’s and women’s game have joined together to write a letter to the ITF. We have over 600 signature for active, current players for the letter and a petition with over 8,750 signatures.

What is in the letter?

We are summarising all the problems faced with the new rules and asking for amendments. At the end of the day the new rules are reducing participation when it should be focussing on nurturing players and encouraging players to compete.

The letter’s main points-

1. To have one uniform ranking system (all on the same WTA or ATP list)

2. Increase qualifying draw sizes. (More opportunity to compete and not only practice)

3. Play one singles match a day in qualification (not two in one day like many tournaments-

  1. Return to a normal full third set and not a tie break, which is a lottery

5. Protect doubles players’ careers by allowing them to only enter doubles and use doubles rankings to enter doubles draws

  1. Players now have to be entered in singles at $15,000 to be allowed to compete in doubles
  2. Players can use their singles rankings to be accepted into doubles

6. cut off ITF authorisation code which is if u r in same week accepted into ITF/WTA if u decide to play WTA u need to pay 500-1000$ to ITF

7. Get a restriction on hotel rates and do not allow tournaments to prevent access to practice courts if at affordable accommodation and not official hotel

We know this does not necessarily directly affect the top 250 players but these new rules are ruining tennis. The ITF, WTA and ATP should be looking at ways to expand participation and competition but instead it is discouraging players from continuing, or even beginning their dreams to compete on the professional circuit.

We are reaching out to you because you are the top players and ambassadors for our sport. Your voices will be heard more than ours and we need your help. We would appreciate any support or ideas you offer.

If you would like to be apart of helping the cause “Players vs ITF” we would like your permission to sign your name with our letter to embark on changing the rules back.

Kind regards,

Ana Vrljic

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