ITF

International Tennis Federation and National Associations Announce World Tennis Number (WTN) Project

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) and leading National Tennis Associations announced a strategic project to develop and implement a global, level-based tennis rating, designed to enable more matches to be played between players of similar levels, from beginners to professionals.

The new rating, called the World Tennis Number (WTN), will aim to break down one of sport’s key barriers to participation – uneven match-ups – allowing players of all abilities to determine their individual level. This will help players identify opponents and competitions of an appropriate standard and access to more competitive and enjoyable playing opportunities.

ITF President, David Haggerty, said: “Our vision is simple, to create local online communities of tennis players sharing meaningful and enjoyable tennis experiences through level-based play. With this new platform, we have the means to connect a worldwide community of 87 million tennis players and fans.”

The WTN project, approved by the ITF Board of Directors in March 2018, is led by a steering committee composed of executives from the ITF, French Tennis Federation (FFT), LTA and United States Tennis Association (USTA), and supported by a project team and an advisory group of nations that also includes experts from the National Associations of Canada, China, Ireland, Netherlands and Switzerland.

Sports technology experts, ClubSpark, have been selected to build the World Tennis Number digital platform. This platform will create a global online tennis community, enabling players to access their WTN from anywhere in the world, record and measure their progress, and interact with other tennis players. The digital platform will also assist tournament organisers in the staging of competitions based on ability levels.

The scale and algorithm for the World Tennis Number is currently being modelled and refined using a database of millions of match records, and through worldwide player consultation. The project has already received significant input from nations representing the majority of the world’s tennis players.

“The goal is more people playing more tennis more often,” explained Luca Santilli, ITF Executive Director of Tennis Development. “Creating a rating system for players of all levels that is commercially independent has been a very positive step; but what is really exciting is the potential for the World Tennis Number to become a giant leap forward for the sport. With the correct algorithm and adoption on a worldwide basis, it could be game changing.”

The World Tennis Number is planned to be in operation towards the end of 2019, with National Associations launching officially within each country from 2020.

FFT President, Bernard Giudicelli, said: “France will always be supportive of initiatives enabling tennis to grow worldwide and will share its experience with other nations to build their own grassroots development plan. Competition is the best leverage to achieve that aim. The World Tennis Number platform is a ten-year dream come true. This is Tennis 4.0, using technology to provide easier access to tennis and deepen the connection between local players and worldwide tennis.”

LTA CEO, Scott Lloyd, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with the ITF and leading tennis nations to create the new World Tennis Number. The LTA is working hard to open tennis up to anyone who wants to play, and we believe that a new rating system will support our plans to offer players appropriate and enjoyable matches at every level of the sport.”

USTA CEO Gordon Smith, said: “One of the USTA’s top priorities is to elevate all aspects of the tennis player’s experience, regardless of their age, background or skill level. As a nation with one of the largest tennis player communities on the planet, the USTA constantly strives to utilise best-in-class technology to improve products for the needs of players and fans. We believe the new World Tennis Number platform will foster relationships, increase opportunities to play and connect US players with the global community.”

The ITF and steering committee nations believe that the World Tennis Number will be a powerful enabler in fulfilling the fundamental objectives of increasing participation, and recruiting and retaining players of any age, gender and ability.

New Fed Cup To Kick Off In Budapest

The ITF announced a new ‘World Cup of Tennis’ format for Fed Cup by BNP Paribas, including the launch of the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Finals in Budapest, Hungary on 14-19 April 2020. The Finals will be staged at the Laszlo Papp Budapest Sports Arena on clay on two match courts for three years, 2020-22.

The bold new format will see an increase from eight to 20 nations competing each year to become world champions, with 12 nations qualifying for the Fed Cup Finals where they will compete for a total prize fund of $18 million, with $12 million going to players and $6 million to National Associations.
Sixteen nations will compete in the 2020 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Qualifiers on 7-8 February on a home-and-away basis over five matches to earn one of eight places in the Finals, where they will join the previous year’s finalists, Australia and France, host nation Hungary and one wild card nation to be confirmed.

The following 16 nations are currently set to contest the 2020 Fed Cup Qualifiers based on their performances in the 2019 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas: Belarus, Belgium, Brazil (*), Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, Kazakhstan (*), Latvia, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, USA.
(*) two highest ranked losing nations in 2019 World Group II Play-offs.

The Finals will feature a round-robin format with four groups of three teams, followed by knock-out semi-finals and final. The top two nations will be guaranteed a place in the following year’s Finals, while the nations finishing 3rd-10th will contest the following year’s Qualifiers. All matches will consist of two singles and one doubles.

The new format was approved by the ITF Board following an extensive review and consultation process with National Associations, Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) and WTA Player Council. The format respects the existing women’s tennis calendar by reducing Fed Cup to two weeks of competition in existing Fed Cup weeks, and supporting player health through the extension of the off season by moving the Finals from November to April.

There will be no change to the format of the regional group events, which will continue to consist of week-long round-robin tournaments. With the expansion of the elite level of the competition, the number of nations qualifying from the regional Group I events for the Fed Cup Play-offs has doubled from four to eight. These nations will face the eight losing nations from the Fed Cup Qualifiers to earn a place in the following year’s Qualifiers.

Balazs Furjes, Hungarian Secretary of State of Budapest’s Development and International Sports Events, said: “The announcement of Budapest as host for the new Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Finals is the jewel in the crown of the city’s global tennis ambitions and underlines our status as one of the prime global capitals of sport.”

Hungarian Tennis Association (HTA) President, Lajos Szucs, said: “Hungarian tennis has a proud history of hosting men’s and women’s tour events and more than 100 ITF tournaments, and we are delighted to welcome the world to witness the best in women’s tennis next year. The Finals will provide the ideal platform to showcase Hungarian tennis – and, of course, the beautiful city of Budapest.”

ITF President, David Haggerty, said: “The launch of the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Finals will create a festival of tennis that elevates this flagship women’s team competition to a new level, yet remains loyal to the historic core of the Fed Cup. We have consulted and listened to stakeholders and worked with the WTA and its Player Council to make sure the new format represents the interests of the players. We pledged to our National Associations during the 2018 AGM that we would introduce reforms that will grow the competition’s global audience and enable greater investment into the future of the sport. We believe this bold new Fed Cup format delivers this pledge.”

Billie Jean King, recently announced as Global Ambassador for Fed Cup by BNP Paribas, said; “Fed Cup has evolved since I was part of the first winning team in 1963 but it has always remained true to its roots. These reforms are historic as they reflect the ITF’s commitment to unlocking the Fed Cup’s huge potential, hosting a competition with prize money deserving of the world’s best women’s tennis teams and players. It is an honour to be part of the next evolution of the greatest event in women’s team tennis.”

The increased prize money for Fed Cup by BNP Paribas starting in 2020 will include an additional $4.9 million for nations competing below the elite level of the competition.

These reforms will help the ITF in its mission to deliver tennis for future generations by ensuring the long-term growth and sustainability of the sport.

Schedule Announced For Davis Cup Finals In Madrid

The ITF and Kosmos Tennis have today announced the schedule for the Davis Cup Finals, taking place in Madrid from 18 to 24 November.

The group stage ties will take place Monday to Thursday. One quarter-final will be played on Thursday evening while the other three will be played on Friday, followed by the semi-finals on Saturday and the final on Sunday 24 November. All matches are best of three sets, with two singles and doubles match.

The Group B match between Croatia and Russia will begin proceedings on Centre Court, and will be followed closely by the Spanish fans, with Spain also in Group B.

Spain will first play on the afternoon of Tuesday 19 on Centre Court against Russia, following an exciting meeting between Argentina and Chile.

Number 1 seeds France will also play on Tuesday, in the morning session against Japan. This second day of competition will also see Canada take on USA.

A total of 18 teams are competing in six groups in the group stage. The six group winners plus the two best second placed teams, based on percentage of sets won, will progress to the quarter-finals.

The two lowest placed teams after the group stage will play in the Zone Group competition the following year. The 12 teams that finish in 5th to 16th position will compete in the Davis Cup Qualifiers in 2020. All four semi-finalists will automatically qualify for the 2020 Davis Cup Madrid Finals.

Davis Cup Madrid Finals Schedule:

Monday 18 November
Evening session:
Centre Court – Croatia v Russia
Stadium 2 – Canada v Italy
Stadium 3 – Belgium v Colombia

Tuesday 19 November
Morning session:
Centre Court – Argentina v Chile
Stadium 2 – France v Japan
Stadium 3 – Kazakhstan v Netherlands

Evening session:
Centre Court – Spain v Russia
Stadium 2 – USA v Canada
Stadium 3 – Australia v Colombia

Wednesday 20 November
Morning session:
Centre Court – Argentina v Germany
Stadium 2 – Serbia v Japan
Stadium 3 – Great Britain v Netherlands

Evening session:
Centre Court – Croatia v Spain
Stadium 2 – USA v Italy
Stadium 3 – Belgium v Australia

Thursday 21 November
Morning session:
Centre Court – France v Serbia
Stadium 2 – Germany v Chile
Stadium 3 – Great Britain v Kazakhstan

Evening session:
Centre Court – Quarter-final: Winner Group D v Winner Group F

Friday 22 November
Morning session:
Centre Court – Quarter-final: Winner Group A v Runner Up (*)

Evening session:
Centre Court – Quarter-final: Winner Group B v Runner Up (*)
Stadium 2 – Quarter-final: Winner Group E v Winner Group C

Saturday 23 November
Morning session:
Centre Court – Semi-final (top half)

Evening sessions:
Centre Court – Semi-final (bottom half)

Sunday 24 November
Time TBC
Centre Court – Final

(*) to be determined by draw

David Cup Finals Groups:
Group A: France (1), Serbia, Japan
Group B: Croatia (2), Spain, Russia
Group C: Argentina (3), Germany, Chile
Group D: Belgium (4), Australia, Colombia
Group E: Great Britain (5), Kazakhstan, Netherlands
Group F: USA (6), Italy, Canada

Draw Announced for Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Finals In Madrid

The ITF and Kosmos Tennis have announced the draw for the Davis Cup Madrid Finals which was made this evening at La Real Casa de Correos in the host city of Madrid.

The Davis Cup Madrid Finals will take place on 18-24 November when 18 nations will compete for the first time in one city, over one week, in a bid to win the prestigious trophy and be crowned World Champions.

The 18 nations have been divided into six groups of three teams. The six group winners and two best second placed teams (based on percentage sets, games and points won) will advance to the knockout phase of the competition.

Defending champions Croatia, the second seeds, have been drawn against Russia and the host nation, and five-time Davis Cup winners Spain, in Group B. The top seeds France will contest Group A against Serbia and Japan.

David Haggerty, ITF President said: “This draw marks another stage of the journey to the Davis Cup Finals where these 18 nations will give their all for their teammates, their country and their fans. Now that the teams know their opponents the anticipation can really build to what will be a spectacular event in November.”

Gerard Piqué, Founder and President of Kosmos, partner of the Davis Cup Madrid Finals added: “We are extremely proud to see how, step by step, the Davis Cup Madrid Finals take shape and become, without a doubt, one of the great sporting events of the year. The draw we witnessed today has provided an exciting setting for the competition. The diversity and contrasting styles of the teams and the huge enthusiasm with which they will all arrive in Madrid is undoubtedly the best guarantee of the great performance that awaits us. Madrid will be the world capital of tennis and sport for a week, bringing together fans from 18 countries, offering them a unique experience that they will surely not forget”.

The event was also attended by a group of dignitaries, led by the President of the Region of Madrid, Angel Garrido and Luis Cueto, General Coordinator of the Mayor.

Angel Garrido said: “It is an honour for Madrid to host this new format that will attract tourists who we are ready to host with success. In Madrid, we support these big events as well as participation in sport at every level.”

Luis Cueto, also said: “This is the result of a lot of dreams and ambitions. Tennis is a sport of respect and people will always remember that the Davis Cup Finals began in Madrid. We want to share the culture of Madrid of coexistence, sustainability and respect with everyone. La Caja Magica will become even more magical in November.”

DAVIS CUP FINALS GROUP STAGE:
Group A: France (1), Serbia, Japan
Group B: Croatia (2), Spain, Russia
Group C: Argentina (3), Germany, Chile
Group D: Belgium (4), Australia, Colombia
Group E: Great Britain (5), Kazakhstan, Netherlands
Group F: USA (6), Italy, Canada

The draw for the quarter-finals was also made:

1. Winner Group A v Runner Up 1 or 2
2. Winner Group D v Winner Group F
3. Winner Group E v Winner Group C
4. Winner Group B v Runner Up 1 or 2

The draw was broadcast to an international audience, through broadcasters and livestream, across many platforms and channels.

Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Futures Event In Vero Beach Moves To Boulevard Tennis Club

The Boulevard Tennis Club, the fastest-growing tennis club in Vero Beach, will host the 2019 Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships, Vero Beach’s long-running U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) Pro Circuit professional tennis tournament April 29 – May 5, 2019.

An official contract was signed last week between representatives of the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation and The Boulevard Tennis Club to host the popular tournament featuring up-and-coming world-ranked touring tennis professionals from around the world. The Boulevard Tennis Club previously hosted the event for seven years from 2010 to 2016. The tournament benefits the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation, the non-profit foundation benefiting children named for Vero Beach native son Mardy Fish, a former top 10 tennis star, U.S. Davis Cup hero and silver medalist at the 2004 Olympic Games.

“The Boulevard Tennis Club has turned into the epicenter of tennis in Vero Beach over the last few years and we are excited to once again stage our event there next spring,” said Tom Fish, President of the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation. “Our event is our top fundraising mechanism for the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation and our goal is to raise as much money as possible to benefit youth in Indian River County while continuing to run a first-class event and further promote tennis in our Treasure Coast community.”

“We are so happy to once again host the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships,” said Christophe Delavaut, the Tennis Director and co-owner of The Boulevard Tennis Club. “Under our club’s new ownership group, we are thrilled to open up our doors to the community for the most prestigious and longest-running professional sports event in Vero Beach.”

The Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation will be elevated to a $25,000 tournament in 2019, up from a $15,000 event in 2018, ensuring higher-quality ranked players competing in the event than in years past. A 24-player qualifying tournament will start Monday, April 29 with main-draw play starting Tuesday, April 30 concluding with the singles final on Sunday, May 5. A special pre-qualifying tournament open to all entrants will be played at The Boulevard starting Wednesday, April 24 with the winner earning a place in the 24-player qualifying tournament. The 2019 tournament is part of the newly restructured and rebranded ITF World Tennis Tour.

Founded in 2007, the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation (www.MardyFishFoundation.com and @MardyFishFound on Twitter) currently supports over 2,200 children in 15 elementary schools, six middle schools and two after school centers in Indian River County, Florida by funding after-school exercise, nutritional and enrichment programs in a safe environment to prepare them for healthy, productive and successful lives. The Foundation introduced the “Six Healthy Habits” in 2012 which are Get Sleep; Drink Water; Exercise Daily, Eat Healthy; Brush and Floss; Make Friends.

The Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships has been played in Vero Beach since 1995 and regarded as one of the best entry-level professional tennis tournaments in the world. Some of the past competitors have gone on to succeed at the highest levels of professional tennis, winning major singles and doubles titles, Olympic medals and Davis Cup championships and earning No. 1 world rankings. Andy Roddick, the 2003 U.S. Open champion who attained the world No. 1 ranking and helped the United States win the Davis Cup in 2007, competed in Vero Beach in 1999. Thomas Johansson of Sweden, who reached the second round of the Vero Beach Futures in 1995, won the Australian Open seven years later in 2002. Nicolas Massu, the 1998 singles runner-up in Vero Beach, won the singles and doubles gold medals at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, beating Fish in the gold medal singles match. Kyle Edmund, the 2013 champion in Vero Beach, helped Great Britain to the Davis Cup title in 2015. Other notable former competitors in Vero Beach include former world No. 2 Magnus Norman, former world No. 4 Tim Henman, 2016 Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic and most recently world No. 50 player and teen sensation Denis Shapovalov, who played in Vero Beach in 2016. Former Vero Beach competitors have combined to win 19 titles in singles, doubles and mixed doubles at Grand Slam tournaments. Seven former Vero Beach players have gone on to play Davis Cup for the United States – Roddick, Fish, Taylor Dent, Jared Palmer, Donald Young, Ryan Harrison and Frances Tiafoe.

Tickets for the event are available now at www.VeroBeachTennisTickets.com. Admission for children 18 and under is free. Sponsorships are available by contacting co-tournament directors Tom Fish ([email protected]) and Randy Walker at ([email protected]). Fans can follow news and developments on the tournament on Facebook and on Twitter at @VeroFutures.

The Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships have an annual economic impact of approximately $500,000 per year on the Vero Beach local economy. Approximately 3,000 fans annually attend the event, which is seen as one of the best-attended events entry-level events in the world.

Juan Benitez of Colombia won the 2018 Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships beating Venezuelan Davis Cup team member Ricardo Rodriguez in the final.

The Boulevard Tennis Club, located in Central Vero Beach on Indian River Boulevard, is the fastest-growing tennis club in Vero Beach, featuring 13 clay tennis courts and world-class tennis instruction and programming for all levels of players. For more information, go to www.BlvdTennisClub.com

Albert Costa Named Davis Cup Tournament Director In Madrid

Albert Costa, a former Davis Cup champion with extensive experience as director of tennis tournaments and development projects, has joined Kosmos Tennis’s team as Competition Director and Davis Cup finals Tournament Director.

Costa will oversee all sporting aspects of the competition and the implementation of the new Davis Cup format in 2019, following the agreement signed by Kosmos Tennis and the ITF on 16 August at the ITF AGM in Orlando.

“We are really proud to have Albert Costa in our team to be part of our project and share with us the vision and enthusiasm to consolidate this new historic stage of the competition,” said Javier Alonso, CEO of Kosmos Tennis. “His experience as a former elite tennis player and Davis Cup captain, as well as his subsequent successful tennis projects, will provide huge impetus to the development of Kosmos Tennis’s sports capability. On behalf of the whole team, I want to give Albert our warmest welcome.”

Costa will be the second former player to join the company following Galo Blanco, Chief Competition Officer of Kosmos Tennis and member of the Davis Cup Steering Committee.

Albert Costa said: “Joining this project offers me a superb new challenge. I’m very excited that my work with Kosmos Tennis will give me the opportunity to get involved in the Davis Cup again, a competition I witnessed and enjoyed from the inside and from which I had many positive experiences. We still have a long way to go and I want to thank Kosmos Tennis for the opportunity and the trust they have placed in me at this new stage in my professional career.”

Albert Costa competed as a professional tennis player from 1992 to 2006. During his career, he won 12 titles, including 2002 Roland Garros, and was ranked in the world´s Top 10. Costa was also a member of the team that won the first Davis Cup for Spain in 2000 at Palau Sant Jordi, Barcelona, and was the captain of the Spanish team from 2009 until 2011, winning two more titles (Barcelona in 2009 and Sevilla in 2011). He is one of 18 tennis players who, throughout the 118 years of Davis Cup history, has won the title both as a player and as a captain.

Davis Cup by BNP Paribas is the World Cup of Tennis. It is the largest annual international team competition in sport, with 127 nations taking part in 2018. The competition is 118 years old, having been founded in 1900. The title sponsor is BNP Paribas (Official Bank of Davis Cup). International sponsors are Rolex (Official Timekeeper) and Adecco (Official HR Sponsor), while Head (Official Ball) is an international partner. beIN SPORTS is the Official Global Media Rights Partner. In 2019, the all-new Davis Cup by BNP Paribas finals will be hosted at the iconic La Caja Magica in Madrid, Spain. Twenty-four nations will contest the Qualifiers on 1-2 February, competing in 12 locations around the world on a home-and-away basis. The 12 winning teams will join the 2018 semi-finalists plus two wild card teams in an 18-nation Davis Cup season finale.

ITF Announces Details On New ITF Transition Tour That Will Change Entry-Level Pro Tennis Around The World

The ITF announced details of the new ITF transition tour that will be launched in 2019 as part of a major restructuring of professional tennis. The tour will provide a more effective pathway linking the ITF Junior Circuit and the senior professional game, and ensure that prize money at professional level tournaments is better targeted to enable more players to make a living.

The creation of the transition tour is based on ITF research that shows that while over 14,000 players compete each year in professional tournaments, only around 350 men and 250 women break even financially without consideration of coaching costs. A large number of junior players are competing on the professional circuit but the transition to the Top 100 is taking longer.

The transition tour will be staged within a more localised circuit structure that reduces costs for players and tournament organisers. This will also increase opportunities for players from more countries to join the pathway and be supported in their transition to professional tennis.

The transition tour forms part of a new worldwide tournament structure that has been agreed between the ITF, ATP and WTA in order to address the current challenges at entry level. This structure is expected to reduce the number of professional players with ATP and WTA rankings from 3,000 players to approximately 750 men and 750 women.

The new transition tour tournaments, which will offer $15,000 in prize money, will replace the existing $15,000 men’s and women’s tournaments on the ITF Pro Circuit in 2019, and will award ITF Entry Points instead of ATP and WTA ranking points.

For more information on the ITF transition tour, watch this online video.

Ranking point systems

In women’s tennis in 2019, tournaments offering a minimum of $25,000 in prize money will continue to offer WTA ranking points. In men’s tennis in 2019, $25,000 ITF Pro Circuit events will offer both ATP ranking points (later rounds) and ITF Entry Points (all rounds); while the qualifying rounds of ATP Challenger tournaments will also offer both ATP ranking points (all events) and ITF Entry Points (events up to $125,000 in prize money). From 2020, it is anticipated that $25,000 men’s tournaments will also form part of the transition tour and offer ITF Entry Points only.

Many players will end up competing on both the transition 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.

Reserved tournament places

In order that successful junior and transition tour players are able to progress more quickly to the next level, the different ranking systems will be linked to guarantee reserved places in tournaments as follows:

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 this year following further research and monitoring.

Women: 5 reserved places for top ITF Entry Point-ranked players in the main draw of $25,000 ITF Pro Circuit tournaments.

Juniors: 5 reserved places in the main draw of transition tour tournaments for players in the Top 100 of the ITF Junior Ranking.

Play-down rules

The ITF, ATP and WTA will implement new ‘play-down’ rules to prevent higher-ranked players from competing in transition tour tournaments to maximise opportunities for other players. Currently anyone outside the Top 10 women or Top 150 men can play in $15,000 events. Under the new structure it is expected that most players with ATP and WTA rankings would choose to enter professional tournaments.

Introduction of new rankings in 2019

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.

Cheaper hosting requirements

More National Associations will have the opportunity to stage events due to the cheaper hosting requirements of transition tour tournaments. The tournaments will be shorter in length than Pro Circuit events and take place over seven days (including qualifying). There is no requirement to host three consecutive tournaments as per the current rule for Men’s Futures tournaments; and there is a reduction in officiating requirements. It is anticipated that this will increase the number of nations hosting tournaments in 2019, providing opportunities for more players.

ITF President David Haggerty said: “The new worldwide tournament structure in which we have collaborated with the ATP and WTA will help address the issues of transition between the junior and senior game, and enable more professional players to make a living. However it is vital that we do not reduce the chance for players of any nation or background to enter the professional pathway. The introduction of the transition tour will allow players to take the first steps towards becoming a future champion within a more targeted and affordable circuit structure.”

Chris Kermode, ATP Executive Chairman & President, said: “The new points structure from 2019 will lead to significant enhancements to the player pathway through men’s professional tennis, providing a seamless link for players to progress upwards into ATP Challengers and beyond. We look forward to the successful implementation of the new structure through our continued extensive collaboration with the ITF.”

Steve Simon, WTA Chairman & CEO, said: “It is the goal of many talented young tennis players to compete on the WTA Tour. We support the restructuring of the pathway to professional tennis that is being announced by the ITF which is designed to simplify the forward progress of talented young players through different tournament levels. These efforts will provide more targeted job opportunities for players, and ultimately establish a clear pathway structure for players to move up to the WTA professional level.”

USA Completes Historic Week By Winning Seven Titles At ITF Super-Seniors World Team Championships

American teams had a historic week at the USTA National Campus at Lake Nona in Orlando, Fla. as teams won seven of the nine titles at the 37th International Tennis Federation (ITF) Super-Seniors World Team Championships.  The women’s team swept the four women’s divisions and the men won three of five divisions, including the inaugural men’s 85-and-over division.

 

The tournament is the senior tennis equivalent of the Davis Cup and Fed Cup competitions, with top American tennis players representing their country in the 65-, 70-, 75-, 80- and 85- and-over age groups. This is the first time that the event will feature the men’s 85-and-over division.  The ITF Super-Seniors World Team Championships is the most prestigious team event on the ITF Seniors circuit.

 

The U.S. brought home the titles in the Kitty Godfree Cup (Women’s 65 & over), Althea Gibson Cup (Women’s 70 & over), Queens’ Cup (Women’s 75 & over) and Doris Hart Cup (Women’s 80 & over), Britannia Cup (Men’s 65 & over), Gardnar Mulloy Cup (Men’s 80 & over) and Men’s 85 Cup. This was the eighth consecutive year that the U.S. team triumphed in the Queens’ Cup, the third consecutive year for the Doris Hart Cup and marked the sixth Gardnar Mulloy Cup victory in the last seven years.

 

Following the ITF Super-Seniors World Team Championships, the World Individual Championships will be held Oct. 14-21, also at the USTA National Campus.

 

Below is a list of players representing the United States in each competition and results:

 

Britannia Cup – Men’s 65 & over – Result: CHAMPION (USA def. Austria 2-1)

1. Larry Turville, Dunnellon, Fla., Captain

2. Paul Wulf, Salem, Ore.
3. David Sivertson, Addison, Texas
4. Leonard Wofford, Portland, Ore.

 

Jack Crawford Cup – Men’s 70 & over – Result: Fifth place (draw with Canada)

1. Michael Beautyman, Flourtown, Pa.

2. Leslie Buck, Asheville, N.C.
3. Jimmy Parker, Santa Fe, N.M., Captain
4. Dean Corley, Aliso Viejo, Calif.

 

Bitsy Grant Cup – Men’s 75 & over – Result: Fifth place (USA def. Germany 2-1)

1. Fred Drilling, Estero, Fla.   

2. Joseph Bachmann, Sarasota, Fla., Captain

3. Rudy Hernando, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

4. Ivo Barbic, Atlanta

 

Gardnar Mulloy Cup – Men’s 80 & over – Result: CHAMPION (USA def. Austria 2-1)

1. Lester Sack, New Orleans, Captain

2. King van Nostrand, Vero Beach, Fla.
3. Gordon Hammes, Naples, Fla.

4. Jerald Hayes, Westfield, Ind.

Men’s 85 Team Cup – Men’s 85 & over – Result: CHAMPION (USA def. Canada 2-1)

1. John D. Powless, Madison, Wisc., Captain

2. George J. McCabe, Oxford, Ohio

3.  Joseph Russell, Chagrin Falls, Ohio

4. Clement Hopp, Sarasota, Fla.

 

Kitty Godfree Cup – Women’s 65 & over – Result: CHAMPION (USA def. Austria 2-1)

1. Tina Karwasky, Glendale, Calif. 

2.  Wendy McClosky, Durham, N.C.

3.  Molly Hahn, Belmont, Mass., Captain

4.  Victoria McEvoy, Cambridge, Mass.

 

Althea Gibson Cup – Women’s 70 & over – Result: CHAMPION (USA def. Netherlands 2-1)

1.  Brenda Carter, Charleston, S.C., Captain
2. Carol Clay, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
3.  Leslie Pixley, Malvern, Pa.
4.  Susan Kimball, Oak Bluffs, Mass.

 

Queens’ Cup – Women’s 75 & over – Result: CHAMPION (USA def. Great Britain 2-1)

1. Charleen Hillebrand, Harbor City, Calif.
2. Cathie Anderson, Del Mar, Calif.
3. Suella Steel, La Jolla, Calif., Captain
4. Susanne Clark, New City, N.Y.

 

Doris Hart Cup – Women’s 80 & over – Result: CHAMPION (USA def. Canada 2-1)

1. Roz King, San Diego, Calif.
2. Doris DeVries, Reno, Nev.
3. Carol Wood, Rockville, Md., Captain
4. Burnette Herrick, Tarboro, N.C.

 

Tennis fans and players can read more about senior tennis in the new book “Sport of a Lifetime – Enduring Personal Stories From Tennis” written by long-time tennis enthusiast Judy Aydelott.

Featuring enriching and motivational stories about those who love and participate in tennis over the age of 35, “Sport of a Lifetime” is a volume of senior tennis through the stories and experiences of players from across the tennis spectrum – from late bloomers to seasoned champions. The book features 28 chapters of personal stories, including those of high profile players and personalities such as three-time Wimbledon champion John Newcombe, current U.S. Tennis Association and former WTA Tour player Katrina Adams and former New York City Mayor David Dinkins, as well as little-known but inspiring players such as Tony Franco, who has won 44 USTA national championships since age 75, and Betty Eisenstein, who won tournament titles into her 90s.

The book also features one of the last interviews ever given by International Tennis Hall of Famer and celebrated senior tennis champion Gardnar Mulloy before his death in 2016 as well as the riveting story of how Fred Kovaleski balanced playing international tennis while being a spy for the Central Intelligence Agency.

“Sport of a Lifetime” is available for sale and download wherever books are sold, including here on Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1937559645/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_x_s7AizbEES0ZD3

Aydelott, a resident of Katonah, N.Y., is a graduate of Abbot Academy in Andover Mass., from Smith College and from Pace University School of Law. She became a trial attorney in the field of medical malpractice, a legal analyst for Court TV, a candidate for U.S. Congress in 2006 and a director of a NYS chartered commercial bank. A tennis late-comer starting in her twenties, Aydelott is married to former Dartmouth tennis standout Gordon Aydelott and also documents their personal story of her and her husband’s life and passion for tennis in the book.

Said 2017 International Tennis Hall of Fame inductee and author of “The Greatest Tennis Matches of All Time” Steve Flink, “Here is a book that must be read by everyone who celebrates the best of all lifetime sports. Judy Aydelott has reached out to both renowned players and those who are less well known, and the common thread that runs across the pages is the enduring passion they all have for tennis. Yet Aydelott’s superb and poignant book transcends tennis; it is equally about the larger game of life.”

Analyzing Time of Match Between Djokovic-Nadal

by Matthew Laird

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic contested their third consecutive Grand Slam final at the recently concluded 2012 Australian Open. It was by a wide margin their most competitive and exciting meeting at this stage. There was a great deal of high drama, multiple swings in momentum, and no shortage of stellar shot-making from both players. It was an epic match and will surely be remembered among the most exciting Grand Slam finals of all time. The match also had its place in history assured because it shattered the previous record for the longest Grand Slam final of all time, breaking the previous record set by Mats Wilander and Ivan Lendl at the 1988 US Open by nearly an hour.*

It should come as no surprise that the length of the Nadal-Djokovic final, which was seven minutes short of six hours, was not due entirely to the quality of play. Both Nadal and Djokovic are known for their pace of play, which is – not to put too fine a point on it – quite slow. There has been a great deal of discussion recently about the amount of time taken between points, and Nadal and Djokovic are usually at the center of these complaints.

For anyone who may not be aware, there is a rule in both the ITF and the ATP rulebooks that states “play shall be continuous” and that limits the amount of time a server should be allowed between the end of one point and the beginning of the next to either 20 or 25 seconds, depending on which set of rules is being followed during the match (Grand Slam matches take place under ITF auspices). Both Nadal and Djokovic routinely go over this time constraint.

It is difficult for a casual tennis observer to try to figure out whether or not these delays are truly egregious, because the amount of statistical data that we have easy access to is severely limited. We cannot see precisely how much time is expended by each player in between points, how long points take on average, or any number of other stats that would be useful in trying to parse the seriousness of these concerns.

I’ve come up with a simple, blunt method of estimating the amount of time taken between points, using only data that’s available on either the ATP or Australian Open websites. To find the average length of a point, just take the match length and divide it by the total number of points. Granted, this includes the amount of time that the ball was actually in play in addition to the time taken in between points, so it is not as sophisticated a measurement as I would prefer, but it is the best method that I could come up with, given the information available.

Given that there were 369 points played over 5 hours and 54 minutes, the average length of each point in the Nadal-Djokovic final was 57.4 seconds – nearly a minute per point played. This is the longest amount of time per point for any Grand Slam final since the ATP started keeping track of these statistics. To fully understand whether or not that is an unusual stat, more historical data is necessary.

Prior to 2009, the seven slowest finals had all taken place at the French Open, which is as it should be, considering the court conditions at Roland Garros lead to more long, drawn-out rallies than at the other majors. The slowest-played finals up to that point were Nadal-Federer in 2006 and Kuerten-Corretja in 2001, which both took about 47 seconds per point. The fastest-played finals have been at Wimbledon (again, no surprise there), where Sampras-Becker in 1995 took 29 seconds for each point, Agassi-Ivanisevic in 1992 took 27, and Sampras-Ivanisevic in 1998 took 25.5 seconds.

The trend over the last twenty years has generally been towards slower matches. This is partly because the serve-and-volley game has become significantly less common, so that almost all points are decided by baseline rallies, which necessarily take up more time. But I don’t think that fully explains the extent to which the pace of play has dropped.

While the most recent Grand Slam final was the slowest-played on record, it is important to note that the top six slowest are also the six most recent. The 2011 Djokovic-Nadal US Open took 56 seconds per point, their 2010 US Open meeting took 52.4, the 2011 Australian Open between Djokovic and Murray took 51.8, the 2011 Djokovic-Nadal final at Wimbledon took 50.2, and the 2011 French Open between Nadal and Federer took 48 seconds for each point.

Before the 2010 US Open, no Grand Slam final had been ever played at a pace of 50 seconds per point or slower. Since then, all of them except one have. That one involved Roger Federer, who is a very quick player and was able to bring the average down, even though he was playing on the red clay of Roland Garros. The other five finals all involved Djokovic, Nadal, and Andy Murray, all of whom take their time between points.

In all of these finals, there were many long, grinding rallies. All three of the players I just mentioned are fantastic defenders, but I have trouble believing that the rallies in all of these recent finals were so historically lengthy, on average, that they should be solely responsible for the unprecedented slow pace of the last half-dozen Grand Slam finals. It has to come down to the amount of time that these players are taking in between points.

I do not recall a single instance in the final of the umpire giving either Nadal or Djokovic a warning about taking too much time. Honestly, I can’t remember that happening in any of the six most recent finals. This is not a situation like what is happening with grunting in the women’s game, where people are saying that there ought to be a rule to deal with this behavior. There is a rule, it’s just being ignored.

There are some commentators (like Sports Illustrated’s Jon Wertheim) who find the pace of play on the men’s side to be as frustrating as the grunting or shrieking on the women’s side. I think there’s an argument to be made that the time limit as it currently stands is no longer appropriate. The game has gotten significantly more athletically-demanding in the last ten or fifteen years, so perhaps players do need more recovery time between points. However, I do think that the ATP and the ITF should either change the rule or enforce it, because simply ignoring it because the game’s top players flout it so consistently is not an appropriate response.

Novak Djokovic and Petra Kvitova: The Big Winners of 2011

Who could ever doubt that Novak Djokovic wasn’t going to be named ITF World Champion. With an almost perfect 2011 winning three Grand Slam titles and seven other titles Djokovic is the rightful winner by all standards. Next to the seven titles, Djokovic also bags $12.6 million in prize money. He won even more than Rafael Nadal did in 2010 and Roger Federer in 2007.  Djokovic amazing season  is one for the best sports books!

“Starting with victory in last year’s Davis Cup final, this has been an almost perfect 12 months for me,” Djokovic said. “I have always dreamed about becoming the best in the world, and to have won three Grand Slam titles and finished the year as No. 1 is very special.”

I have to say that I am equally impressed with best newcomer Petra Kvitova. She came, she saw and took Wimbledon right from under Maria Sharapova’s grasp. Well that is not true…Sharapova really never stood a chance in that Wimbledon final.

Kvitova has won Wimbledon, the prestigious year end championships in Istanbul and the Fed Cup for the Czech Republic. What better way to end the 2011 season with this prestigious award for a prestigious season.

“I will cherish this award, which is the cherry on top of a wonderful year,” said the 21-year-old Kvitova, who edged out top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki – last year’s champion – in the voting.

The ITF President, Francesco Ricci Bitti, praised the two for their achievements.

“Novak’s achievements this year are remarkable in such a strong era for men’s tennis, while Petra has made a major breakthrough on the women’s tour.”

Other awards were given out to Kveta Peschke of the Czech Republic and Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia for their efforts in women’s doubles.

All of them will receive the award at the ITF Champions Award dinner in June 2012.