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Gaming the new Transition Tour will be risky for aspiring tennis professionals

By Editorial Team

In March 2017, the ITF announced reforms to entry-level professional tennis including the introduction in 2019 of a transition tour.

According to itftennis.com, “The aims of the reforms are to provide a clearer and more effective pathway from the Junior Circuit to the Pro Circuit and to ensure that prize money at ITF Pro Circuit tournaments is better targeted to potentially enable more players to make a living from the professional game.” However, it is the opinion of most that this “pathway” is made by weeding out (or cutting) the bottom percentile players from participating in WTA/ATP Tour events.

The ITF mentioned that the new tournament structure will enable the ATP/WTA players to make a real living from prize money on tour. The pro tour would be able to fully support approximately 750 active players as they compete in events that span over only 7 days enabling them to play more tournaments on a weekly basis with little or no overlap.

Direct entries are based on ATP/WTA rankings and ITF Pro rankings with the allowance for wild cards and also the direct entry of the highest ranked Top 100 juniors. This allows for more junior participation into professional tennis.

Starting in 2019, all $15k events will be considered the Transition Tour and $25k to $100k+ events are ATP/WTA Tour events that count toward a player’s pro tour ranking.

Those lower ranked junior players going into the 2019 season with no WTA/WTA/ITF Pro ranking will be in for a bumpy ride as they will have to make it through the Transition Tour prior to working toward a ATP/WTA Tour ranking. This season was filled with anxiety as junior players in particular worked frantically to accumulate enough points to at least meet the new pro tennis requirements to play $25k tournaments.

It is estimated that the new cutoff will be a top 750 ranking to at least ensure direct entry into either main draw or qualifying rounds. In addition, a pro tour ranking will be given to players who compete in at least 3 ITF Pro events and earn 3 points during play.

A computer algorithm tracks player points and uses the best ranking (ITF Pro or ATP/WTA ranking) to automatically determine who gets direct acceptance into the draws.

The only real strategy for young aspiring professionals looking to enter tennis super stardom is to win at the $15k tournament level. Its a simple strategy that obviously only a few select can achieve, but it is the only way to ensure advancement to the next level. Players on the border line of 750 ranking will battle against unranked players to earn the right to advance into the $25k and above events.

There are petitions spreading across the tour (with 2,000 signatures as of July 2018) , but to no avail as the Transition Tour will be rolling out regardless of the push-back.

 

 

The new Transition Tour will be competitive and boil down to wins/loses rather than favor with local tournament directors. Rather, rankings and points will end up ruling the day. Prospective pro tour players should not overthink the process here. If so, they could miss critical opportunities to compete and earn points for advancement. The only way to ensure success is preparation, training, good coaching and a willingness to play multiple $15k tournaments over an entire 12 month season.

For more info check out the ITF videos below further explaining the Transition Tour and its application to ATP/WTA Tour level events.

 

Transition Tour for Male Players:

Transition Tour for Female Players:  

 

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Pro Tour

Serena eager for rematch against Osaka

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By Editorial Team

Serena Williams made light work of Dayana Yastremska 6-2, 6-1 today and has been able to cruise through the draw with little opposition. Now the temperature turns up for Serena as she faces top seeded Simona Halep in the round of 16 after she defeated her older sister Venus in straight sets today.

This R16 match well give onlookers a glimpse into the psyche of Serena after last year’s US Open outburst that ultimately resulted in her losing the final match. Serena will have to play well while also keeping her emotions in check, but history shows that Simona has not been a challenge with eight wins and only one loss against the Romanian.

The past success and confidence should push Serena onto the next heavyweight match-up with Naomi Osaka in the semifinals assuming both players are able to surpass big tests along the way. Naomi must get past a streaky Madison Keys and 13 seed Sevastova in tomorrow’s competition.

Fans across the globe are expecting to see a rematch to see if Serena can put an end to the two match losing streak against the young and talented Osaka. Expect a ton of fireworks in the top half of the draw as the 2019 Australian Open moves into the second week. In addition to another AO title, Serena seeks her 24th grand slam win to make tennis history. Its safe to say that a lot is riding on the next few days for Serena.

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Pro Tour

Tiafoe fights Dimitrov for AO Quarterfinals

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By Editorial Team

Frances Tiafoe battled his way into the round of 16 after defeating an ailing Kevin Anderson in four sets and edging out Andrea Seppi in strong fashion at the 2019 Australian Open. Frances was able to dig deep in his first round match against Kevin, and that confidence carried over into the second round giving him the edge to pull out a five set victory against Andreas 6-7, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.

Frances’ road to the second week of play does not get any easier as he now faces the well rested and fine tuned 20th seed, Grigor Dimitrov. The last time these two met it was a grind to the finish as Grigor was able to hold off Frances 7-6 in the third set in the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Canada round of 16.

Frances’ game matches up well against Grigor, but he’ll have to match his intensity to continue to pull out consecutive wins over top 20 players. If Frances is able to maintain this high level of play and swing with confidence from both sides of the court anything is possible. For Frances its about maintaining his energy and keeping up his positive momentum as Grigor tries to sprint out to a big lead early in the match. Mental toughness will be the key against the battle tested 20th seed.

Last season ended on a sour note for Frances as he failed to win big matches following a disappointing early round US Open loss. It now seems as if he transitioned coaches and has brought on more close knit family into his camp enabling him to feel more comfortable and play freely. With a few more top wins in January, Frances will be able to get better draws, go on deeper runs in major events and ultimately propel himself into the top 20 this season.

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Pro Tour

AO Women’s draw favors top seeds

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By Editorial Team

With Serena winning comfortably today over Tatjana Maria 6-0, 6-2 the draw has become more top heavy than expected. Serena is also the favorite against Eugenie Bouchard on Wednesday who has been on a winning streak with good results over the last 5 months. Her older sister Venus was able to escape an early upset today by being patient with the talented veteran Mihaela Buzarnescu to cross the finish line 6-2 in the third and final set.

Madison Keys took out the young Australian upstart Destanee Aiava 6-2, 6-2 in the first round of play and now faces Anastasia Potapova on Wednesday for a spot in the round of 32. Madison is in top form and should be able to take advantage of her weaker section of the draw.

Its clear skies and smooth sailing for Osaka and Stephens as they both were able to move past their opponents in a graceful fashion. They both play lesser know and lower ranked players as they are blessed with favorable draws.

However, Sachia Vickery has yet another challenge after defeating Ysaline Bonaventure yesterday 2-6, 6-4, 6-4. Sachia appears to have overcome her negative self-talk and willing herself into winning tennis this year as she showed a ton of patience and determination in getting past her first round hurdle. Now she must pull herself together once again to battle top American Danielle Collins in what could be competitive match assuming Sachia is able to hold up physically in the extremely hot conditions. Sore knees have also been a major issue for Sachia, but there have not been any signs of injury thus far in the AO.

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