Gaming the new Transition Tour will be risky for aspiring tennis professionals – Black Tennis Magazine | News & Media
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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

Gauff seeks Wimbledon title NOW at age 15

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By Editorial Team

Cori “CoCo” Gauff has taken the WTA Tour by storm after qualifying for the main draw and later shredding the competition to reach the round of 16.

After a shocking first round win against Venus Williams 6-4, 6-4, Cori was able to avoid some heavyweights along the way. 10th seeded Aryna Sabalenka was outed by Rybarikova and Madison Keys got outplayed by Hercog just in time for Cori to take full advantage.

Its safe to say that Cori would have had a hard time defeating three heavyweights consecutively. However, considering her fortune of outstanding play and unwavering confidence, it is not out of the question to assume that Cori could have willed herself to defeat Keys and Sabalenka.

Now with the first week behind her and history in the books, Cori is set to face former number one Simona Halep. Simona remains to be deadly force on the WTA Tour as last year’s French Open champion.

This is the first encounter between these two, but Simona does not have a Wimbledon title and she did lose in the 3rd round last year. Cori has been able to recover quickly from big emotional wins and regain her focus. She must be able to put such a great week behind her and compete against one of the Tour’s best on Monday.

The odds favor Simona given her experience, but a wildcard for Cori remains as heart and sheer determination can’t be measured.

The keys for Cori are to simply attack the net while maintaining a high first serve percentage. If there is pressure early on in the match Simona could lose the momentum and crowd support. If the match swings in favor of Cori and she is able to win this match her chances of advancing further is tremendous with 2nd seeded Osaka out early.

In response to the whirlwind success her Dad, Corey Gauff, stated,

“I thought we’d be home celebrating the fourth of July. When she plays Simona, that’s going to be her seventh match in the two weeks, but I’m happy. I’m saying, to win a (grand slam) tournament you have to get to the seventh match so in my mind we’ve gotten to the seventh match.”

Wimbledon

A grand slam title is not the question for Cori, but when. She is certainly the next generation in women’s tennis and also a huge motivation for junior tennis players across the globe.

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Battle of the ages: Venus vs. CoCo

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By Editorial Team

In addition to becoming the youngest player to enter the main draw of Wimbledon via qualifying, Cori “CoCo” Gauff has earned a prim-time match-up against one of the greatest grass court players of all time in the first round of play.

This match is not only a first, but also a sharp contrast of current generation talent versus veteran grand slam champion. Venus just turned 39 this month and must now face the 15 year old dynamo that goes by CoCo making this a true battle of the ages. Ironically, as in a Hollywood movie, these two are respectively the oldest and youngest players in the tournament.

Venus can sure respect Cori’s hustle in advancing her career at the ripe age of 15. Venus shares a similar start, but was able to win 5 Wimbledon titles with the last win in 2008.

Coming off of a great 2017 season, Venus (unseeded this year) has struggled lately with injuries and fatigue late in matches. This year has not rolled out favorably for Venus after several on-off coaching relationships and hitting partners. Taking on a more independent role of seasoned veteran, Venus is going at it alone on tour. She has a strong management team in place, but they appear to be more assistants than highly experienced coaches giving her instruction.

In contrast, Cori has a tight-knit team around her not to mention her father as head coach. There have been several assistants offering advice, but Corey remains the largest influence on Cori’s progress.

Progress is exactly what they have made – and in short record time. Just last year Cori was making her way toward the Roehamption Championship title as the world’s number one ranked junior. It seems as if Cori has a trusting relationship with her Dad and is able to take constructive criticism in stride. Hard work has been Cori’s mantra since the beginning of her junior career, and that hard work and preparation has landed her here at Wimbledon with a main draw match against Venus Williams.

The odds heavily favor Venus, but nothing is out of the question for Cori. Given the fact that she has played each qualifying round with a “nothing to lose” attitude, it can only be assumed that she will continue to do the same in her first round match.

The big stage is also a factor as Cori has not played on such a large WTA Tour center court yet in her career. This will definitely be a learning experience for Cori. It may be a little ambitious to expect Cori to figure out the atmosphere and surroundings all within a 2 out of 3 match. Cori is undefeated at Roehamption (ITF Juniors and WTA Qualifying), but it remains to be seen if she can muster a win against a declining, but a still very capable Venus Williams on her favorite surface.

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Pro Tour

Gauff reaches for “the bag” in Final Wimbledon Qualifying

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By Editorial Team

Cori “CoCo” Gauff made her way into the Wimbledon qualifying final by shredding the number one seeded Aliona Bolsova 6-3, 6-4 in the first round.

Cori did not have much time to prepare for the grass courts due to the late notice in receiving the wildcard. Many travel plans had to be shifted including school studies. It was a common thread in regards to the last minute timing of Wimbledon announcing the wildcards.

However, it did not take Cori much time to get adjusted since the 2018 Junior Championships where she crashed out early after winning the Junior French Open.

The match up against Aliona couldn’t have been any better for Cori’s attacking style. She was able to push the slower Spaniard around the court and use her athletic ability to on the faster court surface.

The following round against Ivakhenko was no different as Cori overpowered her and was able to shorten the points to win easily 6-2, 6-3.

Tomorrow’s final qualifying round will give Cori an opportunity to showcase her talent and also give her a spot in the main draw to test her skill against the world’s best. However, the world #129, Greet Minnen, will not go down easily. These two has never played on tour, but Cori will definitely have to bring her “A Game” and compete well to win.

As of today Cori is undefeated at the Bank of England Sports Centre in Roehamption and will fight to the end to keep her winning streak alive as she reaches for another big payday ($57,136) as a main draw participant.

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