ITF Announces Changes to Senior Circuit for 2020, 2021
August 22, 2019
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has announced a series of improvements to the ITF Seniors Circuit for 2020 and 2021 following the publication of the 2019-2021 ITF Seniors Strategic Development Plan in January this year.
The changes are motivated by the ITF’s mission to make seniors tennis the leading competitive sport for participants aged 35 and over and to increase the number of players, nations and tournaments on the ITF Seniors Circuit from 2020 onwards.
More than 25,000 players between the ages of 35 and 95 currently compete on the ITF Seniors Circuit on an annual basis, with more than 400 tournaments taking place around the world. The ITF Seniors World Team and Individual Championships (in Young Seniors, Seniors and Super-Seniors categories) remain a highlight in the season. Over 800 players representing 48 nations competed in the ITF Seniors World Team and Individual Championships (covering age categories from 50+ to 60+) in Portugal earlier this month.
Among the most important improvements to the circuit are revisions to entry-level tournaments (Grade 4) to provide a greater number of competitive opportunities and appropriate formats, designed both to cater for the huge number of players who already compete and to attract new players to the circuit.
Additionally, a new tier of tournaments will be introduced in 2021 to provide more frequent, high-quality events for elite players. The new level will sit just below the World Championships in terms of prestige and ranking points on offer.
Overall, the number of different grades of competition will reduce to six by 2021 providing a simplified structure for the circuit.
Other improvements from 2020 will include:
The ITF Seniors Committee, ITF Seniors Player Advisory Panel and ITF Seniors Tournament Director and Referee Panel were all consulted during the process and approved the improvements.
Matt Byford, Manager, ITF Seniors, said: “The ITF is excited for the future of Seniors Tennis and remains committed to our mission of making Seniors Tennis the leading competitive sport in terms of participation for those aged 35 and over. These changes are designed to enhance the sport and help achieve our objectives. We look forward to working with our players and member nations to grow the number of tournaments and to encourage more players to enjoy the many benefits of competing in ITF Seniors tournaments.”
Ross Duncan, ITF Seniors Player Advisory Panel Member, said: “I am beyond excited about the recent changes the ITF have made to re-structuring ITF Seniors Tennis from 2020 onwards. A lot of careful thought went into the changes with the players’ needs being at the forefront. I am confident that these changes will continue to grow the Seniors game that we all love so much.”
Carmen Perea, ITF Seniors Tournament Director & Referee Panel Member, said: “The changes the ITF is looking to make are very positive. To name just some of them: reinforce doubles events, ranking points for consolation events, IPIN fee changes and better control of tournament entry fees. All this will facilitate the greater participation of players and help the organisation of ITF Seniors tournaments, especially at Grade 3 and 4.”
All details regarding today’s announcement for Seniors Tennis can be found on the ITF website.