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The new ATP project to reform tennis

Much has been said about the viability of tennis as a profession in the ranks, let alone the top 100 in the world, but from there. It is evident that the ATP circuit It is solid enough but the next step, the Challenger Tour, leaves much to be desired and problems arise for players who have to earn a living with their passion but without full financial peace of mind. The top leader of the ATP, the Italian Andrea Gaudenzi, has given an interview where he reveals some of the great traces where they want tennis to go in these coming years, influencing the strengthening of the Challenger circuit, a new formula of prize money and enabling more players to earn a living from professional tennis.

Strengthen the Challenger Circuit

“You have to start by making it clear that for us the Challenger Tour is vital to the success of tennis. It is the path to the ATP circuit without which our sport could not prosper. I know first-hand how difficult that level of tennis is and that is that I have played many Challengers during my career, I have absolute respect for the players and tournament promoters at that level, who work extremely hard.

It is true that tennis is not on the same level as other sports such as soccer, football or basketball in terms of the number of athletes supported financially. Improving financial viability at the lower levels of tennis requires better promotion and better redistribution of elite-generated profits. This issue is absolutely a priority for the ATP. The Challenger circuit has been sustainable for more than 30 years, so I am convinced that they will produce remarkable improvements, including improvements in the earnings of tennis players.

In a standard year, the Challenger circuit hosts about 150 tournaments that offer prize money of around $ 12 million. It is more than enough, but very few players live at this level of tennis. The different levels of tennis must come together to ensure that growth is redistributed from the top of our sport to the lowest levels. “

The ATP does not feed only the top of tennis

“If you look at the last two years, you will see that this is not the case. The pandemic caused financial problems never seen before, and it has been the main players who have suffered most clearly reductions in the prizes in the tournaments if we look at the later rounds. Top players on the ATP Council deserve a lot of credit for supporting all of this, on the contrary, we have protected the early rounds and the run-ups, while investing heavily in the Challenger circuit to ensure that opportunities to play are maintained for all.

Players between 100 and 200 earned on average 14% more than prize money in 2021 than in 2019, before the pandemic. Up to 147 tournaments took place on the Challenger circuit, just 11 tournaments down from 2019. These numbers clearly demonstrate support for the different levels of tennis. “

The new formula for prize money

“Our goal is clear: Align the interests of our players and the tournaments in a fair and transparent way. It means that when one of the two parties is successful, the other also. We are starting to implement a new model of prize money at the Masters 1000. Tournament profits that exceed the prizes at that time will be shared 50-50 between the tournament and the players, contributing towards a new extra amount that will be paid to the players at the end of each year.

The great keys to a greater prize money

“First of all, we have to put the fans first. We have to provide the fans with a better experience by centralizing our products and collecting them in the same market. Another element is the growth of the players’ brands. We need the fans to know and care more about the history of the players. This entails more marketing, media, content production and technology. We must bet on much content beyond the tennis courts, to serve young fans on social networks and platforms digital sites, where they all converge and create greater expectations for the new tennis superstars. “

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