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Tennis Tours Debate Ranking Systems Frozen by the Coronavirus

  • July 04, 2020

For the men, the schedule offers five large events, including two Grand Slam tournaments, in a span of just seven weeks on two continents and two surfaces: hard court and clay.

Veteran stars like Rafael Nadal, 34, and Andy Murray, 33, are understandably skeptical that they can manage all of this, and they are concerned that the ranking system could quickly become skewed.

“It’s not safe for players to go from the semis or final in New York, quarters even, and then you’re playing on the Tuesday in Madrid at altitude on the clay court, when players haven’t competed for a very long time,” Murray said. “You’re going to have the potential where a lot of top players are not competing at many of the biggest events.”

The tours are also trying to help lower-ranked players get chances to accumulate points by adding lower-level tournaments alongside the main tour events.

Both the ATP and WTA considered unfreezing the ranking at the start of 2021 and playing the remainder of the 2020 season without points. But that option was discarded because it would essentially transform tournaments into exhibitions, a prospect rejected by events like the United States Open, which has contractual deals with sponsors and broadcasters that are linked to the tournament’s ranking points.

Another plan that was discarded was having points awarded for the remainder of 2020 that only counted toward qualifying for November’s year-end championships.

That leaves two leading options on the table, both of which would allow some of a player’s ranking points to carry beyond 52 weeks, in an attempt to reduce the impact of re-entry.

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