The Association of Tennis Professionals
Read about the history of the ATP, it’s origins and how it progressed to what it is today
The Association of Tennis Professionals
The Association of Tennis Professionals, the ATP, was founded in 1972 by former tennis players Cliff Drysdale, Jack Kramer and Donald Dell. This association was created in order to protect the interests of male professional tennis players, with Drysdale becoming the first president of the ATP.
Like the Women’s Tour (WTA), the ATP had it’s share of rebellion against the reigning International Lawn Tennis Federation. In 1973 Nikola Pillic was suspended for nine months for refusing to play in a Davis Cup tie for his country. The suspension meant that Pillic would be unable to participate in the Wimbledon Championship that year. The ATP did not approve of this and managed to officially boycott the tournament, with a total of 81 players not competing at Wimbledon in 1973. These included the reigning champion, Stan Smith, and 13 of the 16 seeded players. Ilie Nastase, Roger Taylor and Ray Keldie defied the boycott and were subsequently fined by the ATP’s disciplinary committee.
As time went on, the lack of player representation within the Men’s International Professional Tennis Council led to a player mutiny at the end of the 1980’s. This was also down to the players unhappiness at how Tennis was marketed and run by the people in charge. On the 30th August 1988, CEO Hamilton Jordan announced that the ATP would be breaking away from the MIPTC and starting up its own tour from 1990 onwards. The calendar for this new tour was announced early in 1989 and by 1991 the ATP Tour had their first TV deal which would mean 19 tournaments being broadcast internationally. The first ever ATP Tour website was up and running in 1995 and that was quickly followed by a huge sponsorship deal with Mercedes-Benz. There were more lawsuits in 2008, about pretty much the same problems, and the tour was again restructured.
The ATP consist of 62 tournaments spread across 31 countries. They organize a grand championship every year called the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, held in London, where the top eight men with the most accumulated points in the year compete for the title.
The ATP Ranking system
Originally created by Jack Kramer in 1974, the Association of Tennis Professionals runs on a cumulative points ranking system, which is a rolling points system running over the course of a year. The maximum amount of tournaments that contribute to a player’s ATP Ranking is nineteen, consisting of 4 Grand Slams, 8 Masters 1000 events, 6 Masters 500/250 events and the ATP World Tour Final. Some of these events are compulsory meaning that players must be available to play in these competitions in order to prevent possible loss of their ranking. The ATP ranking suystem awards points differently according to what tournament is being played, for example, a Grand Slam win is worth more points than a Masters tournament victory.
2016 ATP TOUR INFORMATION
The 2016 ATP World Tour is the 47th edition and will get underway on 4th January. It will run until 27th November and consists of 69 tournaments played in several different countries all over the world. These tournaments consist of four Grand Slams, nine Masters 1000 events, 13 ATP 500 events, 39 ATP 250 events, the ATP World Tour Finals and the Summer Olympic Games in Rio. The Hopman Cup is also part of the tour, but is run by the ITF and doesn’t give out ranking points.
Novak Djokovic will start the season as the ATP number one ranked player, with a sizeable points advantage over the chasing pack. The other top four ranked players are Andy Murray, Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka. A resurgent Rafael Nadal will be looking to climb back up the rankings as well as a few new kids on the block that will be determined to make an impact. Djokovic reached 15 Finals in the 16 tournaments he took part in last season and won 11 titles, which is widely considered as the most successful singles season ever.
He will attempt to win even more titles in 2016 in what is sure to be a season filled with excitement, surprises and great matches between the best male tennis players in the world.