The ITF has announced a raft of innovations for 2019, aimed at increasing the profile of the ITF Senior Circuit. The sport’s governing body has published a Strategic Plan for 2019-2021, which it will implement in pursuit of its mission of making Senior Tennis the leading sport in terms of player participation.
The ITF hopes that the new plan will lead to a larger and stronger circuit, providing more playing opportunities to players of all ages and strengths.
As part of the process, the ITF is set to explore the creation of the new events and formats, allowing tournament organisers the possibility to stage events with more flexible draws and score formats in order to complete events over shorter time periods. With three-quarters of ITF Senior Circuit players currently participating in 2 events or less each year, the ITF will also introduce a new IPIN fee system which is more beneficial for players that only play a few tournaments each year.
The four main tenets of the Strategic plan are:
- Expansion of Seniors Tennis Circuit
- Improvements to existing Seniors Circuit tournaments
- Renewed focus on marketing, communications and promotion (new Seniors website, new digital services)
- Strengthening of the existing World Championships events
ITF Senior Circuit in Europe
Europe has traditionally been at the centre of the ITF Senior Circuit, with 300 of the 430 events held in 2017 taking place within Tennis Europe’s 50 member nations. Given the goal of improving the global balance of events, the Circuit’s new tournament structure – to be implemented for 2020 – will have some significant consequences for our region.
With regret, and after over 40 years of history, the ITF together with Tennis Europe has taken the decision to change the format of the prestigious European Championships competition. In terms of ranking points, the ITF World Championships will be the highest rated category. Below this, a new Elite Tier tournament series will be introduced, with 1-3 events per region. This will be followed by the well-known major ITF Seniors Circuit events. The previously designated ‘Regional Championship Closed’ (RC) status events – such as the European Championships - will now be open to all players from around the world.
The upcoming edition of the European Senior Championships will be staged in Pörtschach, Austria, from 10-16 June 2019 with the new ‘Open’ format, and is therefore expected to attract many of the best players from around the world.
Further information about forthcoming changes - including a revised rankings system - will be revealed by ITF throughout the 2019 season. To read the ITF’s Strategic Plan summary, click here.