2021 is set to be a landmark year for the Seniors Circuit. The ITF has announced a series of measures designed to make seniors tennis the world’s leading sport in terms of participation for players aged 35 and over.
68% of Seniors Circuit events globally were held in Europe in 2019 (a total of 341 tournaments), and the new innovations are also designed to have a positive impact on the player experience for the 16,000 annual competitors from Europe.
A new tournament grading structure will be implemented, replacing the current Grade A to Grade 4 events. Instead, tournaments will be given a number ranking from 100 to 1000, representing the ranking points available to the winner.
The ITF Seniors 1000 events will be a new category aimed at elite players in each age group. These events will offer a greater value of ranking points, relative to the points available at the World Championships, which remain the highlight of the season and the highest grade on the circuit.
Four further grades will ensure better competition for players of different standards. Entry-level tournaments (ITF Seniors 100) are designed to provide more competitive opportunities and appropriate tournament formats for the huge number of players who already compete, while also attracting new tournaments and players to the circuit.
Tournaments set to take place from January to June 2021 will receive their new grading by 31st July, 2020. The new ranking tables will be implemented in 2021.
A Tournament Recognition Scheme will also be introduced to help players identify the events with best levels of player satisfaction. These will be highlighted on the ITF Seniors calendar.
For further information, please visit the ITF site.
Update: 31.07.2020 - The ITF has confirmed that two new age categories - Over 30s and Over 90s - will be introduced in 2021. Each category will have its own ranking list and both will be incoporated to ITF World Championship events.