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Tennis News • ATP announces rankings update, new format covers 22 months instead of 12

The ATP announced, rankings will now be based on results spanning a 22-month period.



By Ricky Dimon

Ever since professional tennis shut down amidst the coronavirus crisis back in mid-March, speculation over the rankings has been running rampant. How would the ATP Tour handle such a long break? Would the rankings be frozen for as long as tennis was gone? Would players just lose their points from a tournament that was played in 2019 but not in 2020?

That speculation is finally no more.

The ATP announced its plan earlier this week, and the rankings will now be based on results spanning a 22-month period instead of a traditional one-year period. Those 22 months range from March of 2019 through December of 2020.

Players will still count their “Best 18” results (all four Grand Slams, all nine Masters 1000 events, and their five best 500-level and 250-level tournaments), but now those 18 results will come from a pool of 22 months instead of 12 months. One especially key point is that players will be unable count the same tournament twice. For example, even if Rafael Nadal wins the U.S. Open again this year he will not gain any points. He can count just one of those 2,000-point grab-bags. If Daniil Medvedev triumphs at the 2020 U.S. Open, he will gain 1,000 points. His 2,000 champions points would be added, but his 1,000 points from last year’s runner-up showing would be replaced. In 2021, points will drop based on when the tournament at which they were acquired is played–as had been the case in the past.

The ATP stated its reasoning for the rankings decision:

“• Provide flexibility & fairness to players across all levels in parallel with the condensed number of points available as part of the revised provisional 2020 calendar.
• Provide stability for players who cannot or prefer not to compete in 2020 due to health & safety.
• Provide a system that can adapt to further changes in the calendar if necessary.
• Reward players who perform well following the resumption of the Tour in 2020.
• Retain the principle of defending tournament points week by week in 2021, maintaining player mobility in the rankings.”

Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece poses with his trophy after winning the final match against Dominic Thiem of Austria at the ATP World Tour Finals tennis tournament in London, Britain, 17 November 2019.

Interestingly, the revised rankings will determine the 2020 Nitto ATP Finals participants–if the year-end championship is even held, of course. That means points acquired dating back to March of 2019 can be factored in even though under normal circumstances this would be just a 2020 race.

Ricky contributes to10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.