The ATP has announced a package of measures to support players and tournaments under continued COVID-19 conditions.
The package covers a range of areas including prize money at ATP 250 and ATP 500 events, and an update to the FedEx ATP Rankings system. It also introduces a new COVID-19 Protected Ranking provision to give players further security in the current environment, and an update to the number of player support team allowances on-site at events.
PRIZE MONEY LEVELS (ATP 250 & ATP 500) & BONUS POOL
Between the Australian Open and Wimbledon, minimum prize money levels for ATP 250 and ATP 500 tournaments will be raised to 80% and 60% respectively, from 50%.
Increases, which equate to a maximum expenditure of $5.2m, will be primarily funded through a redistribution of part of the ATP Bonus Pool, ordinarily distributed to the Top 12 eligible players at the end of the season. Redistribution of the funds has come with the support of the ATP Player Council, including Top 10 representatives Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Andrea Gaudenzi, ATP Chairman, said: “Our tournaments’ revenues continue to be severely impacted by restrictions on ticket sales, and a substantial improvement on this front looks unlikely before mid-year. Our focus is to ensure the Tour continues supporting as many players as possible and I would like to thank the top-ranked players and the Player Council for supporting this measure, which will help improve conditions for the larger player group over the coming months.”
FEDEX ATP RANKINGS UPDATE
The ATP has extended the ‘Best Of’ logic for the FedEx ATP Rankings through the week of 9 August 2021 (inclusive of Toronto). Results from all events between 4 March – 5 August 2019, which were not played in 2020, will be extended a further 52 weeks and weighted at 50%. This reduction will occur at the originally designated drop date for each event and the ‘Best Of’ logic will only count the better of a player’s two scores from the same tour-level event.
For example, a player will be able to count either 50% of his 2019 Madrid result, or 100% of his 2021 Madrid result, whichever is greater, for the next 52 weeks.
Results from rescheduled 2020 events (Kitzbühel, Hamburg, Rome & Roland Garros) will also be included for an additional 52 weeks at 50% from their originally scheduled drop date and be compared against the 2021 event in a ‘Best Of’ logic. The 2019 edition of these four events will drop from the rankings as per their currently scheduled drop date.
In 2021, all results prior to Wimbledon will be counted as ‘Best of Other’ in a player’s rankings breakdown, with a review of subsequent events to follow. Automatic entry and commitment rules for the ATP Masters 1000s continue to apply with respect to eligibility for the ATP Bonus Pool.
At this time, it is anticipated that the rankings will resume with points dropping off on 52-week basis beginning 16 August 2021 (Cincinnati). Providing no further changes are made, this means that a traditional ranking, incorporating only results from the previous 52 weeks, will apply again on 15 August 2022.
The decision to retain 50% of points earned in 2019 during the period corresponding to the 2020 suspension, aims to provide players a measure of security in months ahead while travel restrictions and stringent health & safety measures continue to apply.
COVID-19 PROTECTED RANKING
Players who are out of competition for four consecutive weeks will be eligible for a COVID-19 Protected Ranking. This measure is designed to allow players greater flexibility in their scheduling without having a negative impact on their ability to enter future tournaments.
Eligible players will be granted four entry opportunities, excluding Grand Slams and/or the Olympic Games, using their ‘frozen’ ranking. Players will only be able to use their COVID-19 Protected Ranking for entry into as many ATP Masters 1000 events as they missed during their time away from competition.
As part of an ongoing review of on-site health and safety protocols, the ATP has worked with tournaments to provide increased Player Support Team (PST) allocations, offered to players on a first-come, first-served basis.
Players have been restricted to +2 support team members at ATP tournaments as part of health & safety protocols implemented since the resumption of the Tour in August 2020. Additional PST members may now be permitted within specific on-site locations and the official hotel, subject to availability and full COVID-19 protocols.
The ATP continues to explore additional measures to provide increased flexibility for players, while continuing to prioritise health and safety.
COVID ISOLATION COSTS
The ATP has allocated up to $10,000 for each ATP Tour and ATP Challenger Tour event in 2021 to cover hotel costs that may arise from additional isolation or quarantine periods, required in the event of positive COVID-19 test results or close contact situations. As such, tournaments and players will be protected against incurring unanticipated costs related to health & safety.