The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) was formed in September 1972 by Donald Dell, Bob Briner, Jack Kramer, and Cliff Drysdale to protect the interests of male professional tennis players. Drysdale became the first President. Since 1990, the association has organized the worldwide tennis tour for men and linked the title of the tour with the organization's name. In 1990 the organization was called the ATP Tour, which was renamed in 2001 as just ATP and the tour being called ATP Tour. In 2009 the name was changed again and is now known as the ATP World Tour. It is an evolution of the tour competitions previously known as Grand Prix tennis tournaments and World Championship Tennis (WCT).
The ATP's global headquarters are in London, United Kingdom. ATP Americas is based in Ponte Vedra Beach, United States; ATP Europe is headquartered in Monaco; and ATP International, which covers Africa, Asia and Australasia, is based in Sydney, Australia.
The counterpart organization in the women's professional game is the Women's Tennis Association (WTA).
|Association of Tennis Professionals|
Ponte Vedra Beach
|Current season: 2018 ATP World Tour|
Started in 1972 by Jack Kramer, Donald Dell, and Cliff Drysdale, it was first managed by Jack Kramer, as Executive Director, and Cliff Drysdale, as President. Jack Kramer created the professional players' rankings system, which started the following year and is still in use. From 1974 to 1989, the men's circuit was administered by a sub-committee called the Men's International Professional Tennis Council (MIPTC). It was made up of representatives of the International Tennis Federation (ITF), the ATP, and tournament directors from around the world. The ATP successfully requested that the MIPTC introduce a drug testing rule, making tennis the first professional sport to institute a drug-testing program.
In May 1973 Nikola Pilić, Yugoslavia's number one tennis player, was suspended by his national lawn tennis association, who claimed he had refused to play in a Davis Cup tie for his country earlier that month. The initial suspension of nine months, supported by the International Lawn Tennis Federation (ILTF), was later reduced by the ILTF to one month which meant that Pilic would not be allowed to play at Wimbledon.
In response the ATP threatened a boycott, stating that if Pilić was not allowed to compete none should. After last-ditch attempts at a compromise failed the ATP voted in favor of a boycott and as a result 81 of the top players, including reigning champion Stan Smith and 13 of the 16 men's seeds, did not compete at the 1973 Wimbledon Championships. Three ATP players, Ilie Năstase, Roger Taylor and Ray Keldie defied the boycott and were fined by the ATP's disciplinary committee.
But the tour was still run by the tournament directors and the ITF. The lack of player representation and influence within the MIPTC as well as dissatisfaction with the way the sport was managed and marketed culminated in a player mutiny in 1988 that changed the entire structure of the tour.
CEO Hamilton Jordan is credited with the Parking Lot Press Conference on 30 August 1988 during which the ATP announced their withdrawal from the MIPTC (then called the MTC) and the creation of their own ATP Tour from 1990 onwards. This re-organisation also ended a lawsuit with Volvo and Donald Dell. On 19 January 1989 the ATP published the Tour calendar for the inaugural 1990 season.
By 1991, the men had their first television package to broadcast 19 tournaments to the world. Coming online with their first website in 1995, this was quickly followed by a multi-year agreement with Mercedes-Benz. Lawsuits in 2008, around virtually the same issues, resulted in a restructured tour.
In 2009, ATP introduced a new tour structure called ATP World Tour consisting of ATP World Tour Masters 1000, ATP World Tour 500, and ATP World Tour 250 tier tournaments. Broadly speaking the Tennis Masters Series tournaments became the new Masters 1000 level and ATP International Series Gold and ATP International Series events became ATP 500 level and 250 level events respectively.
The Masters 1000 tournaments are Indian Wells, Miami, Monte Carlo, Madrid, Rome, Toronto/Montreal, Cincinnati, Shanghai and Paris. The end-of-year event, the ATP Finals, moved from Shanghai to London. Hamburg has been displaced by the new clay court event at Madrid, which is a new combined men's and women's tournament. In 2011, Rome and Cincinnati also became combined tournaments. Severe sanctions are placed on top players skipping the Masters 1000 series events, unless medical proof is presented.
Plans to eliminate Monte Carlo and Hamburg as Masters Series events led to controversy and protests from players as well as organisers. Hamburg and Monte Carlo filed lawsuits against the ATP, and as a concession it was decided that Monte Carlo would remain a Masters 1000 level event, with more prize money and 1000 ranking points, but it would no longer be a compulsory tournament for top-ranked players. Monte Carlo later dropped its suit. Hamburg was "reserved" to become a 500 level event in the summer. Hamburg did not accept this concession, but later lost its suit.
The ATP & ITF have declared that Davis Cup World Group and World Group Playoffs award a total of up to 500 points. Players accumulate points over the 4 rounds and the playoffs and these are counted as one of a player's four best results from the 500 level events. An additional 125 points are given to a player who wins all 8 live rubbers and wins the Davis Cup.
The ATP World Tour comprises ATP World Tour Masters 1000, ATP World Tour 500 series, and ATP World Tour 250 series. The ATP also oversees the ATP Challenger Tour, a level below the ATP World Tour, and the ATP Champions Tour for seniors. Grand Slams, the Olympic tennis tournament, the Davis Cup, and the introductory level Futures tournaments do not fall under the auspices of the ATP, but are overseen by the ITF instead. In these events, however, ATP ranking points are awarded, with the exception of the Olympics. The four-week ITF Satellite tournaments were discontinued in 2007.
Players and doubles teams with the most ranking points (collected during the calendar year) play in the season-ending ATP Finals, which, from 2000–2008, was run jointly with the International Tennis Federation (ITF). The details of the professional tennis tour are:
|Event category||Number||Total prize money (USD)||Winner's ranking points||Governing body|
|Grand Slam||4||See individual articles||2,000||ITF|
|ATP Finals||1||4,450,000||1,100–1,500||ATP (2009–present)|
|ATP World Tour Masters 1000||9||2,450,000 to 3,645,000||1000||ATP|
|ATP World Tour 500 series||13||755,000 to 2,100,000||500||ATP|
|ATP World Tour 250 series||40||416,000 to 1,024,000||250||ATP|
|ATP Challenger Tour||178||40,000 to 220,000||80 to 125||ATP|
|ITF Men's Circuit||534||10,000 and 25,000||18 to 35||ITF|
ATP publishes weekly rankings of professional players: Emirates ATP Rankings (commonly known as the ‘world rankings’), a 52-week rolling ranking, and the Emirates ATP Rankings Race to London, a year to date ranking. All ATP players also have a Universal Tennis Rating, based on head-to-head results.
The ATP Rankings is used for determining qualification for entry and seeding in all tournaments for both singles and doubles. Within the ATP Rankings period consisting of the past year, points are accumulated, with the exception of those for the ATP Finals, whose points are dropped following the last ATP event of the year. The player with the most points by the season's end is the world No. 1 of the year.
The ATP Rankings Race To London is a calendar-year indicator of what the Emirates ATP Rankings will be on the Monday after the end of the regular season. Players finishing in the top eight of the Emirates ATP Rankings following the Paris Masters will qualify for the ATP Finals.
At the start of the 2009 season, all accumulated ranking points were doubled to bring them in line with the new tournament ranking system.
†Change since previous week's rankings
‡Change since previous week's rankings
The seven-member ATP Board of Directors includes the Executive Chairman & President, along with three tournament representatives and three player representatives. The player representatives are elected by the ATP Player Council. The current board members are:
The 12-member ATP Player Council delivers advisory decisions to the Board of Directors, which has the power to accept or reject the Council's suggestions. The Council consists of four players who are ranked within the top 50 in singles (Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic - President, Gilles Simon, and Kevin Anderson - Vice-President), two players who are ranked between 51 and 100 in singles (Yen-Hsun Lu and Rajeev Ram), two top 100 players in doubles (Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares), two at-large members (Marcelo Melo and Sergiy Stakhovsky), one alumni member (Colin Dowdeswell), and one coach (Claudio Pistolesi).
The ATP Tournament Council consists of a total of 13 members, of which five are representatives from the European region, along with four representatives from both the Americas and the International Group of tournaments.