July 11, 2024

Open Court

MORE TENNIS THAN YOU'LL EVER NEED

New Transition Tour doubles rules eliminate budding specialists

Amongst the fun discoveries in the ITF Transition Tour, there’s a little-noticed change in the rules that is going to make it challenging for anyone to try to become a doubles specialist.

That is a legitimately viable way to earn a living playing professional tennis – especially on the ATP Tour.

And, with the new Davis Cup format, the doubles teams will often be the deciding factor in winning ties.

But the new rules all but eliminate this at the entry level of the ITF Circuit

Here’s what the old entry rules looked like: they took your best ranking, singles or doubles, to give priority on the entry list.

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As of January – in the $15,000 events – if you’re not either in the main draw or the singles qualifying – you can’t enter the doubles.

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That also means that a lot of players who are on site at the Futures, but are finding they don’t come close to getting into the singles that week, can’t even salvage the week by playing doubles.

Teams can get wild cards, of course.

Mergea and Dancevic hit the 25Ks

Dancevic has a current singles ranking of No. 336, and a doubles ranking of No. 405.

Both took a huge leap in December, when players had most of the ATP Tour points they earned at the ITF level stricken from their rankings.

Look at the crazy fluctuations here.

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Mergea’s doubles ranking soared from No. 576 to No. 381.

Luckily for them, they have that to work with. 

What it means is that they can’t get into a $15,000 tournament – but they can get into a higher-level $25,000 tournament. Which makes no logical sense.

On the plus side, at least a few ATP points are available this year at the $25K level. But you have to win them.

And it would take 10 of those $25K titles just to equal the points Dancevic earned last March for winning two matches and making the semis at the Drummondville Challenger.

No wonder players are discouraged.   

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