The ITF Transition Tour: A Radical Overhaul That Some Players Hate - UBITENNIS
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ITF

The ITF Transition Tour: A Radical Overhaul That Some Players Hate

After one month in use, the controversial changes has attracted backlash from many players on the tour.

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The International Tennis Federation is coming under fire over their controversial revamp of lower level tournaments with players saying they have been made worse off due to the changes.

 

The ITF Transition Tour was brought into effect this year with the aim of cutting down the number of players to make is easier for those on a tour to earn a living. A study conducted by the governing body found that that over 14,000 players participate in professional tournaments over a year. Under the new system, tournaments will be staged within a more localise circuit to make costs lower for both players and tournaments. On top of that, ITF ranking points have been brought in instead of ATP and WTA Points.

The idea of ensuring lower ranked players earn more is a welcomed one. According to the ITF, the ranking players need to achieve to break even is 336 for men and 253 for women. However, since the revamp many players have said they have not benefited and some have even stated that they have been made worse off.

“I would really like to meet a person who came up with this idea about the ITF transition tour and congratulate him. All the ideas that person got cannot function even in a perfect world because players have zero benefit from it and they don’t make any sense.” World No.457 Ana Vrljić wrote in a Facebook post earlier this week.
“Players could see a clear path for them if they play good for a year, if they are consistent eventually they would get there. With these new rules, players lost that vision, they lost seeing it clearly how to get to the top cause it seems almost impossible.
“Even by winning 16 15.000$ tournaments your ranking would be around 270 which is not enough for Grand Slam so you would be obligated to move to higher tournaments.”

Vrljić has extensive experience of the tour. The 34-year-old Croat has been playing in lower level tournaments for almost 20 years and has been ranked as high as 180th in the world. It appears that Vrljić belongs to an increasing group of players who feel that they are being treated as second-class citizens.

Bulgaria’s Sesil Karatantcheva has experience of playing at both the highest and lowest level of the sport. A former world No.35, she has played in 14 grand slam main draws and has eight ITF titles to her name. At present she is placed outside of the top 200.

“Money talks and money rules. They don’t need any players outside of top 100. They need the big names and the big profit from slams.” Karatantcheva wrote to Vrljić.
“By changing the rule, they secured easier stability for the top and impossible possibility for young, mid and lower ranked players to exist. If you don’t have the big agency behind you or a big sponsor you might as well quit.”

It appears that the lower ranked a player is, the worse the situation. 524th ranked Sviatlana Pirazhenka played in 24 tournaments last year. This year she failed to get into a $60,000 event she signed up for and was an alternative entrant for two other $25,000 events.

The situation is no better for the men either. Under the transition tour, the rules are slightly different. Former player Mark Petchey, who has a daughter that plays on the ITF circuit, has previously blasted the changes.

“It’s a shambles. Everyone is responsible for this mess. It’s impossible to state how much knock in effect this will have negatively for anyone involved in tennis.” Said Petchey.

Dave Miley, who has recently announced his candidacy for the ITF presidency, has conducted one of the most comprehensive reviews of the new system yet. In a 3000-word article written on his Facebook account, he has said the governing body has failed to provide a better pathway for players, help them break even and reduce the costs of playing on the tour. Miley has previously been in charge of overseeing the juniors, veterans and wheelchair activities of the ITF.

“It appears that there will be significantly less opportunity for players to get started on the tour if they are unranked or lowly ranked or coming back from injury. It will also be hard for late developing players from developing tennis regions to get started.” Said Miley.
“Remember Kevin Anderson and Malek Jaziri were not so highly ranked as juniors and developed much later.”

Following those comments, it remains to be seen how Miley would address the changes should he become president later this year.

Whilst the ITF had good intentions with their new structure, it is debatable if it is actually working effectively. One also has to question if they took into account evidence that proved the average age of a player peaking is rising, especially on the men’s circuit.

With a growing amount of dissatisfaction, it looks like this prediction of the ‘great tennis scandal’ of 2019 by Sports Illustrated’s Jon Wertheim is becoming more of a reality every day.

“A realization that the ITF’s transition tour—and the USTA’s capitulation—was a sloppily-conceived mistake that will stunt the growth of the sport, reduce opportunity, curtail diversity and harm college tennis.”

Only time will tell if the ITF will change their format in the future.

Davis Cup

(VIDEO) Ubaldo Scanagatta On A Week To Remember For Canada At The Davis Cup

The CEO of Ubitennis also shares his view about the format of the tournament and how he thinks it can be improved.

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MALAGA, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 27: Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals 2022 at Palacio de Deportes Jose Maria Martin Carpena on November 27, 2022 in Malaga, Spain. (Photo by Pedro Salado/ Quality Sport Images / Kosmos Tennis)

Canada has become the 16th nation to win the Davis Cup after producing a clinical performance against Australia in the final on Sunday. Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime both eased through their matches in straight sets to claim an historic victory for their country.

 

Watching the matches unfold from the sidelines was Ubitennis CEO Ubaldo Scanagatta who gives his verdict on events that has taken place in Malaga over the past week.

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Davis Cup

Canada Says There Are No Clear Favorite To Win Davis Cup After Reaching Final Four 

After suffering a surprise opening defeat, Canada managed to find their footing to keep its chance of winning their first Davis Cup title alive in Malaga. 

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Image via Kosmos media

This year’s Davis Cup champions will be decided with the help of a ‘little bit of luck and execution,’ according to the captain of the Canadian team. 

 

Canada secured their place in the semi-finals on Thursday by edging their way past Germany 2-1 after battling back from behind. The tie began with a shock loss for Denis Shapovalov who fell 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(2), to Jan-Lennard Struff who is currently ranked more than 100 places lower than him in the ATP rankings. However, the North American nation managed to level the tie with the help of Felix Auger-Aliassime who beat Oscar Otte 7-6(1), 6-4. 

With all to play for, the tie was decided by a critical doubles match that saw Shapovalov return to the court alongside Vasek Pospisil. Their opponents were the formidable Kevin Krawietz and Tim Puertz who had an 8-0 record in Davis Cup matches when playing together and had clinched the winning point for their team on seven occasions. The German duo started the stronger before Shapovalov and Pospisil battled back to prevail 2-6, 6-3, 6-3. Sending Canada into the semi-finals of the Davis Cup for the first time since 2019. 

“Today (Thursday) was a perfect example of Davis Cup at its finest,” said Canadian captain Frank Dancevic. 
“It was amazing to watch. They showed so much heart going into the match. At the beginning of the match, it was tough to find the rhythm. But once they found the rhythm and once they got in the groove, they played lights out. They played amazing. Took control of the match.” He added.

Canada made their Davis Cup debut in 1913 but they are yet to win the title, finishing runners-up on two occasions. The last time they reached the final was three years ago when they were beaten by Spain in Madrid. 

Standing in their way of another place in the final this year is Italy who defeated the USA 2-1 in their quarter-final tie on Thursday. The other section of the draw will see Croatia take on Australia. Canada might be the only team in the quartet yet to win the trophy but Dencevic believes there is no clear favourite in this year’s tournament. 

“I don’t think right now everybody is playing incredible tennis, and there is so much that can happen in three matches with singles and doubles and there is so much diversity that I wouldn’t say there is a favourite team right now.” He said. 
“Out of the four teams, everybody is really good. We have to put ourselves in the position to win. Everybody’s going to be in the position to win. It’s just about who is going to execute at certain moments in the matches, and it will come down to a little bit of luck and a little bit of execution, but I think it’s very even throughout the field. We are all amazing teams going into the semis.”

Canada’s Semi-final clash with Italy will take place on Saturday. Croatia will play Australia later today. 

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Fed Cup

Australia Ousts Great Britain In Thriller To Reach BJK Cup Final

The host nation narrowly missed out on a place in the final but they have plenty of positives to motivate them for the future.

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The British Billie Jean King Cup team (image via LTA Twitter)

Australia has denied Great Britain an opportunity to play in their first team final since 1981 after prevailing 2-1 in an epic tussle at the Billie Jean King Cup in Glasgow. 

 

The gripping tie was level at 1-1 after each team won one of the singles matches, paving the way for a winner-takes-all doubles encounter. The British team featured Alicia Barnett and Olivia Nicholls who were both making their debut in the competition this week. Their opponents were former Grand Slam winner Sam Stosur and world No.10 doubles player Storm Sanders.

Despite the gap in experience between the two pairings, there was almost nothing to distinguish between the two throughout the majority of their encounter which lasted more than two hours. Nevertheless, the Australian duo held their nerve to seal a 7-6(1), 6-7(5), 10-6, victory to send them into the final. 

“That was amazing. it could have gone either way and credit to the GB girls they played really well. They will be here again for sure.” Sanders said during her on-court interview. 

It is only the second time in the past 30 years that Australia has progressed to the final after 2019. Before playing Great Britain, they also defeated Belgium and Slovakia in the group stages. 

“A real credit to the four players out on court that was pretty inspirational, so I hope it inspires a lot more of you out there to play doubles. It was really such a high level you couldn’t pick it in the end.” Australian captain Alicia Molik commented on the doubles match. 

Earlier in the day, Australia got off to the perfect start with Sanders edging her way past Heather Watson 6-4, 7-6(3). However, the host nation battled back with an impressive performance from Harriet Dart who defeated Ajla Tomljanović 7-6(3), 6-2. A player who has reached the quarter-finals at both Wimbledon and the US Open this year. 

“The Billie Jean King Cup just brings the best out of me. I love playing in front of a home crowd, and I feel like I have really been feeding off my teammates and everyone here. It just makes me really want to do really well.” Said Dart. 

The performances from the underdogs provide Britain with plenty of hope for the future. The nation lost in qualifying earlier this year but managed to enter the finals via wildcard due to the competition being held in their country. 

“I’m just gutted for everyone right now but also I think we have to try and keep things in perspective,” British captain Keothavong told reporters. 
“What a fantastic week it has been for the team. I don’t know how many people gave us much of a chance really to even come through the group stages.’
“It really is a fantastic achievement to reach the semifinals but we felt we could have gone further. That’s why it hurts so much.
“It’s going to hurt the players for a while but they’ll (the team) get over it. They can still hold their heads high because they have shown what they are capable of under a huge amount of pressure to deliver, and in the end, it came down to a few points.”

Australia will next play either Switzerland or the Czech Republic in the final. They are seeking to win the trophy for the first time since 1974.

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