In an interview with Tennis Channel, WTA CEO Steve Simon talks about the impact of ITF new points and rules system on WTA.
It has been 3 months since the introduction of new rules by ITF on ATP and WTA circuit. ITF announced the changes in new points and rules system in February, last year. The changes are made as a part of a major restructuring of professional tennis.
The new rules were made to ensure prize money at professional level events is preferably targeted to facilitate more players to make a living. It will also provide an efficacious pathway connecting the ITF Junior Circuit and Senior professional events.
Talking about how the rule change affected the ladies, Simon said: ” Well I think it had an effect on both sides. It affected the men more than the women because they have a different structure with respect to the pathway from junior tennis to the professional ranks. But on the WTA side, the pathway that was there in the place with the ITF tour, it hadn’t changed in years and it was due for some evolution and change.”
Steve added: “Anytime you have changed, you gonna go through issues and people don’t like that change and are used to the old system. I think that the issues that we found in the transition today have been the draw sizes, the number of jobs available as well as the number of exemption with respect to what makes up the main draw vs people that get special exemptions because of the junior ranking and ITF ranking and WTA ranking, etc. So I think we are working very closely with the ITF on this and we’re gonna work on whether we expand draws or we change the exemptions and all of those things.”
In conclusion, he said, “But again the WTA and the ATP has different issues. It hasn’t affected our players as much but it has. I also think that you’ll see a change over the course of the year. Early in the year, there aren’t as many tournaments because of the weather. It’s hard to run these tournaments in indoor facilities, as you reach the outdoor season, there are much more tournaments available so some of those challenges that are not so easy but there’s much to be done.”