Outside the reach, glamorous, and sparkling world of tennis on the big stages of Grand Slam and Masters 1000 events, there's a completely different sport for those ranked outside the Top 100. Unlike the players from the Top 50, they have to find the way to tune their costs with travels and schedule making in order to at least break even at the end of the grueling season. ITF did a research and the facts were devastating, proving that only around 600 men and women could break even financially, and all that without consideration of coaching costs! They had to react and come out with the solution that would make it easier for juniors and a little bit older players to reach the better ranking positions on both ATP and WTA lists and get a chance to increase their earnings.
Back in March 2017, ITF revealed the first outlines of what was to become a Transition Tour in 2019, and they gave us more information about this huge restructuring of the professional Tour. First of all, the new structure will have a localized character, reducing the expenses of both the players and the organizers. Also, ITF is thinking about global picture, putting an effort to bring the professional tennis to the furthest corners of Earth.
Three government bodies (ITF, ATP, and WTA) all agreed about the new structure that will start from the next season and the main goal is to reduce the number of professional players to some 1500, 750 in men's and women's categories on the $25,000$ level or above.
Newly-formed tournaments will offer $15,000 and will replace the existing $15,000 men’s and women’s tournaments of the ITF Pro circuit. Instead of ATP and WTA ranking points the players will receive ITF Entry Points but two systems should be linked, as the best players from the ITF Entry level will use those points to gain the place in the professional draws more easily.
It means that $25,000 ITF Pro Circuit events will give ITF Entry Points in all rounds and ATP points in the later stages from 2019, and young stars will have a chance to earn Entry Points in the qualifying rounds of Challengers as well.
The further plans are to move $25,000 events strictly to ITF Entry Points system. Players will have the opportunity to climb through both of rankings and to make a faster transition towards the pro Tour and better earnings.
The most successful ITF Entry Point-ranked players will have their places reserved in the qualifying draws of Challengers and there are 5 main draw spots saved for the best juniors of the world in the new-entry events. In order to get used to the new ranking system, ITF, ATP, and WTA will run some kind of shadow rankings, helping the players to understand what their ranking would be under these new rules.
Transition Tour tournaments will have cheaper hosting requirements and they will last seven days, including the qualifications, with no requirement of hosting the tournament in three consecutive weeks. This will make the door open for the lower-ranked nations to get involved on the Pro Tour and offer an opportunity for local players to compete without too much traveling.