On the latest ATP ranking list, there are 2050 players with at list one ATP point in what has been a wild mixture of veterans, journeymen who are trying to earn some points and small prize money and the upcoming youngsters who are making their progress through the list.
A few years ago, it became evident that the ranking list has become too large to handle and ITF and ATP have been working on a proper solution in order to give the upcoming youngsters a chance to make a quicker transition towards the Challenger Tour and bigger points and prize money.
To make that, ITF has released the World Tennis Rankings, an alternative to the already existing ATP ranking list that will gather the most successful players from the lower-ranked Futures events that will become ITF World Tennis Tour M15 and M25 events from 2019. Instead of spending too much time on this entry level of the pro tennis, the highest ranked players from the ITF World Tennis Rankings will have a chance to enter the Challengers directly, with the main draw being increased from 32 to 48 spots (37 players with ATP ranking, four with ITF ranking, five wild cards and two qualifiers).
In addition, M15 and M25 tournaments will offer both the ATP points (not from 2020, though) and ITF points and their structure is also changed compared to what we had at Futures, with 14 to 17 direct acceptances from the ATP list and six qualifiers.
M25 events will also offer six main draw places for the players from the ITF ranking list while M15 tournaments serve as the starting point for juniors, with five spots reserved for the players from the top-100 of the ITF junior list.
With four wild cards and Special and Junior Exempt, the youngsters will have a chance to make their pro debut easier than before and to chase their first ITF or ATP points. In order to make a smaller and more compact ATP list, players will lose their points earned on the $15,000 Futures events throughout 2018 (they will be transformed into ITF points for that second ranking list) and only the points earned at the ATP tournaments, Challengers and final rounds of the $25,000 Futures will stay which means we will have around 630 players on the ATP ranking list on the last day of 2018! Points have already been converted and the Spaniard David Perez Sanz will be remembered as the first leader of the ITF World Tennis Rankings.
Interestingly, David has spent almost the entire season on the ITF Futures Tour, winning 64 matches and lifting six titles from 10 finals to stand in the top-300 on the ATP ranking list but earning less than $20,000 for the entire-year effort! Now, he will be unranked on the last ATP ranking list that will come out on December 31 but as the leader of the ITF World Tennis Rankings he is free to enter any Challenger he wants, getting a chance to fight for bigger ATP points and prize money, which is one of the main goals of these radical changes.
Top-ranked players on the ITF World Tennis Rankings list:
1. David Perez Sanz (ESP) 962
2. Ivan Nedelko (RUS) 952
3. Peter Heller (GER) 950
4. Raul Brancaccio (ITA) 936
5. Dimitar Kuzmanov (BUL) 904
6. Javier Barranco Cosano (ESP) 898
7. Roman Safiullin (RUS) 879
8. Aslan Karatsev (RUS) 861
9. Oriol Roca Batalla (ESP) 860
10. Baptiste Crepatte (FRA) 830
11. Fabien Reboul (FRA) 830
12. Gregoire Jacq (FRA) 826
13. Frederico Ferreira Silva (POR) 823
14. Joao Souza (POR) 764
15. Matias Franco Descotte (ARG) 760