Let’s dive right into it.
“The transition tour will be staged within a more localised circuit structure that reduces costs for players and tournament organisers. This will also increase opportunities for players from more countries to join the pathway and be supported in their transition to professional tennis.”
I used to work in sales and I can spot bullshit from a mile off. This is Grade A rubbish. What does a more “localised circuit structure” actually mean? I can only assume there is some misguided belief more tournaments will be held in more regions meaning better access for players all over the world? If so, I highly doubt it.
“Reduces costs for players”. You mean aside from the $40 entrance fee main draw male players now pay, having never paid it previously? Let’s assume they play 25 tournaments a year, that’s an extra $1,000 in expenses.
So where do their savings begin? Well tournanents are now Monday to Sunday, but it’s hard to argue accommodation costs will decrease as typically a main draw player wouldn’t have started their campaign until a Monday/Tuesday anyway and if they won the title they would normally have played their final on a Sunday under the old system… and as nothing changes under the new system either in that respect I cannot work out where the players are making savings; only additional expenses with the entry fees.
The one set of players who will make savings are those who play in the qualifying sections as they won’t start on a Saturday, but a Monday instead. However this feels like an almost redundant point because no player can continue to play in the qualifiers week on week without progressing or they’d lose fortunes and those that do progrsss will inevitably end up in the main draws anyway; so ultimately the savings are pretty miniscule in the long run.
Let’s now look at what the ITF have said about tournament costs:
More National Associations will have the opportunity to stage events due to the cheaper hosting requirements of transition tour tournaments. The tournaments will be shorter in length than Pro Circuit events and take place over seven days (including qualifying). There is no requirement to host three consecutive tournaments as per the current rule for Men’s Futures tournaments; and there is a reduction in officiating requirements. It is anticipated that this will increase the number of nations hosting tournaments in 2019, providing opportunities for more players.
As mentioned previously the tournaments themselves have switched to Mon-Sun; with one of the arguments being it decreases costs for the tournament hosts. So let’s look at the reality behind that. The figures I will use are from Dave Miley’s excellent Facebook post (I’ll link it at the bottom).
Now you don’t have to be a genius to see there’s actually an increased cost to the organisers. Pity nobody at the ITF knows how to use a calculator.
The point about tournaments now being 7 days in length as opposed to 9 is also interesting. Is the cost savings such that a decision on whether a tournament is held hinges on that factor? I doubt it. Worth noting that if a country was to host for three continual weeks like was the case in previous years (let’s assume the location within the country remains the same), then the tournaments would run for 21 days rather than 23. Again, is the saving so beneficial that this is the overriding factor?
The changes themselves are potentially quite devastating to locations that have run tournaments for years. Places like Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey are resort based locations who host tournaments on the understanding that they recoup their costs (and more) by selling hotel beds to the players. Previously these places could put together 64 player qualifying draws which would take place over the weekend. As tournaments are now 24 player qualifying draws, that’s 40 players who have disappeared and no longer provide income to the resorts.
The impact of this could be that locations that provide tournaments over 30+ weeks a year may have to reconsider if the sums no longer add up for them. The additional irony being that were these locations to stop offering tournaments, you’re now taking away the few places players can keep travel costs down by playing at the same location week after week.
So in summary, players now have potentially an additional expense of roughly $1,000 but no obvious proof of costs decreasing anywhere else; whilst tournaments will have 40 less players (more in the States) playing in qualifying draws and therefore a lot less income (for those that are resort based) putting the chances of them continuing to host the events at risk.
Good system I’m sure you’ll agree.
In my next blog post I’ll analyse in detail the claim that, “It is anticipated that this will increase the number of nations hosting tournaments in 2019, providing opportunities for more players.”.
As a side note, I do note profess to have any writing talent whatsoever, so if I’ve made any glaring errors please let me know, would be appreciated.
The link to Dave’s post can be found here: https://m.facebook.com/davemileytennis/posts/1229040220596418
Thank you as always if you’ve read this far.