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Sunday, February 3, 2013

ITF Junior Rule Changes for 2013 Include Bonus Points for Orange Bowl, Italian Open

The ITF has recently posted its rules and regulations for the 2013 calendar year, which include a reduction in bonus points for winning a junior slam, and an addition of bonus points for two Grade A's: the Italian Open and Orange Bowl.

Prior to this year, a championship at a Grade A (which includes all four junior slams and the Abierto Juvenil, Copa Gerdau, Italian Open, Osaka Mayors Cup and Orange Bowl) was worth 250 points, with an additional 250 bonus points to a junior slam singles champion.  Beginning this year, the bonus points for winning a junior slam are half that, with Nick Kyrgios and Ana Konjuh getting only 125 bonus points for their titles in Australia.

The Youth Olympic Games, which were first played in Singapore in 2010, are also considered a Grade A event, but that occurs only every four years.

The Orange Bowl and the Italian Open, which traditionally draw the strongest fields of the five non-slam Grade As, as well as the Youth Olympic Games, will now distribute bonus points of their own, effectively providing another tier of Grade A's to the two that existed in 2012 and before.

Instead of the winner getting all the bonus points, as was previously the case for the junior slams, the bonus points are now distributed to winners of every round of a junior slam and at the Orange Bowl, Italian Open and Youth Olympic Games.
Here is the new chart:

I have no idea if the ITF believes this will make their rankings more accurate, but I have to assume they saw a problem that this change could help fix. I do think the Youth Olympic Game points were too high in the past, as it was treated exactly like a junior slam, but it is now in the same category as the Orange Bowl and the Italian Open, which makes more sense.

Another bonus, which is 250 bonus points for a player who wins three or more Grade A's in a calendar year, did not change, nor did the requirement that a player must compete in six tournaments, three of which are Grade A's and three of which are outside their own county, to be eligible for a year-end ranking. In 2008, Grigor Dimitrov won the Wimbledon and US Open junior titles but did not finish as the ITF World Junior champion, because he fell one Grade A short of meeting this requirement(winning a Grade A counts for 2).

These changes are the most notable ones for 2013, with a few other major ones, including a couple that get tough on players leaving a tournament before completion without a medical clearance, and a change in the number of suspension points for late withdrawals depending on when the withdrawal takes place.   One new rule requires the order of play be released by 10 p.m. the night before the next day's play and another clarifies that playing in ANY other tournament the same week, not just an ITF tournament, is prohibited.

There are other changes, all of which are underlined in the document.  The ITF has also posted a pdf highlighting just the major changes. Both can be found on the ITF junior website.