Zootennis

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Drastic Changes to ITF Junior Circuit Coming for Remainder of 2020; French Open Junior Championships Receive Waiver

Although there has been no official announcement to the public, the International Tennis Federation has made its decisions for the remainder of the year on the ITF Junior Circuit, which resumes the week of August 31st. 

According to information I've seen, the maximum number of points for any event in 2020, regardless of its current Grade, will be awarded as if it were a Grade 3. (The ITF point chart for singles can be seen here). Draw sizes are now 32 for singles, both main draw and qualifying, and 24 for doubles. That is about half the usual singles draw at most events, and certainly all the ITF events in the United States.  

This means October's Pan American Closed Grade B1 in Nicholasville Kentucky and December's Grade 1 Eddie Herr and the Grade A Orange Bowl will basically provide half the opportunities for competition and substantially reduced points, assuming they do take place.

The ITF granted the French Open Junior Championships a waiver from these new restrictions, but as it reads below, it is only providing Grade A points, which are now half the points awarded for junior slams, as the chart linked above shows.  The Junior Championships at Roland Garros still do not appear on the ITF Junior Circuit calendar, but assuming that it is going forward during the second week of the French Open, US junior players would have to choose between the Nicholasville tournament and the French. Of course, at this stage, that wouldn't be much of a choice, with Americans currently not allowed to travel to France due to the pandemic.

I would hope the USTA would ask for a waiver similar to that granted to Roland Garros for the Orange Bowl, given its prestige and history, and would consider upgrading the ITF Level 4s and 5s still on the schedule here in the US to Level 3s. But even if all that happens and everything proceeds as expected for the rest of the year--a big if--US juniors are going to fall behind their European counterparts in playing opportunities.

• ITF World Tennis Tour Junior tournaments are scheduled to resume on 31 August 2020 (qualifying on 29-30 August permitted). However, a maximum of Grade 3 (J3/B3) ranking points will be awarded for the remainder of 2020. Any tournament scheduled for 31 August-31 December 2020 that is Grade 2 or better (JA, J1, J2) will receive Grade 3 (J3) ranking points.

• Draw sizes are restricted to 32 in qualifying singles, 32 in main draw singles and 24 pairs in doubles for the remainder of 2020.

• The entry deadline for all tournaments for the remainder of 2020 shall be reduced, unless otherwise stated, to twenty (20) days prior to the Monday of the tournament week, i.e. 14.00pm (GMT) on the Tuesday.

• Exception is granted by the ITF Juniors Committee for Roland Garros 2020 to continue with Grade A points and to stage larger draws.

• Following the General Administration of Sport in China's directive, the 2020 ITF World Tennis Tour Junior Finals in Chengdu, China is cancelled this year.

The ITF's decision on how rankings will be handled follows:

The amended rules for the ITF World Tennis Tour Juniors outlined below have been approved by the ITF Board and shall come into effect when the ITF World Tennis Tour Juniors resumes on 31 August 2020:

• From the resumption of competition on 31 August 2020, until 14 March 2021, a player’s combined ranking will be comprised of his / her best 6 singles results and 25% of his / her best 6 doubles results achieved between 18 March 2019 – 14 March 2021 (i.e. 104 week ranking period), during what is an extended ranking period.

• Results from tournaments upon resumption on 31 August 2020 will replace a player’s result from that tournament held the previous year if it is a better result and provided it is one of the player’s best 6 results.

• Results earned between 18 March 2019 and 15 March 2020 (i.e. 52 weeks) are protected and will have their ranking drop date extended by 52 weeks.

• Effective from 15 March 2021, points from 2019 and/or 2020 will drop on an ongoing weekly basis and be replaced with points earned from tournaments in 2021.

• Results from higher graded (JA, J1/B1, J2/B2 and J3/B3) tournaments can be counted a maximum of once within a player’s best 6 results during the 104-week period (i.e. double counting of the same tournament is not permitted).

• Results from lower graded (J4 & J5) tournaments can be counted more than once within a player’s best 6 results during the 104-week period.

• The ITF World Tennis Tour Juniors circuit plan to return to the 52-week ranking in December 2021.

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