The ATP has announced an ATP Covid-19 Support Package, including prize money, update to the rankings system, protected ranking and on-site protocols.
The ATP Covid-19 Support Package covers a range of areas including prize money at ATP 250 and ATP 500 events, and an update to the FedEx ATP Rankings system. It also introduces a new COVID-19 Protected Ranking provision to give players further security in the current environment, and an update to the number of player support team allowances on-site at events. You can read more about the package below or on the official ATP Tour website. I’m keen to hear what you think about this (especially if you’re a competing player, coach or tournament organizer), please comment below.
PRIZE MONEY LEVELS (ATP 250 & ATP 500) & BONUS POOL
Between the Australian Open and Wimbledon, minimum prize money levels for ATP 250 and ATP 500 tournaments will be raised to 80% and 60% respectively, from 50%. It will be funded through redistributing something called the ATP Bonus pool, which was ordinarily distributed to the Top 12 players at the end of the season.
Andrea Gaudenzi, ATP Chairman, said: “Our tournaments’ revenues continue to be severely impacted by restrictions on ticket sales, and a substantial improvement on this front looks unlikely before mid-year. Our focus is to ensure the Tour continues supporting as many players as possible and I would like to thank the top-ranked players and the Player Council for supporting this measure, which will help improve conditions for the larger player group over the coming months.”
FEDEX ATP RANKINGS UPDATE
The ATP has extended the ‘Best Of’ logic for the FedEx ATP Rankings through the week of 9 August 2021 (inclusive of Toronto). Results from all events between 4 March – 5 August 2019, which were not played in 2020, will be extended a further 52 weeks and weighted at 50%. This reduction will occur at the originally designated drop date for each event and the ‘Best Of’ logic will only count the better of a player’s two scores from the same tour-level event.
For example, a player will be able to count either 50% of his 2019 Madrid result, or 100% of his 2021 Madrid result, whichever is greater, for the next 52 weeks.
The decision to retain 50% of points earned in 2019 during the period corresponding to the 2020 suspension, aims to provide players a measure of security in months ahead while travel restrictions and stringent health & safety measures continue to apply.
COVID-19 PROTECTED RANKING
Players who are out of competition for four consecutive weeks will be eligible for a COVID-19 Protected Ranking. This measure is designed to allow players greater flexibility in their scheduling without having a negative impact on their ability to enter future tournaments.
Eligible players will be granted four entry opportunities, excluding Grand Slams and/or the Olympic Games, using their ‘frozen’ ranking. Players will only be able to use their COVID-19 Protected Ranking for entry into as many ATP Masters 1000 events as they missed during their time away from competition.
As part of an ongoing review of on-site health and safety protocols, the ATP has worked with tournaments to provide increased Player Support Team (PST) allocations, offered to players on a first-come, first-served basis.
Players have been restricted to +2 support team members at ATP tournaments as part of health & safety protocols implemented since the resumption of the Tour in August 2020. Additional PST members may now be permitted within specific on-site locations and the official hotel, subject to availability and full COVID-19 protocols.
COVID ISOLATION COSTS
The ATP has allocated up to $10,000 for each ATP Tour and ATP Challenger Tour event in 2021 to cover hotel costs that may arise from additional isolation or quarantine periods, required in the event of positive COVID-19 test results or close contact situations.