Explaining the ATP Points Ranking
Now that tennis has officially been put on hold we decided now was probably a good time to explain how point rankings work in the ATP.
Understanding how the ATP ranking works may look a bit difficult at first if you are fairly new to tennis.
After all, there are many different tournament levels and points combinations, which takes some time to get used to.
Players are ranked according to their results from a 52-week period.
First, let’s take a look at what an average ATP tournament looks like.
Understanding the ATP Tournaments
The ATP Tour takes in the results from 14 different levels of events.
Players start from the lowest level, the ITF Futures, which are split into M25 and M15 events.
After achieving a high enough rank, players can then proceed to the ATP Challenger Tour events.
The next step is the ATP Tour itself, which is split into ATP 250, ATP 500, Masters 1000 and slams.
A tournament is divided into the main draw and the qualifying.
The top-ranked players entered in the tournament will earn an automatic spot into the main draw.
The remaining entrants can earn a spot by winning their bracket in a three-round, single-elimination format qualifying.
The tournament’s organization is also awarded a number of wild card invites.
At their discretion, the organizers are allowed to give these entries to players that don’t meet the qualifying criteria.
A wild card entrant is automatically placed into the main draw.
If the main draw participant withdraws from the competition, he is then replaced by the highest-ranked player eliminated from the final round of qualifying, the “lucky loser”.
All tournaments that are part of the regular ATP Tour calendar follow this same format, with the number of entrants being the only variable.
How the ATP Points System Works
With an understanding of how the tournament formats work, we now move on to the points system itself.
A total of 18 different types of event counts towards the ATP rankings.
The ITF Futures are the entry-level events.
Champions earn 18 points from the Futures 15 events and 36 points from the Futures 25 events.
Next up the order is the ATP Challenger Tour, the final stop before the ATP Tour itself.
The Challenger Tour has five different types of events – the Challenger 80, Challenger 90, Challenger 100, Challenger 110 and Challenger 125.
The number indicates the tournament’s points payout for the winner.
Now we proceed to the ATP Tour itself, starting with the ATP 250 events.
As the name suggests, these tournaments pay 250 points to the winner and make up the lowest tier at the Tour level.
The ATP Tour has a total of 39 ATP 250 tournaments spread across 25 countries.
The next events at the ATP Tour level are the ATP 500 tournaments, which payout 500 points to the champion.
The Tour calendar currently has 13 ATP 500 events, hosted by 12 countries.
Now we reach the Masters 1000 events, which payout 1,000 points to the champion.
The calendar has eight Masters 1000 tournaments, hosted by six countries.
Finally, we have the slams or major tournaments – the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open.
Each tournament pays 2,000 points to the champion.
The ranks are then calculated by taking into consideration 18 tournaments.
At the end of October, the top 8 players qualify for the year-end ATP Finals, which pay a minimum of 1,150 points, up to a maximum of 1,500.
For top players, this means the four majors, the eight Masters 1000, and six ATP 500 or ATP 250 tournaments.
The ATP Finals count as an additional 19th tournament for the top 8 players.
Players with a high ranking must take part in at least four ATP 500 tournaments over the course of the year.
The rank counts back to 52 weeks, meaning that the points carry over from one year to another.
The standings are updated weekly, with the number 1 player crowned after the ATP Finals.
Check out how point ranking works in the WTA here.