The ATP has definitively announced that it will happen with the world ranking system in the middle of the pandemic COVID-19. There is probably no universal solution that will satisfy everyone, but after being in talks with the ITF and the four Grand Slams they have built a plan that has two clear objectives: not to penalize those who do not play tournaments for health or safety reasons, and try to reward in a way those who do collect great performances in the resumption of the circuit.
– What will be the ranking of tennis players once the circuit returns ?: Players will count their 18 best results over the last 22 months. That is to say: the results in tournaments from March 2019 (including the performances in suspended tournaments, see Indian Wells, Miami, Monte Carlo or Wimbledon) will count, as well as the results that occur in the resumption of the circuit. Of course, there are a number of guidelines to consider.
First of all: you cannot count among the 18 best results of a player two performances in the same tournament. To give an example: yes Rafael Nadal managed to conquer the Us Open 2020, its ranking would not be altered, since the 2000 winner points in 2019 will continue to be part of its ranking as it cannot be improved in any case. A player can only count his best result in the classification in that tournament that he played in both 2019 and 2020 (examples could be many: Madrid, Rome, Cincinnati, Us Open …)
So, in an attempt to give players the flexibility to stay home if they see fit, players they will not lose points of their ranking in any case. They can only improve it. Yes Diego SchwartzmanFor example, you decide not to attend either the North American or the European tour, you will keep in the classification the points that you have obtained in these tournaments during the year 2019. In case you do, and, to give an example, get to the final of the Us Open, it will be this result that counts in its ranking, replacing the quarterfinals of 2019.
– And in 2021 ?: The ATP has planned this new system until the end of 2020. Next year, if there are no news or tweaks on the circuit (seeing the evolution of the virus, curves are coming), the rankings will normalize and the players will begin to defend their 18 best results … harvested, yes, in a much longer period of time: from March 2019 to December 2020, as we have already mentioned.
– And the ATP Finals ?: Perhaps one of the strangest points in this new ranking may be the method of qualifying for the ATP finals. As players can keep their 2019 scores, only stellar performances by tennis players that greatly improve their performance could make us see new players in the final tournament of the year. In a paradox of fate, the results in 2019 could serve to classify you to the tournament where the eight best are … in a calendar year, on paper.
– Other sections to consider: We are talking a lot about what it is to defend the points harvested in 2019, but what happens if a player plays a tournament that he did not play last year? Whether his performance will serve him well in the ranking or not will depend on whether he falls within his 18 best results in that 22-month period. It can never harm or subtract points, and will compute in the ranking similar to how it has been in recent years.
Furthermore, the ATP makes a rather interesting point: NO tournament to be played in the remainder of 2020 will be considered as ‘required’. Finally, for the Us Open, the seed system will be carried out after two weeks of action on the circuit (Washington and Cincinnati) and will take into account the new scoring system, while for these previous tournaments the ranking will be used frozen that has been maintained since March.
So everything seems ready for tennis to return. The new scoring system is established, the new calendar has laid its foundations and only the most important thing is missing: the players’ decision. Without obligation, with relatively little margin to score points, everything indicates that there are two great factors for the motivation of tennis players: the prize money for those who need a source of income and the struggles to enter history (historical Grand Slams race, possibility of fishing a first Major in this troubled river) for the best. Show must go on.