Since August 1973, the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) has released a weekly ranking of the world’s top tennis players. The ATP rankings are different from that of several other sports because rankings aren’t determined by voters who think the best players are. Instead, the rankings are set based on the amount of points gathered in the previous 52 weeks on the ATP Tour.
You may see a player win an ATP tournament but not make much movement, while another tournament can lead to someone jumping dozens, if not hundreds, of spots in the rankings. So how is the number of points determined? Let’s take a closer look at the ATP rankings points system.
If a player wants to break into the top five of the ATP rankings, then they better perform well at the grand slam events. The Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open are where the most points are awarded each year. The winner of one of these tournaments is given 2,000 points, which can sustain a high ranking for an entire year.
Simply performing well at a grand slam is worth a lot of points, as well. A finals appearance earns 1,200 points, while the semifinals and quarterfinals pull in 720 and 360 points, respectively. Qualifying for a grand slam is a 25-point bonus and making it to the round of 128 is another 10 points.
While not a part of the grand slam schedule, the ATP Finals is a great way for the top players to earn bonus points. The top eight players of the year advance to the ATP Finals, and can earn up to 1,500 points for winning. Each round-robin win during the early stage of the tournament is another 200 points.
Masters, 500, 250 Series
Each year, the ATP has eight tournaments in the Masters 1000 series that are considered mandatory. Players wouldn’t want to miss out on these massive point opportunities, anyway, as the winner of each earns 1,000 points while a finals appearance is worth 600. Players are able to earn 25 points simply for qualifying and start earning big points when reaching the round of 32.
The smaller tournaments in the highest level of the ATP Tour are the 500 and 250 series, with the names giving away how many points a player can earn from winning. Qualifying bonuses are reduced to 20 and 12 points, respectively, for these tournaments. For those keeping track, it would take eight ATP 250 Series tournament wins to match just one grand slam championship.
The second tier of the ATP is known as the Challenger Tour, and it has plenty of great opportunities for rising stars and veterans alike some significant points opportunities. Just like the highest tier, the Challenger Tour has tournaments with a designated amount of points and are named as such. For example, the top events are the Challenger 125 tournaments, followed by Challenger 110, 100, etc.
For a lot of tennis professionals that don’t have aspirations of competing against the top 10 players in the world, the Challenger Tour is a great way to simply be included in the rankings. Qualifying for the lowest tournaments, the Challenger 50, earns three points and gets a player’s name on the same list as the likes of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovich.
Just below the Challenger Tour in terms of prestige is the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Men’s World Tennis Tour, which is the final tier of professional tennis. While the Challenger Tour is typically made up of solid players that aren’t at the elite level, the ITF Tour is where you’ll find notable junior players who have hopes of entering the top 100.
There are several ITF tournaments on a weekly basis, most of which have ATP points attached. Tournaments are designated as M25 or M15. Not only do the winners of these tournaments receive 25 or 15 ATP points for a victory in these tournaments, but the prize pool is $25,000 or $15,000.
If you’re wondering how many points it would take to reach an elite ranking in the top 20, it changes on a weekly basis. However, a player can expect to need around 2,000 points at the very least to make it that high.