3 min read

All England Lawn Tennis Club backs proposal for new elite tennis circuit


The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) is throwing its support behind the proposal to establish a new elite tennis tournament circuit, as reported by The Telegraph.

The plan, first brought to light in November, aims to merge the four Grand Slam events with 10 combined tournaments to create a ‘Premium Tour’ model. The proposal seeks to ensure equal prizemoney and recognition for female tennis players throughout the season.

Debbie Jevans, Chair of the AELTC, reportedly endorsed the proposal during a recent meeting held in Indian Wells, where WTA 1000 and ATP 1000 Masters tournaments are currently unfolding.

AELTC’s Chief Executive, Sally Bolton, and committee member Tim Henman were also in attendance, with Henman expressing his approval for the proposed changes to the tennis calendar. Four-time Wimbledon semi-finalist Henman advocates for an extended off-season to allow players ample time for rest and preparation, suggesting a minimum of eight weeks for recovery under the new model.

The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) has signalled openness to the idea of joining forces with the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) to establish this innovative ‘Premium Tour’. The tour would feature the top 96 male and female players, encompassing not only the Grand Slams but also prestigious tournaments like the Qatar Open, the Indian Wells Masters and Miami Masters. The Monte Carlo Masters is also under consideration, although concerns linger regarding its venue capacity.

The proposed ‘Premium Tour’ includes a group of 10 additional events, comprising current 1000-level Masters tournaments in Rome, Madrid, Toronto/Montreal, Cincinnati and Beijing, and an unspecified grass-surface event. Representatives from most of these tournaments participated in the meeting at Indian Wells to discuss the proposed plans.

In addition to the elite circuit, the proposal outlines the creation of a secondary development tour catering to male and female players ranked outside the top 100. These players would compete in smaller tournaments throughout the season, providing them with valuable playing opportunities.

While the ATP and WTA have taken differing stances on the proposed calendar revamps – with ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi outlining concerns about the Grand Slams’ increased influence – WTA Chairman Steve Simon has shown greater openness to the concept, citing potential benefits for player compensation.

The ultimate success of the proposed tour hinges on player support, with some players reportedly briefed on the plans during the Australian Open by Tennis Australia and the United States Tennis Association (USTA). As discussions evolve, the tennis world eagerly awaits further developments on this initiative to reshape the sport’s competitive landscape.

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