Nice article: (sorry if it was posted already)
A Quarter of Missing Challengers
The ATP Challenger calendar (PDF) has been released for the first quarter of 2013, and it looks mighty thin.
In the next three months, we can expect 21 challenger events, compared to 30 in Q1 2012 and 33 in Q1 2011. (Thanks to Foot Soldiers of Tennis for raising the issue.) For those challenger fans among us, that’s clearly bad news. Less competitive tennis always is. It could also hurt many up-and-coming players, which means it should concern all fans of men’s tennis.
For the last twenty years, challenger tennis has generally been on the rise, with 147 tournaments at that level last year compared to only 88 in 1992. The number peaked in 2007 and 2008 with 173 and 175 challenger events, respectively.More http://heavytopspin.com/2012/12/26/a...g-challengers/