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Doubles Reforms Finalized
ATP Finalizes Doubles Reforms
Governing body insures doubles' future with 2003 draw size, prize money adjustments.
Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, U.S.A - Changes approved by the ATP Board at recent meetings in Moscow will insure that doubles continues to serve its traditional role in the sport by making it more economically viable and operationally manageable for tournaments. The decisions are the culmination of a two-year review of doubles.
The measures include a reallocation of prize money between singles and doubles events at all tournaments; a revamped doubles Entry System that will provide an appropriate balance between players with strong singles and doubles rankings, and those with only strong doubles rankings; and a commitment to maintaining the current 16 doubles teams draw size at the majority of ATP tournaments while reducing the draws at tournaments with draw sizes above the minimum.
The reallocation of prize money, coupled with a reduction in total doubles purses, will result in an increase in total prize money for singles events in 2003 and a decrease for doubles. Tennis Masters Series tournaments will now allocate 83 percent of their total prize money to their singles events and 17 percent to doubles. In 2002, it was a 78/22 split. All other ATP tournaments will reallocate prize money from 75 singles/25 doubles that they pay in 2002 to 80/20 in 2003.
"We're pleased that these changes allow doubles to maintain its valued role in the ATP tournament experience," said ATP Chief Executive Officer Mark Miles. "The Board felt that the current system of prize money payments was outdated and needed to better reflect the business appeal of the game, which leans much more heavily today on the singles players."
Effective from 2003, any ATP tournaments with doubles draw sizes above the minimum 16 will be reduced in order to provide additional flexibility in scheduling matches. This means that any tournament with a doubles draw size of 16 will remain the same while tournaments with 24-team draws will drop to 16 in 2003; 28 draws to 24; and 32 draws to 24.
The balance of the draw composition will be altered to allow for more direct acceptances in doubles competitions to be based on singles rankings. For example, in a standard 16-team draw tournament, eight teams will be direct acceptances using a team's doubles rankings, five teams will be comprised of players using their singles or doubles rankings, and three teams will be awarded wild cards. These changes will eliminate the barriers that prevented top singles players, who play doubles rarely and thus don't have high doubles rankings, from playing doubles.
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