Understanding the ITF Junior Tour #1

Creative Commons Licensephoto credit:ccho

In this ITF Junior Tennis Tour category post we will explore the girl’s and boy’s international junior tennis tours and make it easier for our readers to understand exactly how the tours work.

ITF stands for International Tennis Federation. The junior tennis tour is called the ITF Junior Tour and has only one age group, which is 18 years and under. 18 years and under means you can play to the end of the year in which you turn 18 but are ineligible to play from January 1st of year that you will turn 19 years of age.

The ITF Junior Age Eligibility Rule states that a player must have turned 13 years old prior the 1st day’s play of the Main Draw in the ITF Junior tournament that they apply to participate in.

There will be more than 350 ITF Junior Tour tournaments held in 2010 spread out across 115 countries in the world. At the end of each year a Junior World Champion is honoured in both the girl’s and boy’s tours. 2005 Girls’ World Junior Champion Victoria Azarenka and 2004 Boy’s World Junior Champion Gael Monfils have transitioned into the top end of professional tennis rankings.

There are 6 categories of events on the ITF Junior Tour. Grade A events offer the most ranking points with Grade 1 being the 2nd highest category and so on. Therefore, Grade 5 is the lowest category of ITF junior tournament. The following are the 6 categories:

  • Grade A;
  • Grade 1;
  • Grade 2;
  • Grade 3;
  • Grade 4; and
  • Grade 5
There are 9 Grade A tournaments each year and they are the most important singles events that a junior ITF player can play. 4 of these are the Junior Grand Slam tournaments and are the:
  1. Australian Open Junior Championships (Hard Court);
  2. Roland Garros Junior Championships (Clay);
  3. The Junior Championships, Wimbledon (Grass); and
  4. US Open Junior Tennis Championships (Hard court)

The other 5 Grade A events on the ITF Junior Tour are:

  • Casablanca Cup, Tlalnepantla, Mexico (Hard court);
  • Gerdau Cup, Porto Alegre, Brazil (Clay);
  • Italian Open, Milan, Italy (Clay);
  • Osaka Mayors Cup, Osaka, Japan (Hard court); and the
  • Orange Bowl, Key Biscayne, Florida, USA (Hard court)

Pictured above is former WTA World No.1 and 7-time Grand Slam singles champion Justine Henin just after making contact with her forehand drive at the US Open in 2005. Henin made the quarter finals of both the US Open and Wimbledon junior singles events and won the Roland Garros junior singles tournament when she was 15 years old.

More ITF Junior Tour information will be covered in future posts on this tennis website. If YOU would like to know something about the ITF Juniors you can ask your question/s by making a comment below.

Click these links on this tennis website for further ITF Junior Tennis Tour posts: Understanding ITF Junior Tour Rankings #1, Tennis in Hong Kong: ITF Junior Event and Hong Kong ITF Junior Tennis Results.

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