Understanding the Women’s Pro Tour #1

Creative Commons Licensephoto credit:mptsk

The women’s professional tennis tour is commonly referred to as the WTA Tour. Part of the WTA’s responsibilities is to sell sponsorship naming rights in order to increase financial backing for women’s professional tennis. As a result of sponsorship rights, the official name of the women’s professional tennis tour is the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. 

Firstly, WTA stands for Women’s Tennis Association. The WTA Tour has 5 main categories of tournaments in which women’s ranking points are awarded. Like the men’s ATP World Tour, the WTA tour has renamed 2 of it’s 4 tournament categories for 2009. 

These 5 main categories of tournaments are now known as:

  • Premier Mandatory;
  • Premier Five;
  • Premier;
  • International; and
  • The Sony Ericsson Championships.

In 2009 there are 4 Premier Mandatory events, 5 Premier Five tournaments and 10 Premier tournaments. Prior to 2009 all of the Premier group of tournaments were known as Tier 1 and Tier 2 events.

There are 31 International events this year, in previous years these were known as Tier 3 and Tier 4 events. The Sony Ericsson Championships are held at the end of each year and only the top 8 ranked female players are eligible to play. This year the Championships will be held in Doha in October and are coordinated in association with the ITF.

The ITF is formally known as the International Tennis Federation. The ITF is the governing body for a further 2 categories of tournaments in which women’s ranking points are offered. These are known as:

  • The Grand Slam events; and
  • The ITF Women’s Circuit. 

There are 4 Grand Slam events each year and they offer the winner 2,000 ranking points. The ITF Women’s Circuit events offer between 12 and 150 ranking points for the winner, which is the lowest amount in any tournament.

The Premier Mandatory events offers 1000 ranking points to the winner, compared to the 800 ranking points on offer to the winner of a Premier Five event. Premier event winners earn 470 ranking points; where as International event winners earn 280 ranking points.

All players who compete in the Sony Ericsson Championships earn ranking points. The maximum number of ranking points that can be won is 1,500 if the winner of the event goes through undefeated i.e. wins all 5 matches.

This tournament structure and the ranking points system form the basis for how women’s overall rankings are calculated. Women’s rankings will be discussed in greater detail in a future post. The aim of this category: “The Tour: Explained” is to make it easy for everybody to understand the tour.

Today’s POST is dedicated to Mima Jausovec. Jausovec was born on this day in 1956 and won her Grand Slam singles title at the French Open in 1977 at Roland Garros. The Slovenian was runner-up at the same event in 1978 and again in 1983 to Chris Evert.

© OnCourtAdvantage.com 2009