ATP Challenger Tour
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The ATP Challenger Tour, known until the end of 2008 as the ATP Challenger Series, is a series of international men's professional tennis tournaments. The top tier of men's tennis is the ATP World Tour, Challenger Tour events are the second highest level of competition, and the Futures tournaments on the ITF Men's Circuit are the third and final tier of international professional competition. The ATP Challenger Tour is administered by the Association of Tennis Professionals. This differs from women's tennis, where all the tournaments below WTA Tour level, i.e. the equivalent of both Challengers and Futures, form part of the ITF Women's Circuit administered by the International Tennis Federation. Players who succeed on the ATP Challenger Tour earn sufficient ranking points to become eligible for main draw or qualifying draw entry at ATP World Tour tournaments.
History of challenger events
The first challenger events held on what was the equivalent of today's ATP Tour took place in 1978. Eighteen events were held in that year in total. Two were held on the week beginning January 8, one in Auckland and another in Hobart. The next events were held one at a time beginning June 18 and ending August 18 in the following locations, in order: Shreveport, Birmingham, Alabama, Asheville, Raleigh, Hilton Head, Virginia Beach, Wall, New Jersey, Cape Cod, and Lancaster, PA.
Events continued after a one-month hiatus with two begun September 24 and 25, one in Tinton Falls, New Jersey and in Lincoln, Nebraska respectively. The following week saw one event played, in Salt Lake City, then two played simultaneously in Tel Aviv and San Ramon, CA, then one played the following week in Pasadena. A final event was played a month later in Kyoto. Compare this schedule to the one for 2008 that saw 178 events played in more than 40 countries.
Present-day prize money and ranking points
Challenger tournaments offer total prize money ranging from $25,000 up to $150,000, which, along with whether the tournament provides hospitality (food and lodging) to the players, determines the number of points a player gets for winning each match in the tournament.
Hospitality bumps the points distribution up one level, and the points to the overall winner range from 50 points for a $25K tournament to 100 points for $150K with Hospitality, in contrast of ATP-level tournaments, which offer total prize money from $400K to over $6 Million and points to the overall winners from 250 to 2000.
As a point of reference, player rankings are based on points accumulated in the previous 52 weeks, and in any given week of rankings, a player who has earned 400 points in the last 52 weeks would be ranked around the 100th position. 200 points would get him a ranking near 200th, while with 100 points he would get to about the 350th, and 50 points would put him close to the 500th. So rankings points earned in Challengers can help a player to move up in the rankings quickly.
Players have usually had success at the Futures tournaments of the ATP Tour before competing in Challengers. Due to the lower level of points and money available at the Challenger level, most players in a Challenger have a world ranking of 100 to 500 for a $25K tournament and 50 to 250 for a $150K tournament.
An exception happens during the second week of a Grand Slam tournament, when top-100 players who have already lost in the Slam try to take a wild card entry into a Challenger tournament beginning that second week.
In February 2007, Tretorn became the official ball of the Challenger Series, and the sponsor of a new series consisting of those Challenger tournaments with prize money of $100,000 or more.
See also 2009 ATP Challenger Tour
See also 2010 ATP Challenger Tour
- Entry Points and Prize Money Table
- US Open Prize Money
- Challengers not during the 2nd Week of a Grand Slam
- Challenger Example from 2nd Week of French Open
- Article mentioning Agassi's Las Vegas Challenger
- Overview from ATPtennis.com