The International Tennis Federation (ITF) was established in the year 1913 and is the governing body for world tennis. The ITF’s governance responsibilities include maintaining and enforcing the rules of tennis, regulating international team competitions, promoting the game, and preserving the sport’s integrity via anti-doping and anti-corruption programs.
The ITF maintains rankings for Junior, Pro, Seniors, Wheelchair and Beach tennis tournaments held around the world. These rankings help a player measure themselves in relation to others and helps them on the road to their professional tennis career, or for competition purposes.
ITF Juniors Circuit
The first step for any potential chance at a tennis career starts at the ITF Juniors level. Where players under the age of 18 can compete and play to achieve the best ranking they can in their junior years.
Tournaments are held around the world, usually conducted by the national associations. At any point of time there are at least 5 tournaments happening in the same week in as many countries. Players can enter any tournament, in any country, via the ITF website using their IPIN number.
Applying for the IPIN can be done via the ITF website and costs $40 per year for the Junior Circuit.
Top players in the Junior Circuit usually go on to play the ITF Pro Circuit, as a stepping stone, before they can embark on a career with the ATP or the WTA.
The best way to gather points in the Junior Circuit, as quickly as possible, is to make a partnership with another player and play all the Doubles events, along with the Singles events, as the points for both Singles and Doubles are added together for a combined ranking. This is not the case on the Pro Circuit, where the points are separated.
ITF Pro Circuit
The Pro Circuit of the ITF also has tournaments happening all around the world, here too you will find at least half a dozen tournaments being conducted every week.
In the Men’s category, there are $15,000 and $25,000 tournaments.
In the Women’s category, there are tournaments held with prize money ranging from $15,000 to $100,000.
Each tournament level carries different weight-age in terms of points awarded. The more tournaments you play and win rounds in, or win outright, the higher you will see your rank climb.
Once you get into the Top 250 (on average) you can enter to play in any of the 4 Grand Slam qualifying events, which are also conducted by the ITF. From there on it’s your hard work and knowledge of the game which can take you to the heights you want to achieve.
Wildcards & Junior Exempt
Tournament directors offer wild cards for 4 – 8 players in the main and qualifying rounds of a tournament (Junior and Pro), depending on the draw size. Any player can request one by writing directly to them, the information for this is available on the Fact Sheet of the tournament you will be playing.
Junior Exempt is a special program devised for the top players on the Junior Circuit to get wildcards into the main draw of Pro Circuit tournaments. This helps any top ranked player make an easier transition to the Pro level.
The India Tennis League (ITL) has started conducting “Road to ITF” tournaments from 2018 onwards to help players get used to the best of 3 sets format that is used in the Junior Circuit. For more information on these tournaments view our calendar for the next scheduled event.