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What are the main differences betwwen Challengers and Futures tournaments.

Do conditions under which players may enter them differ? Are there differences in the way points are calculated in the rankings?

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The main differences are which organizations organize and operate the tournaments, how much prize money and how many points are up for grabs, and the rankings of the players in the draw.

Futures: Run by ITF, Prize money of 10-15k, ranking points from 1 point to 35, players ranked anywhere from 2000+ in the world down to about 150 or so.

Challengers: Run by ATP, Prize money up to 150k, ranking points from 3 to 125, players generally ranked higher though lower ranked players can still participate in qualifying draws. Not uncommon for top 100 players to play in Challenger tournaments.

Points earned at either type of tournament both add up to determine your total points and thus, your ranking. Some professional players spend the bulk of their career playing the Challenger series events and rarely ascend to the main ATP tour level events. A player like that would likely have a career high ranking just inside or just outside the top 100 in the world and would probably average a ranking of around 150-250 in the world.

  • I think I have read somewhere that points from Futures are added to ATP rankings a week later after the tournament finished. (I can't find the information on the ITF site now, although I think I have seen it also there.) Is this true? What is the rationale behind this? – Martin Sep 26 '14 at 8:03
  • Well yes, that's true - but that's the same across Challenger and main tour level events also. They wait until the tournaments finish each week (typically on Sundays) and then record all of the results and tally up the points each player won for their result in the tournaments that week. New rankings based on the new point totals are released each Monday. Or are you saying you read that points earned at Futures tournaments aren't counted until a week after the tournament is finished? – jamauss Sep 26 '14 at 8:20
  • Now I found it in 2014 ATP Ranking Rules: The Emirates ATP Rankings or Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings period is the immediate past 52 weeks, except for: a) Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, singles and doubles, which is dropped on the Monday following the last ATP World Tour event of the following year. b) Futures Series tournaments that are only entered into the system on the second Monday following the tournament’s week. – Martin Sep 26 '14 at 9:49
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    Ah, ok. I wasn't aware that some futures results & points lag behind a week. I'm guessing this is because Futures results have to be gathered from all over the world each week and might require more work and collaboration from tournament hosts/directors than at the Challenger and Tour level. It also sounds like those points might possibly expire a week before the 52 weeks is up if it took a week longer to get them entered in the first place. – jamauss Sep 26 '14 at 9:59

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