The ATP and the International Tennis Federation (ITF) have announced the launch of the Accelerator Programme, a groundbreaking initiative designed to accelerate the careers of young aspiring tennis players from 2023.
The programme will see playing opportunities at ATP Challenger Tour-level reserved for the world’s top junior players, creating an accelerated pathway into professional tennis. The new initiative supplements the 2023 Challenger Tour changes announced in September, which signal ATP’s long-term strategy for the circuit through significant prize money increases, a balanced calendar and an increase in total and premium playing opportunities.
The move comes as the ITF continues to develop more opportunities for players to progress through its pathway via the ITF World Tennis Tour on to the top level of the game.
Each player ranked in the Top 20 of the year-end ITF Junior Rankings will be granted up to eight Accelerator Spots at Challenger 50 or 75 tournaments the following season. These will be split between main draw (Top 10) and qualifying (Nos. 11-20), with players also eligible for two Accelerator Spots at M15 or M25 ITF World Tennis Tour events. Players ranked Nos. 21-30 in the year-end ITF Junior Rankings will be eligible for eight spots at M15 or M25 events.
Junior Grand Slam singles champions and finalists will also be eligible for the Accelerator Programme. Champions will receive the same allocation of main draw opportunities as the Top 10 group, while finalists will join players ranked Nos. 11-20 in receiving access into qualifying.
Andrea Gaudenzi, ATP Chairman: “Tennis has always been a sport that rewards hard work, and we must create an environment that allows young, aspiring players to reach their potential. It is our responsibility to open the door to opportunity and allow them to thrive in the sport. The Accelerator Programme is creating a pathway for the next generation of champions and we look forward to seeing it come into play from 2023.”
Further bolstering the Accelerator Programme is a new ‘Promotion’ mechanic, which allows juniors ranked in the year-end Top 20 and junior Grand Slam champions and finalists who achieve direct acceptance by Pepperstone ATP Ranking into ATP Challenger qualifying, to be promoted into the main draw. The promotion mechanic will be available across all Challenger categories.
David Haggerty, ITF President: “It is important that tennis works together to create new opportunities for young players. By collaborating, we can create a brighter future for the sport and ensure that future generations have opportunities to progress to the top of the game. We are excited to be part of the effort to make this happen.”
Junior players eligible for the 2023 Accelerator Programme will be based off the year-end ITF Junior Rankings, calculated today on Monday, 12 December 2022.