What Is Protected Ranking In Tennis?

The ATP World Tour is a competitive tennis circuit consisting of 63 tournaments held in 31 countries around the world. Each year, the tour releases a list of players who have performed the best throughout the season. These players are awarded different rankings depending on their achievements in each tournament.

The world’s top-ranked player is the one who amasses the most points in that time period, and his position is determined by how many points he contributes.

To be eligible for ranking points, a player must compete in a minimum of three tour-level events during the course of the year.

The standings are updated after every tournament, and the rankings are used to determine seedings for subsequent tournaments.

The Meaning Of The Term

Being a professional tennis player is a physically demanding job. Not only do players have to be in peak physical condition, but they also have to be able to withstand the rigors of regular travel and competition.

Unfortunately, even the most talented and dedicated players can succumb to injuries that sideline them for months at a time.

Fortunately, the ATP Tour (Association of Tennis Professionals) recognizes that injuries are an unavoidable part of the sport and offers injured players the option of applying for a protected ranking.

Also known as a special ranking, a protected ranking allows an injured player to continue to compete at a high level despite their extended absence from the tour.

In order to be eligible for a protected ranking, a player must have been injured for a minimum of six months and have a doctor’s note verifying the injury.

Players can apply for a protected ranking at any time, but they must do so before the entry deadline for an upcoming tournament. If a player is granted a protected ranking, they will be seeded in the tournament based on their ranking at the time of their injury.

How Does This System Works?

In tennis, a player’s ranking is determined by the number of points they have earned in tournaments over the course of a year. However, sometimes players need to take a break from competing, whether it’s due to injury or simply because they want to take some time off.

In these cases, they can use protected ranking to retain their spot in the rankings.

Protected ranking basically freezes the number of points that the player had at the time of the break, meaning that they don’t have to start from scratch when they return to competition.

This system allows players to take breaks without having to worry about losing their place in the rankings, and as a result, it helps to keep the sport more competitive.

  • A high ranking means a better chance of being placed in the early rounds of a tournament, which increases the chances of winning.
  • A low ranking means a lower seed and less chance of success. Because of this, players often take extended breaks from the sport in order to protect their ranking. This is known as “protected ranking.” 
  • Under protected ranking, a player can stop playing for up to two years without losing any rankings points, as long as they don’t play in more than 15 events. However, if a player wants to return sooner than that, they will need to play in at least 10 events. Otherwise, their ranking will be affected.
  • When a professional tennis player wants to take an extended break from the tour, his ranking will be protected for a specific period of time. This is known as a protected ranking. The player’s ranking is protected for 12 months if he doesn’t play more than three tournaments during his break.
  • If the player takes a long break and doesn’t play more than seven tournaments, his ranking is protected for 24 months. The ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) determines the number of events a player can miss before his ranking is affected. 

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