Two weeks ago, the PTPA (Professional Tennis Players Association) announced its partnership with Universal Tennis, a technology company known for creating the UTR Rating and UTR Pro Tennis Tour. The partnership plans to deliver long-term value to the tennis community.
The PTPA was founded in 2021 by Novak Djokovic and Vasek Pospisil as a not-for-profit corporation to address player challenges and influence fair change in professional tennis. Universal Tennis’ mission is to grow tennis globally through innovative events, technology solutions, and a developmental tour for aspiring pros called the UTR Pro Tennis Tour (PTT).
The PTPA and Universal Tennis will collaborate closely to explore opportunities, leverage their shared commitment to innovating tennis, champion player rights, and stretch the limits of what’s possible.
“The PTPA brings an ambitious agenda for advocating for the rights and interests of players, while Universal Tennis, renowned for its innovative technology, UTR Pro Tennis Tour, and global reach, can provide the necessary execution and scale,” Djokovic said in a press release.
The PTPA’s executive committee was named at the start of 2023 and includes Djokovic, Pospisil, Ons Jabeur, Paula Badosa, Hubert Hurkacz, John Isner, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, and Zheng Saisai.
“I have always believed in pushing boundaries both in my own tennis and for the sport as a whole. I am excited about the potential collaboration possibilities between the PTPA and Universal Tennis,” Jabeur said.
The PTPA has already shown support for Universal Tennis’ proposal to add ATP and WTA points into the PTT to further strengthen its professional pathway, which has a global scale and recently launched its live stream on Amazon Prime Video. With 187 PTT tournaments throughout the world in 2023 and a combined prize money of nearly $4 million USD per year, adding points will provide more opportunities for players to earn a living.
At Wimbledon earlier this week, the WTA rejected the PTT’s proposal to add points in 2024. The PTPA released a statement calling for reconsideration.
The WTA’s rejection of the UTR Pro Tennis Tour’s proposal to include WTA ranking points in 2024 is a disappointing decision. It reflects the WTA’s focus on politics and control rather than enhancing player opportunities and well-being.
There is a substantial disparity between the average $25K tournament cutoffs for women (ranked 685) and men (ranked 1,174) in 2022 which further highlights the limited opportunities for emerging women professional players. Rejecting a proposal that would add one hundred incremental tournaments to the existing IT schedule and millions of dollars in prize money into the points pathway, without offering a viable alternative plan, is unacceptable.
We strongly urge the WT Board to reconsider this decision promptly, provide transparent reasoning, and stop denying players these crucial opportunities. The time has come for the WTA to prioritize player interests and foster the growth of the sport.
The UTR Pro Tennis Tour launched in January 2021 with a three-year investment of over $25 million USD to provide players with $25K events worldwide that guarantee prize money and multiple matches per week. The tour has expanded from an initial set of 15 countries in 2021 to 26 in 2023 and players have included the likes of Taylor Townsend, Ben Shelton, Jenson Brooksby, Katie Volynets, and many more.