The ATP announced on Thursday afternoon that they intend to increase prize money in an attempt to further enhance the ATP Challenger Tour.
The tour, which comprises of approximately 150 events annually, is the stepping-stone for elite competitors who want to head to the ATP World Tour. With that in mind, the increases will take place at the lower end of the spectrum of events – a predicted 100% increase in minimum prize money within the next 10 years.
“Men’s professional tennis is enjoying one of the most successful periods in its history, however it is essential that we see growth across all levels of the game,” said Chris Kermode, ATP Executive Chairman & President. “Almost every player earns their stripes on the Challenger Tour before they make it on the ATP World Tour and every bit of extra prize money helps as they look to forge a career in men’s professional tennis. The ATP is committed to making that career path as viable as possible.”
In 2007, the minimum prize money was $25,000 + hospitality. By 2014, the minimum was $40,000 + hospitality. This will rise to $50,000 in 2015. The tour also plans to offer additional umpires, physiotherapists and other PR staff to help players with accessibility.
The ATP also announced that they will look to alter the Challenger schedule so that it resembles the World Tour one, thus reducing travel costs.
‘We need to get the right Challenger events in the right weeks, reducing travel costs and improving the medical services, player education, officiating and marketing at these events,” added Kermode. “We are taking a holistic approach as we look to make the time players spend at the Challenger level more sustainable.”