“Last year towards the end of the season, I put myself in a good position. Had the changes not occurred I’d be close the Top 300 right now... You don't know what your next tournament is going to be. It's really hard to keep up that motivation. I go through practice days just existing out there."
This week's episode of Inside the Tour takes an in-depth look at the new ITF World Tennis Tour with American pro Jared Hiltzik. Like a lot of people, podcast co-hosts Nina Pantic and Irina Falconi are still trying to make sense of the new tour that started in January 2019.
Players at Hiltzik's level (largely in the No. 300 - No. 500 range) now have two pro rankings: one for the ITF World Tennis Tour, and one for the ATP Tour. Each ranking is determined by ranking points earned at tournaments on the respective tours (with some exceptions). Hiltzik is currently ranked No. 381 on the ATP (with 43 points) and No. 309 on the ITF (with 240 points)—a "no man’s zone."
His ATP ranking isn't high enough to get him into Challenger tournaments, which are needed to boost his ATP ranking, so he's forced to drop down into the $15,000 and $25,000 ITF events, where can only earn ITF points, or extremely minimal ATP points.
Players and coaches, including Toni Nadal, have spoken out against the new ITF tour. Hiltzik, still trying to figure out his schedule under the new rules, will be the top seed at the men's open in Ojai next week.