– Groundbreaking partnership set to revolutionize the tennis landscape by creating and expanding opportunities for professional tennis players on and off the court –
– First wave of initiatives includes proposal to add ATP and WTA points to UTR Pro Tennis Tour –
June 30, 2023 (London) — With a joint commitment to expanding opportunities for professional women’s and men’s tennis players on and off the court, the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA) and Universal Tennis announce a strategic partnership focused on delivering long-term value to the global tennis community by growing and innovating the sport.
“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,” said Novak Djokovic, 23-time Grand Slam champion, world No. 2, and PTPA co-founder.
“We have witnessed the PTPA’s emergence and support their advocacy of professional tennis players worldwide. This collaboration aligns with our mission to improve tennis globally,” said Mark Leschly, Universal Tennis Chairman and CEO. “Together, we’ll explore new ways to bring value to players, fans, and the tennis community.”
A highlight of the collaboration is the PTPA’s support for Universal Tennis’ proposal to add ATP and WTA points into the UTR Pro Tennis Tour (PTT) to further strengthen and invest in the professional player pathway. With over 180 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 playing professional tennis.
“In advocating for, and contributing to, the best vision and structure of tennis globally, we have evidence of how the UTR Pro Tennis Tour can benefit players and call upon the ATP and WTA and other governing bodies for its inclusion in the professional pathway,” said Ahmad Nassar, PTPA Executive Director. “Together, we’ll continue to explore new ways to innovate and benefit players.”
The PTPA and Universal Tennis will collaborate closely to explore further opportunities, leveraging their shared commitment to enhancing the sport, championing player rights, and expanding the boundaries of what’s possible in tennis. Both entities recognize the importance of high integrity, quality competition, and anti-corruption at all levels of the sport, both on and off the court.
“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,” said Ons Jabeur, PTPA Executive Committee member and world No. 6.
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 that guarantee four competitive matches per week. Demonstrating the global growth in demand, the tour has expanded from an initial set of 15 countries in 2021 to 26 in 2023.
“My first event back after having my son was a PTT event in Bradenton, Fla. It was the best experience simply because I knew I was guaranteed matches and prize money,” said PTPA member Taylor Townsend. “The UTR Pro Tennis Tour is truly special because they are taking all the elements that you struggle with on the ITF, WTA, and ATP Tours and are using those to create a solid structure of consistent match play, comparable prize money, and reduced travel by having multiple events in the same location over several weeks. I cannot say enough great things about Universal Tennis as a whole, and PTPA coming on board to ensure the integrity and well-being of players is going to make it that much better. I am so excited to see and be a part of this amazing partnership and cannot wait to see what unique opportunities blossom through this union.”
About the PTPA
The PTPA is uniting and mobilizing tennis players around the globe to create transparency and fairness in professional tennis. It is an independent organization dedicated to the advancement and protection of professional men’s and women’s tennis players across their entire professional journey. Through the PTPA, professional tennis players are building an equitable and sustainable competitive environment for players today and for generations to come, including health and safety issues, schedules, rules, purses, benefits and education. The PTPA is headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area with operations globally. Visit www.ptpaplayers.com and connect with @ptpaplayers across social media to learn more.
About Universal Tennis
The mission of Universal Tennis is to connect and grow the sport of tennis with innovative events and a global digital marketplace centered around level-based play. The Universal Tennis Engagement Platform is anchored by the UTR Rating, the world’s most accurate tennis rating system. Universal Tennis provides the tools and solutions to make the UTR Rating relevant and valuable to players, coaches, and organizers in their local tennis communities.
The UTR Pro Tennis Tour began in 2021, with a three-year commitment of over $25M to support tennis globally with prize money, venue support, technology, logistics, and competitive play opportunities. The UTR Pro Tennis Tour was started to create a development tour. Working with host venues and national Federations, Universal Tennis provides additive and complementary opportunities to help emerging players and the broader tennis community. The PTT is broadcast live on Amazon Prime Video, available at no additional cost to Prime members.