ATP makes significant boost to prize money at Challenger Tour level

The ATP has announced a significant increase in the number of Challenger Tour events and (more importantly) their prize money for 2023

Benoit Paire at the Madrid Open Benoit Paire at the Madrid Open Image Credit: Zuma / Panoramic

The second division of tennis is beefing up its game. No doubt in a bid to respond to the recurring grumbling of the army of “shadow players” in professional tennis, who have long complained that their cause is stagnant compared to that of the elite players, the ATP announced on Friday a vast plan to revive the Challenger Tour circuit by 2023.

The most dramatic big boost announcement: an overall increase in prize money from a total of $13.2 million in 2022 to $21.1 million in 2023, a 60 percent increase. This, according to the ATP, will not only benefit the winners and finalists but will be more evenly distributed round by round.

This increase is also linked, mechanically, to the number of events, since the 2023 calendar will list 195 Challenger Tour events, compared to 183 in 2022. Here again, the ATP promises a better distribution of these tournaments in terms of surface and geographical positioning, even if the 2023 calendar has not yet been revealed.

The said calendar will finally be simplified into four categories of tournaments (from the current six): the 50s, 75s, 100s and 125s, with the added bonus of three Premium Challengers (175s) to be held during the second weeks of Indian Wells, Rome and Madrid, tournaments played over a fortnight from next year.

“The Challenger Tour is the launching pad for the professional circuit, and the announcement we have just made is a crucial step forward in our ecosystem,” ATP president Andrea Gaudenzi said in a statement.

“Our plan increases the potential prize money for players and allows for a better balance between tournament categories, surfaces and regions. It also includes improving the standards of each tournament. This is just the beginning. Further improvements will be made in the months and years to come.”

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