ATP Ranking Method and Points Distribution: tennis ranking system

The game of Tennis is a lovely one that can be so unpredictable. This is a sport in which the number one can suddenly become number 50, and number 50 can be ranked number 1 in 52 weeks. There is no stage in a tournament that a player cannot make a comeback and win.

The uncertainty and unpredictability of Tennis are what brought about the ATP ranking system. The ATP Tennis ranking is not about legacy but form. These rankings are solely based on the players’ performance.

Now, what do I mean? Every tournament is a point added or not, depending on what stage a player gets to or drops out. The scores are collated, calculated, and awarded for 52 weeks.

ATP is an acronym for the Association of Tennis Players. This is widely known in the world of Tennis as this body is responsible for the ranking of each player at the end of the year.

The ATP Tennis ranking is also known as world ranking, although a lot of people do not understand how these ranks are derived.

Since its introduction, the ATP ranking has changed several times, in terms of the method used in calculating players’ ranking points.  Do not confuse; the technique explained in this article has been in use since 2009 to date.

You should also note the points distribution and ranking does not outrightly declare anyone player the best.

This then makes you wonder, how exactly does this ranking come about? Rest assured, your question would be addressed shortly.

us open

How Does My Favorite Get Ranked?

The ATP ranking is a method of selecting and arranging players based on their performance in terms of the number of tournaments they participate in.

Such that the prestige of each competition differs from one to another. Therefore, the more prestigious a tournament is the higher the points, therefore the Grand Slam Tournament awards the most points.

Asides the importance of the tournament, the stages also determine the ranking of the players. This affects the players in that, the more significant the scene, the higher the points awarded to players. These criteria are what determine who gets to be the number one.

This is a method adopted by the Association of Tennis Professional as an attempt to provide standards and objectivity.

The rankings changes every week on Mondays, and the points are dropped 52 weeks after being awarded. This is except ATP Finals because the ends get lost on the Monday following the last ATP Tour event of the next year.

A player’s rankings is based according to the points accumulated in the following tournaments. There are about 19 tournaments, namely:

  1. The four major Grand Slam Tournaments include the French Open, US Open, Australian Open, and Wimbledon.
  2. The eight Mandatory ATP Tour Masters 1000, which include Paris, Madrid, Rome Miami etc.
  3. The six best results from Non Mandatory ATP events. All ATP Tour 500, Davis Cup, ATP Tour 250, ATP Challenger Tour, Future Series, the previous ATP event. Such that winning 10 games doesn’t count much as only six would be used.
  4. ATP Finals.

Points are rewarded as follows:

ATP Point Distribution

ATP Point Distribution

Take, for instance, the latest ranking, sets Novak Djokovic as the number one. Novak Djokovic as of  16/03/2020 has a total of 10,220 points. Let’s check how he received those 10,220 points and the number one ATP ranking.

Novak Djokovic ATP rankings

Note that the top 30 players from the previous end of the year ranking are to play at least 4 ATP 500’s during the current year, a minimum of one event following the US Open.


I believe with the explanation given above; Tennis lovers can now understand the ATP ranking method and how points are distributed to players.

The ATP rankings come out once every week, Mondays, to be precise. Sadly, the Olympics do not add to either of the rankings; neither does the Davis Cup. So also is beating a top seed, it does not result in any addition of points.

These things are straightforward to understand, it just takes paying close attention to details, and you are good to go. It is not enough to love the game, talk about it, watch it, or knowing who is topping the list for the week. It is essential to understand how the number one gets there.

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