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Tennis: Professional Organizations

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The premier professional tennis organizations are the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) for men players and the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) for women players. Both organizations have a major tour which is comprised of tennis tournaments around the world.

Grand Slams

The top tennis tournaments in the world are the Grand Slams. There are four of them throughout the year: the Australia Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open. There is a separate tournament running over the same two weeks for women, men, doubles, and mixed double. These tournaments allow the top ranked 128 players to enter. They are generally the most important tennis tournaments in terms of prestige and prize money.

The term Grand Slam came from when a player would win all four tournaments in the same year or in a row. Like hitting a home run or grand slam in baseball scores four runs. A career Grand Slam is when a player wins all four tournaments over the course of their career. Now the term even refers just to the actual tournaments.

Other Professional Tennis Tournaments

Of the remaining tournaments, there is still a ranking of importance. Winning certain tournaments give more ranking points than others. Here is a list and the ranking points for the ATP:


Grand Slams
ATP World Tour Finals
ATP World TourMasters 1000
ATP World Tour 500 series
ATP World Tour 250 series

Ranking Points



The ATP and WTA also put out rankings on the top players in the world. The points players gain from playing in tournaments determines their ranking. You can see that winning a masters and gaining 2000 points can go a long way in getting a good ranking. You'd have to win 8 of the World Tour 250 series to get the same amount of points.

How do tennis players get paid?

Professional tennis players get winnings for how well they do in each tournament. Different tournaments have different amounts of prize money. The most money goes to the winner. For example, in the 2010 US Open the singles winners get $1,700,000 and second place gets $800,000. Even if you lose in the first round, you get $19,000. They also earn money from endorsing, or advertising, products.

Tennis at the Olympics

In 1988 tennis became a full medal sport at the Olympics. At first the top players weren't participating, but the Olympics has become a more important part of the sport. The top players are now playing and world ranking points are given to the winner.

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