The South African Airways ATP Rankings is simply known by fans as the ATP ranking. Rafael Nadal is for instance No. 1 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings, so he is said to be the No. 1 player in the world.
Now here an excerpt of the official homepage of the ATP (www.atpworldtour.com):
“The South African Airways ATP Rankings is the ATP’s historical objective merit-based method used for determining entry and seeding in all tournaments for both singles and doubles, except as modified for World Team Championship and Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.
The South African Airways ATP Rankings period is the immediate past 52 weeks, except for:
(i) The Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, which is dropped on the Monday following the last regular-season ATP event of the following year;
(ii) Futures Series Tournaments that are only entered into the System on the second Monday following the Tournament’s week. Once entered, all Tournaments, except for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, remain in the System for 52 consecutive weeks.”
It was said that changes have been made in order to simplify the system for fans. Unfortunately I have to say that when I read all the new rules and changes made, I am more confused than ever. For me the old system with the Champions Race and the ATP ranking was very easy to understand.
Anyway, major changes that have been made are that this year for the first time ever, Davis Cup is going to count in the ranking (only for World Group and World Group Playoff ties). Another big change is the system of the Master Series which is now called ATP World Tour Masters. A player who finished the season 2008 in the Top 30 is in 2009 required to compete in the four Grand Slam tournaments and 8 ATP World Masters 1000 tournaments. In addition, the Best 4 ATP World Tour 500 and Best 2 other events (ATP World Tour 250 and Challengers) will be counted towards a player’s ranking. If a player misses one of those events he will receive a 0-pointer in his ranking, accept if the player is out of competition for 30 or more days due to verified injury.
Another innovation is that, like the Davis Cup, the World Team Cup will also count in the South African Airways Rankings.
The end of the year’s Master Cup will hence be called Barclays ATP World Tour Finals and will be held permanently in London.