London, Mar 30 (AFP) The International Tennis Federation (ITF) will restructure the lower levels of the sport in a bid to significantly reduce the number of professional players. Also Read - Coronavirus Pandemic: India's Davis Cup Tie Against Finland in September Postponed to 2021

A three-year review by the governing body of professional and junior tennis found not enough players are making a living from the game and that the age of those players is increasing. Also Read - Brazilian Tennis Player Joao Olavo Soares de Souza Handed Life Ban For Match-Fixing

Around 14,000 players currently compete in professional events, almost half of whom do not earn any prize money. Also Read - Nur-Sultan Proposed As Neutral Venue for India-Pakistan Davis Cup Tie

The ITF would like to reduce this to no more than 750 men and 750 women and the reforms, which have been approved by the ITF board, is for the introduction of a new Transition Tour from 2019.

The new tour would replace the lowest level of professional tournaments on the ITF Pro Circuit, with players earning ITF entry points instead of ATP or WTA ranking points.

The two systems will be linked to ensure that the more successful players are able to use their entry points to gain acceptance into higher-level tournaments.

Transition Tour events will be held within a localised circuit structure in an effort to reduce costs for players and tournament organisers.

“Over 14,000 players competed at professional level last year, which is simply too many. Radical changes are needed to address the issues of transition between the junior and professional game, playing affordability and tournament cost,” ITF president David Haggerty said.

“The next step is to ensure the structure of professional tennis is fit for purpose through a targeted job opportunities approach that will create a smaller group of true professional players.” (AFP) PDS

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.