WTA and ATP Are Facing a Year of Formative Change

Steve Simon was feeling optimistic.

Despite a 2023 season that ended with an avalanche of grumbling following the WTA Finals in Cancún, Mexico, which featured bad weather, a potentially dangerous center court and unrelenting complaints from the players, Simon, the chairman and chief executive of the women’s tour, was doing everything he could to move forward into 2024.

“The WTA is very fine,” Simon said by video call in mid-December, just after it was announced that the WTA will soon separate the roles of chairman and chief executive, with Simon becoming executive chairman. He no longer will be in charge of day-to-day operations and instead will be tasked with, as he said, “working on strategic geopolitical issues, which are now very prevalent and affecting our business in many different ways.”

There are formative changes coming to the WTA and ATP this year. The ATP has put into place its OneVision strategic plan designed to align the interests of players and tournaments with an eye toward enhancing the fan experience while also creating more lucrative media contracts.

Part of the plan involves increasing the duration and draw size at several ATP tournaments. Madrid, Rome and Shanghai all went from one-week, 56-player-draw events to 12-day, 96-draw tournaments in 2023. Canada and Cincinnati will do the same in 2025. Indian Wells and Miami are already staged that way.

All are Masters 1000 tournaments, the highest level in terms of prize money and ranking points other than the four majors — the Australian, French, and United States Opens and Wimbledon. Several of the tournaments are combined men’s and women’s events. Other tournaments, like ones in Dallas, Munich and Doha, Qatar, are increasing in value while still others, including Atlanta and Newport, R.I., are falling off the calendar after this year.

Daniil Medvedev after winning the Qatar Open in Doha last year. The tournament is one of several ATP events increasing in value this year.Credit…Mohamed Farag/Getty Images

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