ITF Junior Circuit
The ITF Junior Circuit is the premier level for worldwide competition among under-18 junior tennis players. Founded in 1977 with only nine tournaments, the 2011 ITF Junior Circuit offered over 350 tournaments in 118 different countries. Mirroring the ATP and WTA circuits, the ITF Junior Circuit ranks players and crowns a year end world champion.
The ITF Junior Circuit is organized by the International Tennis Federation. Since its creation it has been the beginning of many successful careers. Some Junior World Champions that have gone on to achieve great success on the pro tour include Ivan Lendl, Pat Cash, Gabriela Sabatini, Martina Hingis, Marcelo Ríos, Andy Roddick, Amélie Mauresmo, Roger Federer, and many more. From 1982 through 2003, the ITF Junior Circuit recognized Year End Champions in singles and doubles. Beginning in 2004, the rankings were combined and a single champion in both boys' and girls' competition was recognized.
Just like the ATP and WTA, junior tournaments are divided into different levels. Grade A (the junior Grand Slam tournaments and five other tournaments - the Abierto Juvenil Mexicano, Copa Gerdau, Italian Open, Osaka Mayor's Cup and Orange Bowl), Grades 1-5, and Grade B (regional tournaments). The point distribution for each level of tournaments is as followed:
Junior Exempt project
In 1997, the ITF began the Junior Exempt project to help the world's top junior girls to transition to the professional level. The Junior Exempt project provides wild cards into ITF Women's Circuit events to the girls who ended the year in the top 10 of the world rankings. The number and tournament level of wild cards received depends on how high a player finishes in the top 10. Beginning with the 2007 season, the Junior Exempt project expanded to include the top 10 Boys, who receive wild cards into Futures events.
- Kattan, Keith. Raising Big Smiling Tennis Kids: A Complete Roadmap for Every Parent And Coach. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
- "Circuit history". ITF. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
- "World Champions". ITF. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
- "Ranking Points". International Tennis Federation(ITF). Retrieved 2009-12-26.
- "Junior Exempt Project". International Tennis Federation(ITF). Retrieved 2009-12-26.