The Complete Guide To The Tennis Calendar Year, Encompassing The Majors, The ATP And The WTA Tour, The Fed Cup And The Davis Cup
In the following article I will explain how the tennis calendar works, the relevance of certain parts of the year, the Grand Slams and the build up to them, and the importance of the end of year Championships.
Australian Open and the Build Up
The tennis season is rare in sport, as it is a season that closely follows the calendar year, with the season starting in the first week of the year and finishing at the end of November. Another rarity that the tennis season has, is that one of the biggest events of the year takes place after just two weeks of action – the Australian Open, one of the four Grand Slams.
The first two weeks of the season feature hard court events in Australia, New Zealand, India, Qatar and China, but for many players these tournaments are seen as warm up events for the Australian Open. Many top players will play in just one of these events (some play in none) before the Grand Slam starts.
The Australian Open (like all Grand Slams) plays over two weeks at Melbourne Park and by the end of January we will know our first Grand Slam champions of the year.
Directly after the Aussie Open, the Davis Cup starts (the International Male team competition) and the week after the Fed Cup begins (the female equivalent). February features amongst others two strong tournaments in the middle east of the WTA tour, and events in Rotterdam, Rio, Qatar and Acapulco.
March in America
The whole of march is pretty much taken up by two events in Miami and Indian Wells. These are both events played by the men and the women, and are considered on the second tier of ranking points behind the Grand Slams (Masters 1000 events on the ATP tour, WTA Premier events). These are both hard court events.
French Open and the Build Up
At the beginning of April the Davis Cup quarter finals take place, and a little later in April, the Fed Cup semi finals feature and then the serious matter of the French Open starts to take centre stage. The whole of April and the first three weeks in May feature clay events on both tours, the ATP featuring Masters 1000 events in Monaco, Madrid and Rome and the WTA Premier events in Rome and Madrid. The French Open itself is played in the last week of May and the first in June at Roland Garros , and by the end of this we’ll know the second Grand Slam champ of the year (Mr Nadal may well feature here!)
Wimbledon and the Grass Season
Immediately after the French Open, there are two weeks of play on grass in the short build up to Wimbledon. Events in Germany, Holland and England (including Queens) take place on the men’s tour, and two events in England on the WTA Tour feature. The last week in June always sees the main event at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (nice short name…..), and the Third Grand Slam Champions will be known. If a player has won all three Grand Slam events at this point, expect a major clamour of Grand Slam talk at this point.
The rest of July sees a mix of tournaments, on both clay and hard courts, many of them in the US.
US Open and the Build Up
August sees the US Open come into sharp focus. Big Masters 1000 events take place in Toronto and Cincinnati on the ATP tour, and on the WTA tour Premier events feature in Montreal and Cincinnati. After these events, we are all off to Flushing Meadows for the US Open. The final Grand Slam of the Season takes place in the last week of August/first week of September, and we’ll now know the four grand slam champs of the year.
Immediately after the US Open, the Davis Cup semi-finals take place.
The End of Season Championships
Throughout the season players will have been gaining ranking points, and at the end of season the top eight players will feature in their own respective tour championships (the ATP World Tour Finals – currently in London, and the WTA Championships – currently in Singapore).
The WTA champs take place at the end of October, with important events in Tokyo, Beijing and Moscow preceding it, with a lot of interest in the players clamour for points to make the eight.
The ATP World Tour Finals take place in Early November, with events in China, Tokyo, Basel and Valencia all preceding, with the Paris Masters 1000 event the week before being the last chance to make the eight.
Both final events are different, in that they both feature a round robin format (two groups of four) with a semi- final and a final. At the end of these events we will know the year end number one (if it has not already been decided).
The season comes to a finale with the Fed Cup Final at the start of November and the Davis Cup final towards the end of November. A gap of a month or so, then we all start again!
The Season Overview
You can see from the article that the tennis season has certain swings to it, with four distinct build ups to the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open, and how once these are over the focus moves over to the end of season championships and the crowning of the best players of the year.