The National Tour includes all Adult Open tournaments. The main characteristics are:
At the end of every year, and before the Calendar for the following year is published, tournaments are awarded a Category, which depends in factors including the facilities of the club hosting the tournament, the experience of the organizing committee and the quality of the tournaments organized by the committee in the past.
The categories are:
- Super Category: Tour 1500
- National tournaments: Tour 1000.
- Provincial Tournaments: Tour 500.
- Regional Tournaments: Tour 200.
The majority of Tour 1500 to Tour 200 Open tournaments include events for a wide range of players from levels 1 to 7. Graded tournaments do not have Level 1 events. The values 1500, 1000, 500 and 200 reflect the ranking points that the winner of the top event in the tournament will receive.
There is no maximum age, but the minimum age can vary across the tournaments. Most higher-level events are open to Junior players (18 or younger), but many lower-level events accept only players that have turned 18 before the 31 December of the previous year. The tournament regulations will specify the minimum age required for any events affected by age restriction.
Level (Grade or Class)
With few exceptions, National Tour tournaments include different level events, which are reflected in the name of the event:
- Level 1 (most experienced players): MS1 (Men singles 1 or A), WS 1 (Women or Ladies singles 1 or A), MD 1 (Men Doubles 1 or A), WD (Women or Ladies 1 or A), XD (Mixed doubles 1).
- Level 2: MS 2, WS 2, MD 2, WD 2, XD 2.
- Level 3: MS 3, WS 3, MD 3, WD 3, XD 3.
- Level 4 (or B): MS 4, WS 4, MD 4, WD 4, XD 4.
- Level 5: MS 5, WS 5, MD 5, WD 5, XD 5.
- Level 6 (or C): MS 6, WS 6, MD 6, WD 6, XD 6.
- Level 7 (novice players): MS 7, WS 7, MD 7, WD 7, XD 7.
The Impact of WTN
The introduction of the WTN has brought a standardized and globally used value of the level of a player. Its accuracy improves as more players and results are added into the system. To make the use of the WTN easier for players and tournament organizers, Tennis Ireland has created a table showing the highest value a player can play in a level.
- After a transition period, the table will replace any other parameters previously used (ITN, Munster Grading, DLTC class).
- The top value is 1 for professional players, lowest value is 40 for inexperienced players.
- With the addition of more nations into the WTN database, there has been a tendency for the WTN of many Irish players to move down the list. To adapt to these changes, the table gets updated every 6 months.
- Only WTN values with a confidence rate of 70 or higher should be used. Values with a lower confidence rate should be taken at the discretion of the organizing committee.
Mens Singles & Doubles
WTN (World Tennis Number)
MS & MD 1
MS & MD 2
MS & MD 3
MS & MD 4
MS & MD 5
MS & MD 6
MS & MD 7
Womens Singles & Doubles
WTN (World Tennis Number)
WS & WD 1
WS & WD 2
WS & WD 3
WS & WD 4
WS & WD 5
WS & WD 6
WS & WD 7
A man with a WTN = 22.7. His WTN is better than the best WTN allowed in Level 4 events (25.0) and can play only in level 1, 2 or 3 events.
A woman with a WTN = 29.4 could play in level 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5. But not in level 6 or 7. The level where she is likely to get the closest matches are 5 and 4 (will be more challenged in 4).
A pair entering Mixed doubles where the man’s WTN=25.6 and the woman’s WTN=31.0 can only play in events 1, 2, 3 or 4. The combined WTN=56.5 means they could play in level 5, but the highest WTN is 25.6 (the man’s) which is too high to play in level 5 (maximum allowed is 27.0).
Acceptance into events
Players must enter the events that cater for their level of play (see above table). They can enter events above their level, but not below it.
Some tournaments are extremely popular and get more entries than they can cater for. Unfortunately, this means that the number of entries into each event must be limited to 8, 12, 16, 24 or 32 players, depending on the number of courts available and the time length of the tournament. The tournament regulations will provide details if this is the case.
Acceptance into the higher level of events (1 and 2) is based on the strength of the players participating. Acceptance into level 3 or lower events is based on date and time of entry (first-come, first-served policy).
The tournament calendar for the year is published before the end of the previous year. Some lower Category tournaments (Tour 200) may be added later.