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The ITF Men's Circuit
is a series of professional tennis
Tennis is a sport usually played between two players or between two teams of two players each . Each player uses a racket that is strung to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over a net into the opponent's court. Tennis is an Olympic sport and is played at all levels of society at all...
tournaments held around the world that are organized by the International Tennis Federation
The International Tennis Federation is the governing body of world tennis, made up of 205 national tennis associations.It was established as the International Lawn Tennis Federation by 12 national associations meeting at a conference in Paris, France on 1 March 1913...
. The ITF Men's Circuit represents the lowest rung of the men's professional tennis ladder. ITF tournaments are incorporated into the ATP
The Association of Tennis Professionals or ATP was formed in 1972 by Donald Dell, Jack Kramer, and Cliff Drysdale to protect the interests of male professional tennis players. Since 1990, the association has organized the worldwide tennis tour for men and linked the title of the tour with the...
rankings, enabling young professionals to progress on to the ATP Challenger Tour and ultimately the full ATP World Tour. Nearly every professional player has spent some time on the ITF Men's Circuit.
Originally, the ITF Men's Circuit consisted of satellite tournaments, each of which took place over four weeks. However, in the late 1990s, the ITF introduced Futures tournaments
, allowing for greater flexibility in the organization of the tournaments for national associations, and participation in tournaments for players. Over time, the ratio of Futures tournaments to satellites increased until 2007, when satellites were eliminated entirely.
Futures tournaments allow for players to win career titles and improve their rankings. Futures are held in both singles and doubles, and last only one week. As of 2008, the prize fund for each tournament is either US$10,000 or US$15,000. Some tournaments also provide housing for participants. Futures usually have sizable qualifying draws, which allow unranked players to enter tournaments and earn ATP ranking points.