Across the world, tennis matches are held under the guidance of the International Tennis Federation (ITF). The organization is tasked with implementing the rule of tennis and monitoring the innovations that would lead to the development of technology that are aimed at improving and protecting the game of tennis at every level. ITF has been collaborating with various sports institutions to achieve their goals, endeavoring in research for the progress of the science of tennis
Over the years, ITF has managed to establish a tennis equipment research laboratory, which is currently renowned as one of the best sports engineering facilities globally. One of the progress made by the ITF Technical Centre is a mandated change in the Rules of Tennis, that is, new types of tennis balls were introduced in tournaments. Furthermore, international measurement and classification systems have been developed for tennis court surfaces.
ITF also oversees most of the international events related to tennis, including matches for all age groups and the Wheelchair Tennis. They are also in charge of the famous David Cup for men and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas for women. ITF also has a hand in several Grand Slam events, including the Australian Open, Wimbledon, US Open, and Roland Garros, taking part in administrative tasks and officiating and media services.
ITF started out in 1911, when Duane Williams proposed the collaboration of National Association to develop a uniform structure for tennis globally. Although Williams passed away, his proposal reached fruition at a General Conference on March 1, 1913, the day when the International Lawn Tennis Federation (ILTF) was established.
The organization would oversee events such as the Davis Cup. Then, in 1963, ILTF introduced the Federation Cup (now the Fed Cup) as an international tennis competition for women, in parallel with the Davis Cup for men.
ILTF was renamed the International Tennis Federation (ITF) in 1977. It continues in its goal of authorizing international circuits and events, such as the ITF Juniors’ Circuit, ITF Men’s Circuit, ITF Women’s Circuit, ITF Seniors’ Circuit, NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour, and Hopman Cup. At the moment, ITF hosts more than 400 tournaments in 121 countries.
Tournaments monitored by ITF are graded A to 5, with Grade A being the highest category and including 4 junior Grand Slam tournaments. Participation in any of the tournaments require an International Tennis Number (ITN), which is a player’s level of play. Based on their ITN, the players are ranked from ITN 1 to ITN 10, with the latter being the lowest ranking and mostly assigned to new players.