A zero pointer is a term used in tennis for ranking points that are given to top-ranked players who skip mandatory professional tennis tour events. The top-ranked player will get no points even when he or she participates in another tournament in lieu of the mandatory one. This means that the zero points earned cannot be replaced for a particular season or year. For a player, the zero points earned will be included in his or her 16 best results.
Top-ranked players try to avoid zero pointers because it can greatly affect their ranking, make them lose points and often times, cut their pay outs. Mandatory tournaments usually bring in a lot of cash not only to the touring organizers but also to the players as well. There are formulas that are used to compute prize money for these said tournaments, which a player should know before committing to all tournaments set in a calendar year.
Getting a Zero Pointer
Players who are ranked top 30 by the ATP rankings are commitment players who need to play a minimum of four tournaments that are classified as 500 level ones in a calendar year. These four are considered mandatory tournaments. A zero pointer will be given to a player for each event missed as well as for withdrawing from any 500-level tournament. This is true if the acceptance list has already been signed by the committed player and made public. A player can also get a zero pointer if he or she has not played at least one event after the US Open.
It is also important to note that a zero pointer can be appealed by commitment players. This appeal will be filed to the same tribunal who deals with 1000 suspension appeals. Other tours like the WTA or Women’s Tennis Association also have their own set of rules. WTA picks their top 10 players and have them play in specified tournaments like two Premier 700 Tournaments.
Avoiding a Zero Pointer
There are very specific rules when it comes to the application of zero pointers. These rules are made known to the committed players and they agree to abide by it before allowing their names to be placed on the list to join selected mandatory tennis events. Avoiding zero pointers would mean to participate in all mandated or required events. Tennis organizations are very strict and appeals for zero pointers are often denied unless the organizations and tour committees were informed ahead of time. This will allow them to schedule the players to compete in other matches, which will happen if the reason of the withdrawal in a mandatory match is valid. Players who are injured are given a little leeway. But these players need to file an entry protection ahead of time for it to be considered.