Satellite in the sport of tennis refers to satellite tournaments. These are tournaments or events that are typically organized by the country’s national association. Satellite tournaments are overseen by the International Tennis Federation.

Satellite Tournaments in Tennis

Satellite tournaments are a great way for non-ranking players or player who rank outside the top few hundred to enter into competition and get recognized. Satellite tournaments also offer qualifying draws that are open to unranked players. Like any tournament, satellites also give out monetary awards but not as much as would a professional tournament. The prize money for satellite tournaments usually range from $25,000 to $50,000.

Many low-ranking and unranked players start their career by entering satellite tournaments. When successful, these players proceed to play tournaments in the ATP Challenger Series or even join the ATP Tour events.

There used to be a men’s satellite tournament but this was discontinued in 2006 and was replaced with a one-week Futures tournament. However, in 2019 the reforms made to the circuit is now under new umbrella known as ITF World Tennis Tour. This covers both the Pro Circuit and Junior Circuit tournaments. This reform was launched to provide support for the talented junior players in the industry and begin their progression to the senior game. Women tennis players also have satellite tournaments governed by the ITF or the International Tennis Federation. The ITF Women’s Circuit ranks third after the WTA 125K Series and the top-level WTA Tour.

Players in Satellite Tournaments

Players of individual sports have a harder time earning a living compared to team sports. Often the case with players of individual sports is having to pay for their own travel. Tennis players aiming to play one day in Grand Slam events always start in satellite tournaments. In order to play in challenger tournaments, lower-ranked players need to participate in future tournaments and earn enough points to move up in the ranking. When they do, they become eligible to play in challenger tournaments, which is the next step up for aspiring Grand Slam champions. The harsh reality with aspiring tennis players is that most often, only players with a coach can reach the challenger tournaments faster. But coaches are expensive and not all players have the extra funds to hire them. For now, grit and desire is what fuels many low-ranked players to ultimately reach their dream.