Tennis fans have been left befuddled after the ATP announced they would extend the freeze to the ranking points system, which was introduced last year.
The coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc on the sports world last year and in March 2020, the ATP and WTA announced it would introduce a new rankings system when the tennis schedule came to a grinding halt.
'HARD TO FATHOM': Tennis world in disbelief over 'shocking' scenes
Player rankings were frozen and a 'best-of' system was introduced.
A player would keep their points from past tournaments going back as far as March 2019 if they were unable or unwilling to compete due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This benefited players such as World No.1 Ash Barty.
Barty opted not to take part in the French Open and US Open because of concerns over travelling during the coronavirus pandemic.
But because of her strong results over the past year, which included a French Open crown, she was able to hold onto her points and the World No.1 ranking.
While the 2021 season brings with it new challenges, players appear to be more willing to travel to tournaments as host nations work out better ways to accomodate stars and keep them and locals safe during the pandemic.
But on Thursday, the ATP announced that the ranking freeze will now be extended till the Toronto Masters, on August 9, and players can keep their points as far back as 2019 weighted at 50 per cent.
The system does not include Grand Slams.
Tennis world fumes at tennis rankings decision
This extension of the system has prompted a stunned reaction from the tennis world.
Tennis reporter labelled the system as a 'slow unfreezing' and said it could have major implications for players looking to boost their rankings ahead of the Tokyo Olympics this year.
Others labelled the move 'ridiculous' as it benefits players such as Roger Federer who hasn't played a match since the 2020 Australian Open, but will most likely remain as World No.5.
So they expect to start 'normalizing' the rankings in august.
This will have big Olympic qualification implications as well. pic.twitter.com/F1oyHYrg9z
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) March 3, 2021
Well, we all know ATP modifies their own rules when it's convenient to their interests. For that reason, I regret to say I doubt it. I wouldn't even be surprised if they change rules again on March 8.... just to disrupt Novak's new record and ruin the party that day.
— NOVAK FAN CANADA🇨🇴🇨🇦 (@NovakCanada) March 3, 2021
The continued freeze is just ridiculous. In 2020 it was understandable, now it's just absurd. The rankings need to be reflecting reality right now.
— michael epps (@michael_epps) March 3, 2021
Making it near impossible for young players to break through. They will be ruing this decision in a year.
— .. (@paraplas5) March 3, 2021
So Federer will keep 500 points from Miami (not played in 2020) ?
— Carlos Marquez (@cmma26) March 3, 2021
This is madness - continued fiddling with the system now that the tennis is back full time is counterproductive.
2019 points should be dropped this year - everyone knows that holding rankings points from distant past reflects a fake ranking in the real current world.
— Tony (@aussietony8888) March 3, 2021
When you get emotional at the efforts the ATP Tour go to keep your ranking high pic.twitter.com/xoJsrQGyDu
— Chris Goldsmith (@TheTennisTalker) March 3, 2021
ATP is helping @rogerfederer like they always and always do. I love Roger, but this is awful TBH. A punch in the face to the active players who are playing in the pandemic only to keep Roger's ranking intact. https://t.co/iOZ7xTDiJT
— Indronil Anik (@SeriousHoax) March 3, 2021
Officials said the traditional ranking system, incorporating only results from the previous 52 weeks, will apply again on August 15, 2022, if there are no further changes.
The ATP also announced prize money for ATP 250 and 500 events will be increased after an year of cancellations and limited participation.
The minimum prize money for ATP 250 and 500 events will be raised to 80 per cent and 60 per cent respectively.
Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.