The ATP 500, formerly known as the Grand Prix Super Series, ATP International Series Gold and the Championship Series, follows in rank after the four Grand Slams and 9 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments.
This group of 11 events awards 500 ranking points to the champion, a hefty amount that can significantly alter the ATP standings.
Whereas the Masters tournaments are similar in structure and status, the 500 series varies from 32-player to 56-player draws. As stated in the ATP rulebook, top players must enter at least four 500 events per year, otherwise they are given a “zero-pointer” that counts towards their ranking.
The 500 series spans the globe, providing both established and emerging tennis markets with exciting competitions that attract the best players. As of 2013, the tournaments that comprise the 500 series are held in: Rotterdam, Rio, Acapulco, Dubai, Barcelona, Hamburg, Washington, Beijing, Tokyo, Basel and Valencia. Of the 11 events, four are played on clay, three on indoor hard courts and four on outdoor hard courts.
The elite players tend to have “favourite” 500 events in which they compete year after year. Roger Federer is a regular in Dubai and Basel, while Rafael Nadal has won Barcelona an astonishing eight times. Although there will often be many top competitors contesting the same 500 event, the fields are not quite as strong as at the Masters 1000 tournaments, leaving the door ajar for up-and-coming players to aim for a big title.
Our 500 series tournament profile pages on Livetennis.com are full of fascinating facts about each competition. Links to underrated classic matches can be found, along with details on the event’s origins and roll of honour.