Innovation: US Open Weekend

Rationale:  A weekend doubles tournament beginning at the quarterfinals brings fun, exercise and socializing together in one event.

  1. This event can be played as men’s doubles or women’s doubles only, or it works really well as a competitive mixed doubles weekend.
  2. Players sign up individually. Place players in consecutive rank order from best to least experienced.
  3. Eight teams (16 players) are in each flight. Adjust the last flight to the number of players signed up.
  4. Place the players in groupings or flights of 16 players who will be paired into eight teams. If it’s mixed doubles, group eight women and eight men.
  5. Post a draw sheet beginning with a quarterfinal round for each grouping of 16 players.
  6. On Friday night, host a party in which two players will be publicly drawn as partners (for example, a mixed doubles team). Next, their spot in the flight (1-8) will be drawn. For example, they are drawn to be in the third spot in the quarterfinal flight. Make it fun by giving personal color on each player as you go through each flight.
  7. With eight teams in each flight determined, each team is guaranteed to play three matches. Each team will play the other three teams in their half of the bracket.  
  8. Depending upon the age and fitness level of the participants, have each match consist of 12 or 16 games.
  9. You might play round one on Saturday morning, followed by a lunch. Round two would be played Saturday afternoon, followed by a dinner and/or a social event, like a square dance or line dance.
  10. By playing 12 or 16 games with the players placed in rank order, many times the scores are even or very close going into Sunday. This keeps everyone’s interest.
  11. Play the third round Sunday morning, followed by a lunch.
  12. On Sunday afternoon, the first-place finishers from each mini-flight play for first place in their quarterfinal flight. Other players watch the playoffs while enjoying refreshments. You can play also for third, fifth and seventh, if you desire.
  13. Have an appropriate awards ceremony.
  14. It is called US Open weekend because it can be played during one of the weekends the US Open is played. Have televisions showing matches as part of the festivities.

Quote from the innovator: “This is a hugely successful event at our club. Because it requires the commitment of an entire weekend, don’t make it a frequent event. It can be adjusted in any fashion to fit your environment. By playing 12 or 16 games in each round with players paired by ability, rarely is a winner determined by the end of the first day of play. It is an event that keeps everyone’s interest. The socializing makes it a really fun weekend.”  -- Greg Lappin, Director of Tennis, Rochester Athletic Club, Rochester, MN

For more information: Greg Lappin, glappin@rochesterathleticclub.com, 507-287-9305

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