The USTA announced a three-year sponsorship agreement with the Intercollegiate Tennis Association to become title sponsor of the USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships, the USTA/ITA National Small College Championships and 88 USTA/ITA Regional Tournaments starting next year. Additionally, the USTA will host the 2010-12 USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
“This partnership with the Intercollegiate Tennis Association reinforces our commitment to college tennis and our efforts to create a complete competitive pathway for the USTA and American tennis,” said Patrick McEnroe, General Manager, USTA Player Development. “College varsity tennis is an integral part of the development process for the vast majority of American players.”
The ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships features a 32-player singles field and 16-team doubles field for men and women, including: champions from the 24 Division I ITA Regional Championships, the ITA National Small College champions, the winners of the ITA Men’s All-American Tennis Championships and ITA Women's All-American Championships, and at-large and wild-card selections made by the ITA National Tournament Committee.
“The ITA is delighted that our USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Singles and Doubles Championships will be sponsored by the USTA and hosted at the fabulous new indoor tennis facility at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center,” said David A. Benjamin, Executive Director, Intercollegiate Tennis Association. “We know that all of our outstanding men and women varsity student-athletes will be thrilled to be competing on the same grounds as the past and current legends of the game.”
This USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Tennis Championships was inaugurated in 1978 for the men and 1984 for the women. Past champions and finalists include current professionals Benjamin Becker (Baylor), James Blake (Harvard), Bob and Mike Bryan (Stanford), Laura Granville (Stanford), John Isner (Georgia), Kevin Kim (UCLA) and Lisa Raymond (Florida). Big Ten legends and Grand Slam finalists Todd Martin (Northwestern) and MaliVai Washington (Michigan) are also among the past champions.
“This is an exciting and important step in the right direction for the USTA,” said 1999 US Open finalist Todd Martin, who won the 1990 ITA Intercollegiate Indoor singles title as a sophomore at Northwestern University. “College tennis was a critical step in my development as a player. When I won the ITA Indoors, it was the first sign that maybe I had what it took to make it on the pro tour.”
The USTA/ITA Regional Championships include varsity college tennis players from all NCAA Divisions, as well as small colleges and junior colleges from across the country. In all, close to 10,000 players from nearly 600 schools participate annually in the ITA Regional Championships. A total of 88 host sites include 24 from the Division I level and 64 from the small college divisions nationwide.
The new USTA Player Development unit has been created to identify and develop the next generation of American champions by surrounding the top junior players and young pros with the resources, facilities and coaching they need to reach their maximum potential. The Player Development program is based at the USTA Training Facility in Boca Raton, Fla., and also utilizes the USTA West Coast Training Center in Carson, Calif. Last year, the USTA announced its first two Certified Regional Training Centers, in Atlanta and Washington, D.C., as part of its expanded efforts to develop future American tennis champions.
The USTA expects to name approximately 10 more Regional Training Centers over the next five years.
About the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA)
As the governing body of collegiate tennis the ITA promotes both the athletic and academic achievements of the collegiate tennis community. The ITA, which was founded in 1956 and is based in Skillman, N.J., administers numerous regional and national championships, the ITA Collegiate Summer Circuit presented by the USTA, and the Campbell/ITA College Tennis Rankings for men's and women's tennis at the NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and Junior College levels. The ITA also has a comprehensive awards program for players and coaches to honor excellence in academics, leadership and sportsmanship.
The USTA is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in the U.S. and the leader in promoting and developing the growth of tennis at every level -- from local communities to the highest level of the professional game. A not-for-profit organization with 730,000 members, it invests 100% of its proceeds in growing the game. It owns and operates the US Open, the highest attended annual sporting event in the world, and launched the Olympus US Open Series linking 10 summer tournaments to the US Open. In addition, it owns the 94 Pro Circuit events throughout the U.S., is a minority owner and promotional partner of World TeamTennis, and selects the teams for the Davis Cup, Fed Cup, Olympic and Paralympic Games. The USTA philanthropic entity, USTA Serves, provides grants and scholarships and through tennis, helps underserved youth and people with disabilities to improve academics, build character and strive for excellence.