The United States Tennis Association announced a series of reforms to the National Junior Tournament Schedule designed to make the system more efficient, effective and affordable for current players and those who will enter the pipeline through the association’s 10 and Under Tennis initiative. The new system also aims to foster more local and sectional competition as well as fortify two historically important elite national championships in the summer—the USTA National Clay Court Championships and USTA National Championships. The new structure aligns the Junior Tournament Schedule with the current USTA Player Development philosophy and goals for training and competition.
The changes were proposed by the USTA National Junior Competition Committee after more than a year of research. The amendments received overwhelming support from the USTA Executive Committee (comprised of the 17 USTA section delegates, the USTA board of directors, presidential appointees and past presidents of the USTA) at the USTA Annual Meeting held earlier this month.
"The changes to the Junior Tournament Schedule were not taken lightly; they were heavily researched and well-vetted, ensuring we proceed down the right path to develop future world-class players as well as lifelong players and fans," said Jon Vegosen, Chairman of the Board and President, USTA. "These changes are part of our overall long-term strategy to grow tennis in the United States and make sure tennis is the sport of opportunity for everyone regardless of their socio-economic background or geographic location. With more kids coming into the sport through 10 and Under Tennis, this new calendar will make sure that there are more opportunities for kids to compete locally, translating to lower travel expenses and less time away from school."
The majority of changes will take effect in two years. View a sample of the 2014 USTA National Junior Tournament Schedule
"We believe this is the right way forward for developing players at all levels of competition," said Patrick McEnroe, General Manager, USTA Player Development. "Our goal is more competitive matches at the right levels along with more opportunities to train, and this new approach works well on both counts. It also places a greater premium on sectional and regional competition, meaning more players will have the opportunity to challenge themselves and compete close to home."
Changes to the schedule include:
- Converting the USTA National Winter Championships to a team event in 2014
- Eliminating the USTA National Spring Championships in 2014 to avoid a major national championship being contested during the school year
- Create more local player opportunities and enhance the standing of the current flagship national events—the USTA National Clay Court and USTA National Championships
- Change in draw size to 128 singles players and 64 doubles teams for the USTA National Clay Court and USTA National Championships for the 18s, 16s and 14s age groups and to 64 singles and 32 doubles for the 12s
- Creation of new tournaments, including the USTA National Grand Masters (a progressive event that will feature the top finishers in younger divisions advancing to compete with the best older players), the USTA National Winter Team Championships and, starting in 2013, the USTA National Doubles Championships
- Creation of more local competitive match play opportunities while reducing the expense and time of travel through new regional events.
For more information about the changes, visit USTA.com/juniorcompetition
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 more than 785,000 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 Emirates Airline US Open Series linking 10 summer tournaments to the US Open. In addition, it owns the approximately 90 Pro Circuit events throughout the U.S. 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 helps underserved youth and people with disabilities. For more information on the USTA, log on to usta.com, "like" the official Facebook page facebook.com/usta or follow @usta on Twitter.